Raising Money for Charity
There are many different ways in which we can give to charity as individuals but, as with everything, we are stronger together. Most of us can’t afford to make substantial financial contributions to our chosen causes and although every little bit helps, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. Where possible, volunteering your time is a fantastic way to support and promote charitable work but hectic life schedules and families often get in the way of this. But there is another way for an individual or small group to make a bigger financial difference: sponsorship.
There’s something about being asked to donate money to a cause because a person is doing something specific which encourages generosity. From running marathons to skydiving, there are any number of events and activities you could do in aid of charity. Year on year, charitable donations increase and statistics show people are sponsoring more of their friends and family members than ever before. For weeks and months leading up to the event you can spread the word about your challenge through social media and in the local community, garnering support both for the charity and yourself. Depending on what you’re doing, people may even come and watch you complete the task if you create a real buzz of excitement around it. Through great campaigning, sponsored events can raise vast sums for your chosen charity.
When deciding what exactly you want to do to gather sponsorship, consider the links between the charity you want to support and the activity itself. For example, many homeless charities organise sponsored ‘sleep outs’, opportunities for people to sleep on the street for one night in order to raise awareness and money for homeless communities. Animal charities organise sponsored dog walks and a youth music support group could host a battle of the bands event. Take a look online for more connected fundraising ideas because these links themselves often increase the immediate appeal of the campaign and encourage it to spread further.
But at the end of the day, any activity can be done for any charitable cause. I cycled the length of the UK twice to raise money for my volunteer visits to Cambodia. Friends of mine regularly run marathons for their chosen charities such as Alzheimer’s, mental health support groups, and Amnesty International. And I watched my friend throw herself out of a plane to raise money for Cancer Research. But they don’t even have to be that active or extreme. When I was younger I took part in many sponsored silences at primary school and at high school handcuffed myself to my best friend for a day, all to raise money. When it comes to children, people will literally give money for anything! The event should, however, challenge you. If you love sky diving, people are going to be less inclined to donate to a charity jump than if you were petrified of heights. If you organise a sponsored dog walk with two dogs, you’re not going to raise much compared to a walk involving thirty of our four-legged friends. Whatever you decided to do, make sure you’re ‘earning’ the money somehow and that people feel the donation is justified above and beyond the fact that it goes to charity.
Onto the next challenge – how to get people to sponsor you. Let’s be honest, every one of us is constantly bombarded with requests from friends to sponsor them for some event or other. Which is great, of course, but it makes it much harder for individuals to get donations because many people are, frankly, a little tired of doing so. However, although the overall value of our donations have trended downwards, the number of charities and sponsorship events which we support, on average, has increased. Doing extreme, unusual things encourages people to pay attention and having an active social media campaign helps too. You never know when posts are going to go viral. Consider blogging about the lead-up and preparation for the big day too or even filming a live video of the event for supporters to watch wherever they may be around the world. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great places to promote your cause and online fundraising pages are usually the easiest ways to collect the money. Large charities are usually registered with websites such as JustGiving and therefore all of the money goes directly to them without the site taking a commission. Bonus!
Other ways to gather sponsorship from people in the community could be by advertising your event on notice boards in the local newspaper and in shops. Simply getting your name, charity and what you want to do into the public conscience can draw in large amounts of sponsorship to add to your total. And if you work for a large organisation, consider asking them to match the funds you raise, effectively doubling your pot! Alternatively, approach local businesses asking them to do the same: you may be surprised how many corporations offer this service as part of their corporate responsibility ethos.
At the end of the day, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you want to do something for charity and raise a lot of money through sponsorships, shout about it! The louder you are, the more people will hear and the more donations you will receive. If you believe in the cause and you’re doing something exciting, extreme and different, you will succeed. Sponsorship allows you as an individual to collect money from many people in order to donate a larger amount of funding to a charity; making a difference, spreading the kindness and changing the world together.
Go, do, experience. More Good Deeds.