Maximise attention from the press

When planning your ‘big’ events, think carefully about how you could maximise attention from the media.  If you are lucky enough to have a sympathetic local newspaper reporter, then make their life as easy as possible to help you. 

Have some good editorial prepared (I supply templates to my clients with a formula that works) and make your story as personal as possible with photo’s.  Being able to take your own halfway decent photo’s is really important because press photographers are not always available. It’s often worthwhile taking extra pictures for ongoing promotions. Try to take them from an unusual angle to make them more newsworthy and don’t be tempted to Photoshop them!  

Always follow up with a phone call to make sure your local reporter has received it.  Something else I like to do is find out when the paper’s deadline is, then invite the editor and the local reporter to have a coffee with me.  I schedule it for the day after paper’s deadline when they are least busy. 

Many times I’ve been told by editors and reporters alike, that they really enjoy getting out of the office to meet the people behind the story.   The cost of a cup of coffee is a small price to pay if it means that you build a great relationship with your local press.  Free and regular editorial is priceless. 

Something else I like to do is offer a free place to reporters (and radio presenters) for my challenges.  Maximize attention from the press, who better to report on an event than someone who has done it for themselves.

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Always have your next BIG event in mind!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  You can bake cupcakes, hold a table top sale and maybe make a small amount of profit – on a good day. Or you can go all out and put on a spectacular action packed event that will stay in the memory for a lifetime and raise thousands of pounds in just a few hours.  Both are useful in your fundraising toolkit, but many smaller charities are afraid to commit to running ‘big’ events.

Whatever you might think, if you have the right people supporting you, it isn’t difficult to put on an event that will draw in the crowds.  Even with a cupcake sale, there is always room to turn even your smaller fundraisers into something that will lead to much bigger and better events.  So, when you are holding a regular event such as a quiz night, consider this; Always have your next big event in mind so that you can ‘sign up’ people there and then for your next big event.  

For example, a recent client of mine held a very well attended ‘Western Rodeo’ themed evening.  She went armed with registration forms for a Firewalking Challenge we had planned for later in the year.  This strategy worked well, people were having a good time, the food and drink were flowing and many people signed up on the spot to do a challenge that went on to raise £7,000 for the charity in just one afternoon.  

The key is to plan a programme of events that will gather momentum and snowball – plan in several ‘big’ events per year and get commitment at your regular events.  People enjoy investing their time in doing something different and exciting – it’s the spice of life!

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Cupcakes or Firewalks?

Firewalk for CharityImagine walking over a bed of hot coals measuring 600 degrees Celsius – that’s 6 times the temperature of boiling water and all to raise money for charity. What a spectacular, amazing, awesome, life changing experience that would be!

And yet…

I hear it so many times; “what a fantastic fundraising idea – really different – sure to get lots of interest and it would be really spectacular to watch. BUT (and there is often a ‘but’…) there’s no way you’d get me doing that!” 

This is often the reaction people get when they tell their friends that they’ve signed up to take part in this challenging event. Most people think that anyone who’s prepared to deliberately walk on a bed of fire must be either completely out of their minds, or very stupid.  Because let’s face it – it’s fire – it’s got to hurt hasn’t it?
But is it actually painful?

The experience varies from person to person, many people report that they don’t feel any sensations at all. When I did it, it certainly felt nothing like I was expecting! The best way to describe the feeling for me was similar to walking on prickly eggshells – or having pins and needles for a few seconds.  I didn’t feel it as being hot although it WAS hot!  I walked twice and the few prickly sensations were a very small price to pay for the amazing experience and the money I raised for some great causes.

Let me put it like this; you can have a fundraising cupcake sale and sell cakes – you might make £30.  Or you can take part in a Firewalk. If each participant has 20 work colleagues, family members and friends, and they each agree to sponsor them to walk on hot coals for the price of an Americano and a toasted Panettino (my personal favourite), already they’ve raised £100 in sponsorship. Multiply that that by say 10 people doing the firewalk on behalf of your group and that’s £1000 straight away.

