04 Oct 2013

How I reached my fundraising target – some tips to help you do the same

Childreach Beth Courtier is a determined lady. She also knows a little about how to fundraise. Earlier this year she headed off to the Atlas mountains in Morocco - as a volunteer - to help local communities build an education centre for underprivileged children. Here she reveals how she was able turn her week-long expedition into a fundraising success story.

By Beth Courtier, fundraiser for Childreach International

I only signed up to this challenge – named Futurebuilding, (all in aid of one of my favourite charities, Childreach International), three weeks before I left the UK for Morocco. So I knew from the outset that this meant a very focussed fundraising effort from me.

I had to raise £2,000. I decided to make a £1,000 personal contribution and fundraise for the rest. I know, for a fact, that given I was personally making a significant financial contribution, as well as using a week’s holiday to volunteer, people were much more generous than they might have been otherwise. People are often quite resistant to funding other peoples’ trips overseas if they perceive them to be ‘holidays’ - so I made sure they knew this was no holiday.

I’m also aware that people are more likely to give when you personally engage them. They are usually very willing to give to charity, but sometimes they just need a reason. Be that reason! Make sure you are able to ‘sell’ the cause – when money is tight people are more likely to give if they understand what a difference their personal contribution will make. It’s not easy to ask for money, but remember that you are not asking for a personal donation, it’s actually not about you, it’s about the charity. Be bold!

Time well spent

Letting everyone know you are fundraising is clearly a good idea, and blanket communications can work. But given the limited amount of time I had on my hands, I took a very targeted approach to maximise every ask I made.

Those few group communications I sent out were only distributed after I’d spent time and consideration making them fit for purpose. Getting your communications right is time well invested. I looked at every communication as an opportunity to tell people what I was doing whether by email, text or phone. This approach saw me get funding from people that I’d only just had a conversation with on that day and actually didn’t really know.

I looked at all sorts of ways to secure funds. With a birthday the month after my return I asked my family in advance for donations instead of birthday presents, and cash instead of Easter eggs. What I found is that they gave more generously to charity than they would have for my birthday or an Easter egg. If I’d signed up earlier, I would have asked people to give up something for Lent and give the charity their savings. I asked people who sell on eBay or do car boot sales to sell things for me at no commission, saving me a task and time. I took a cradle to the grave approach. Almost literally given I had money from a toddlers’ group and also money from someone’s estate.

Don’t stop

Fundraising, like anything, needs a focussed approach if you have a target. It shouldn’t be something you think of at the end of the week, or a panic before you go. You need to be thinking about fundraising every day and for every potential conversation. You need to work at it and keep it as a constant focus. The more you ask the easier it is to ask. Once I got nearer my target I didn’t stop.

I kept up the same level of asks because I saw my fundraising as the minimum amount to raise – whoever heard of a charity not needing money? It is certainly easier to get money in before you go, although I have also taken donations on my return.

Try harder

MyDonate was the perfect vehicle for me to fundraise as I could give my webpage in every communication. Seeing my fundraising total grow and grow kept me motivated and engaged. On days where I hadn’t got a donation it inspired me to try harder and ask more people.

I raised more than £2,000 in three weeks. With my £1,000 contribution added to this amount.

I should finish by saying my success in fundraising speaks more about the cause and the generosity of people than it does about me. It is truly humbling and very rewarding to inspire people to give to charity and I have felt quite overwhelmed and humbled throughout the process. I won’t say it is easy, as it’s not, but I will say it is so rewarding to see the cause you have chosen to support, supported by others. And my experience of the challenge event, well, that’s a whole different story. Suffice to say I LOVED every second when I was there and I saw first-hand that every hard earnt pound raised was worth the effort and more.

Beth Courtier

Here is Beth’s MyDonate fundraising page


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