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How to invigorate your fundraising campaign

Top tips on how to engage donors

Marathon runner dressed as a character

If your fundraising event is fast approaching but you’re still some way off your target, don’t panic. Our selection of top tips from charity experts and fundraising marathon runners should give you some ideas for fun ways to get more donors signed up to your cause.

1. Invite donors to vote

“Make it interactive. For example, if you’re running a marathon, offer three potential running costumes and when people donate they get to vote for which one they want you to wear – the one with the most votes wins.”

Rudi Schlenker, marathon runner

“When I did the marathon I offered people who sponsored me the chance to suggest a name that I would print on my running vest (no obscenities allowed). A few weeks before the big day I did a draw of all the suggested names and ended up running as Captain Cuddles, which got me no end of extra attention and shout-outs during the race.”

Captain Cuddles, marathon runner

“When I was fundraising ahead of running the marathon, rather than asking people to choose a song for my running play list that they thought of as inspiring and motivational in exchange for sponsoring me, I had the idea to ask them to choose a terrible song. People really engaged with the idea and I ended up running the Virgin Money London Marathon to Star Wars’ The Imperial March, Jayne McDonald’s cover of My Heart Will Go On and Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle of the Road.”

Sarah Bourn, editor, policy and campaigns, Sightsavers

2. Set up an auction

“Online auctions are an exciting way of raising money and you can do them from your sofa at home. Contact companies to ask for voucher donations (which are cheap to post out to winners) and list them on a Facebook event page. Invite all your Facebook friends and get them to invite theirs, then set a date and time for the online auction and sit back and watch people outbid one another. The excitement for you and those taking part is infectious and it’s a really easy way to raise lots of money fast!”

Sarah Hyde, Community Funding & Marketing Officer, Nelson’s Journey

“One of our fundraisers contacted lots of celebrities and asked them to sign Christmas cards or postcards which were then auctioned off on eBay. Another fundraiser, a marathon runner, has sold ribbons in memory of people – she will then be sewing their names onto her running vest.”

Emily Roff, Senior Sports and Community Fundraising Manager, Children with Cancer UK

3. Get your donors involved

“We’ve seen great success when donors feel involved. If you’re a marathon runner, for example, ahead of a marathon you could organise a pay-to-participate training run in which your donors pay sponsorship money to join you on a training fun run in the park. Alternatively, a bake-off is always good – people pay to enter a cake and you get a judge in. This works well in the office with colleagues or in the pub with mates. Pub quizzes, car boot sales and coffee mornings are also classic ideas that still work well. If it ain’t broke…”

Melissa Robertson, Head of Programme Development, UK Youth

“Our fundraisers have had great success with honesty box tuck shops in the office. Keep a box topped up with treats and a collection tin next to it, so when those 4pm hunger pangs hit, colleagues can make a contribution in return for a snack. Some colleagues may even help re-stock it!”

Laura Beavis, Project Manager, Challenge Events, Teenage Cancer Trust

For an even wider range of expert fundraising ideas, Your top ten fundraising tips may inspire you.

Have you gone the extra mile to inspire more people to donate? We’d love to hear your story and top fundraising tips on Facebook and Twitter.

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