For some people the thought of walking on hot coals puts them right off their dinner.  Quite a few think it’s all a bit weird and way out in a ‘hippy’ kind of way!  Some just think it’s plain crazy.

What I do know, is that most people who take part walk over the coals at least twice – some people three four and five times. You only have to hear what people say about their experience to know that it’s life changing for many.   

So, are you prepared to give it a go?

What’s stopping you from saying yes to firewalking, yes to courage and yes to a life changing experience?

If an 8 year old can firewalk (he raised over £300 in doing so), then so can YOU!

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The Fundraising Challenger loves CAKE!

The Fundraising Challenger Loves Cake!Those who know me well, know that I do love a nice afternoon tea, with Earl Grey, real china cups, tiny sandwiches and of course those divine little cakes (thanks to Charlotte Briggs of Frog Hollow Catering for this lovely picture, check her out here).  I make sure that I’m able to plan in this little treat from time to time, because it’s one of life’s great pleasures for me.

And it got me thinking… time is such a very precious thing for us all, for most of us who are trying to juggle a million things at once, there simply isn’t  enough of it.  This is especially true for those who run charitable organisations of all kinds – from the school PTA, trying to raise funds for play equipment, to the charity that supports those who are seriously ill – and their families, time is the one thing we need more of, to allow us to do the great things we are aiming to achieve.

Many charitable groups are set up by just one or two people who have been affected by a major event taking place at some point in their lives. When we are personally affected in this way, we often have a burning desire to change things for others, to help them in some small way so that they do not have to ‘go through what we did’.

But all too often, we find that with our day to day work and home life commitments, together with the fact that often we are taking a very hands on approach in supporting others, not to mention the essential Trustee and Committee meetings, our ‘cause’ can eat into our precious time, leaving us feeling quite frazzled and stressed.

So, when you are faced with the very necessary task of raising funds to make sure you achieve the aims and objects of the charity – on top of everything else – you might well get a horrible sinking feeling of dread.  How on earth can you fit in yet another drain on your time and energy?

Because I also have shared the experience of running a small charity virtually single handedly, I completely understand what a catch 22 situation you can find yourself in. Desperately needing to keep funding coming in, yet having very little time to do anything about it.

This is one of the main reasons I created my business, to help small charitable organisations by taking on the task of organising spectacular fundraising events on your behalf.

So, whether you are a new small community group just starting out who would like to do something unusual and spectacular to get yourself noticed locally, or if you are an established charity that doesn’t have a dedicated fundraising team, I’m just the person to help you out in a very powerful way!

All of the groups I work with enjoy a personalised approach and a service that is completely tailored to suit their needs.  I will do as much or as little as you need me to do, and the very best thing of all;

It costs the charitable organisation absolutely nothing!

As with any business, there are costs involved, and these are all covered by the participant’s registration fee which, for a fundraising firewalk, is typically £50.
£50 is fantastic value to enjoy the experience of a lifetime – not only will it be a life changing event, it will really get your supporters (and the community) involved and engaged.

I’m sure you will agree that having me free up more time for you, is priceless.

…But, what has all this got to do with cake I hear you ask?  Well, just think of the time it takes to organise an event… the emails, the phone calls, talking to the press, the radio interviews, the effort of getting people to take part… I can do all of this on your behalf, leaving you with plenty of free time to go out and enjoy the lovely traditional experience of afternoon tea, with CAKE!

If you are involved in a charitable organisation and this is of interest to you, please take a look at my website: www.thefundraisingchallenger.com or give me a call on 01249 824866.

If you know of someone who might benefit from what I offer, please feel free to forward this to them – you never know, they might invite you along for afternoon tea and CAKE too!

Forthcoming Charity Fundraising Firewalks:

September – Cystic Fibrosis Kids (Portsmouth)
October – Mixed Charity Event (Warwickshire)
November – Pancreatic Cancer UK (London/Sussex)
December – Provisionally Booked (Newton Abbot)
January/February – Provisionally Booked (North Hampshire)
March – available
April – available

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So, what’s stopping you?

