23 Feb 2016

The story of MyDonate and Sport Relief

Jo Brand and Sport Relief ambassadors

Over the weekend of Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March, more than a thousand Sport Relief walk, cycle and swim events are happening right across the UK – and BT MyDonate helps to make it easy for fundraisers to make a bigger difference.

MyDonate’s involvement is just one chapter in a long history of BT’s work with Sport Relief.

The story starts way back in 1985, when BT became a major partner of Comic Relief at the launch of the charity. BT provided the telecoms to enable the appeal, and eventually the donation platform to support it. And when Sport Relief launched 17 years later in 2002, alternating years with the original Comic Relief telethon, BT was excited to be involved.

Providing the technology to make it all happen

Viewers are used to seeing shots from the BT Tower on the Friday night Sports Relief telethon, but did you know that BT does much more than just taking phone calls?

The company provides the technology and network management for volunteers in call centres across the country to take calls and donations making record-breaking totals like 2014’s £51m possible.

During the last Sport Relief telethon in 2014 over a thousand BT volunteers helped man the phones. BT handled a whopping 300,000 calls during the live TV show, peaking at 244 calls per second.

And BT MyDonate is making a bigger difference for fundraisers and the charity alike, as all donations made to Sport Relief on MyDonate are passed on commission-free, as always.

Fundraising by the famous

But BT’s not just helping out behind the scenes. Since 2009, the BT Sport Relief Challenges have been a major part of the Sport Relief Story, as celebrities take on seemingly impossible tasks, all to raise vital funds.

David Walliams swam the length of the Thames for Sport Relief in 2012, while Davina McCall ran, swam and cycled her way from Edinburgh to London in 2014.

This year has seen comedian Jo Brand walk 150 miles coast-to-coast on her Hell of a Walk.

Whether they’ve been running, cycling, swimming or walking, BT has been behind the celebrities every step – or stroke – of the way. And the BT Sport Relief challenges have raised literally millions of pounds.

Copycat charity challenges

The BT Sport Relief Challenges do more than raise money – they also inspire people around the UK to get involved.

This year, BT’s own Chris Fahey and Michael Whittaker joined in with Jo Brand’s walk of hell for the 20-mile stretch from Warrington to Liverpool.

“We always do something for Sport Relief and with Jo Brand’s walk being so close to our office, we decided it was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down,” said Chris. “By the time we reached Liverpool we had been walking for almost 12 hours and were soaked to the bone. The elation at completing the walk and the pride that accompanied it were fantastic.”

Chris and Michael are aiming to raise £500 for Sport Relief with MyDonate. They’re just two of the BT staff getting involved. We provide the technology to make the telethon happen and the time that staff volunteered to take calls for the telethon.

Meanwhile, a group of fundraisers will be completing a swim relay with a twist. Ann Beattie, Rachel Gardner, Judith Williams, Andie Dale and Patrick Dale will be swimming different distances in different pools on different days – but all to raise money for Sport Relief. With sections of the relay taking place as far afield as Spain, and fundraisers as young as three-year-old Patrick, their relay shows anyone can get involved.

Baking or biking? Which will you do?

There’s still time to get involved with Sport Relief, and with BT MyDonate making it quick and easy for everyone to set up their own fundraising pages, why not do something yourself?

Events are happening around the UK through the Sport Relief weekend. From walking, to cycling, to swimming, there’s something that’s suitable for everyone.

But if you’re more about baking than biking, why not hold a bake sale to raise some much-needed extra funds? You could even host a Sport Relief quiz night, or if that’s too noisy for your tastes, take part in a sponsored silence.

Quick and easy donations

Once you’ve decided what to do, it’s quick and easy to set up your fundraising page on MyDonate. And with MyDonate, you can be sure that more of the money you raise will get where it’s needed, as no commission is charged on any donations made through the site.

“We’ve used MyDonate several times. It’s a fantastic service - easy to set up and even easier to share on social media,” fundraiser Chris said. “The fact that all proceeds go to the charity makes it the only logical choice for people doing fundraising activities.”

You can donate to Sport Relief directly by visiting their MyDonate page.

MyDonate is not responsible for the content fundraisers post on their pages, but if you see something you feel is offensive or inappropriate, please let us know