I hear it so many times; “what a fantastic fundraising idea – really different – sure to get loads of interest and it would be something really spectacular for the crowds. BUT (and there is usually a but…) there is no way you’d get me doing that!”  Funnily enough it is often men that are the ones who are reluctant to give it a go.

For some people the thought of walking on hot coals puts them right off their dinner.  Quite a few think it’s all a bit weird and way out in a ‘hippy’ kind of way!  Some just think it’s plain crazy to want to do something that appears to be so dangerous and it must be really painful!

But is it painful?  The experience varies from person to person, many people report that they don’t feel any sensations at all. When I did it, it certainly felt nothing like I was expecting!

The best way to describe the feeling for me was similar to walking on prickly eggshells – or having pins and needles for a few seconds.  I didn’t feel it as being hot although it WAS hot!  I walked twice and the few prickly sensations were a very small price to pay for the amazing experience and the money I raised for some great causes.

What I do know is that people rarely bottle out, and most walk over the coals at least twice – some people three times. You only have to read what people say about their experience to know that it is life changing for many.  One firewalker signed up after a night at the pub with her mates, she had never done anything like it before and lacked confidence, but she signed up and just did it.  Now I hear that she is doing a 130ft abseil to raise even more money for her charity – and that takes a lot of nerve (watch out for the one I’m holding in the autumn!).

So, are you prepared to dig deep and give it a go?

What’s the cause that is close to your heart – how would raising extra funds specifically help them?

What’s stopping you from saying yes to firewalking, yes to courage and yes to a life changing experience?

 

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Fundraising for Small Charitable Groups

It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it. To hold an event which could potentially raise thousands of pounds in one go – an event which costs you absolutely nothing to put on.

Some people might feel that giving participants a sponsorship target of £100 is a big ask of them. I would say that the bigger the challenge, the better the outcome for you and the more committed the participant will be!  Of course, if you wished to lower the fundraising bar – that is entirely up you – you are absolutely free to dictate how much or how little you would like people to raise for you!

Let me put it like this; you can have a cupcake sale and sell cakes – you might make £30.  Or you can have a Firewalk – with advertising, radio air time, publicity and fundraising opportunities in abundance.

If each participant has 20 work colleagues, family members and friends, and they each agree to sponsor them to walk on hot coals for the price of one large cappuchino and a biscuit – already they have raised £100 in sponsorship. Multiply that that by say 10 people doing the firewalk on behalf of your group and that is £1000 straight away.

Spectators could be invited to make a donation to watch and enjoy the buzz, music, and excitiment.

You could have a BBQ for even more fundraising. The possibilities are endless. It’s all about how much you want to raise!

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Olivia Holmes Foundation

On 30th June, in Torquay, Devon, I will be running an event to raise money for a little girl called Olivia Holmes (and other charities). Let me share a little bit of information about Olivia and her parents, taken from their Facebook Page:

“In July 2009 at the tender age of 3 and a half Olivia was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer in her lower spine. Only a handful of cases are identified in the UK every year. Despite the size of the tumour Olivia managed to survive the gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and operations.

After living with the treatment of cancer and side effects for over a year Nicholas and Lisa decided that they wanted to use their knowledge and experience to improve the lives of other children and their families who also experience the treatment of cancer.

With initial donations from family and friends they set up the Olivia Holmes Foundation as a charity to raise awareness of childhood cancer – to improve the hospital room environment, outside space and lives of those children and families affected.

The Olivia Holmes Foundation is a Newton Abbot based charity set up by Olivia’s parents Nicholas and Lisa Holmes in October 2010 when Olivia received her first all clear from a childhood cancer. The foundation received charity status in January 2011.”

YOU can help to raise funds by taking part in this amazing firewalk experience.  Book your place HERE

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The Challenge

I believe that it’s important to have a BIG goal in life. So, I have set myself a personal challenge to help people raise one million pounds for charity through my fundraising events.  So far I have raised a little over £17,500… my journey has begun – will you help me acheive my dream?

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