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Jonathan’s fundraising story

Tips on how to be your charity’s hero

Experienced marathon runner and fundraiser

Jonathan proudly showing off his medal

Putting your charity at the heart of everything you do really helps to drive your fundraising and get your supporters to really understand why it matters.

We caught up with Jonathan and his wife Lauren, who have both run several marathons and raised over £68,500. While it takes dedication to raise this much, everything they did is simple and easy to apply to your own fundraising.

Know what drives you

Jonathan says it’s incredibly important to know “why you’re doing it”. He adds, “If you don’t have a personal connection to your charity, you have to have a reason for choosing it that your supporters can easily understand. There are all kinds of stories – you just have to find yours.”

Embrace your charity

For Jonathan, the fact that he is personally connected to the charities he raises funds for makes all the difference. Chai Cancer Care treated him when he had cancer and he’s fortunate enough to have “come out the other side”, as he puts it. North London Hospice enabled his mum to pass from her own cancer with dignity and in peace. “You need to know exactly what your charity does, and why it really matters to you.”

Share your vision

Knowing what he was fundraising for and having a goal in mind really helped Jonathan. Whilst his mum was alive, he had a target of £50,000 for his charities. He’s now surpassed that and is hoping to raise £1,000 for every year of his life – only £4,000 to go to hit his target this year! Plus, Jonathan says, “having someone to support and help keep you going is a real game-changer; running without my wife would just not have been the same.”

Make a personal connection

Jonathan is happy to nudge people. He gets most of his donations simply by emailing people personally. If an email is addressed to them, they’re more likely to take notice. He’s taken the time to build a relationship with his supporters, and sends over 500 emails for each marathon.

Make your charity visible

Just by wearing his charity vest on his training runs, Jonathan has been able to meet new people he wouldn’t normally have done and get new donations. It helps that his charities are both local – people recognise his vest and start talking to him. Also by talking about his fundraising in his day-to-day life, he’s even been able to get donations from acquaintances. As he says, “people just need to know about what you’re doing.”

Keep your supporters involved

Jonathan isn’t afraid to follow up with the people he’s asked to donate to his page, particularly to those who have expressed an interest, but have forgotten or haven’t got round to it. He also makes sure to go back and thank people for their donations, and let them know how he’s getting on.

Ask first to get generous donations

Starting his fundraising for the Virgin Money London Marathon in April as early as the previous December, four months ahead of the race, really made a difference to Jonathan. He found when he asked people for donations, they were likely to give more generously to his page. “If you leave it later, people often give less as they’ve already donated to other fundraisers,” he says.

Don’t ever give up

Jonathan has run the New York Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Berlin Marathon and (six times) the Virgin Money London Marathon. He says he really drew on his resilience and determination for the New York Marathon as he had had intensive chemotherapy for three months and only had eight weeks to train for it.

He said at the time, “I can’t promise I will start the 2015 New York Marathon. I can’t even promise that if I start it, I will finish it. But one thing I promise you, I will try, try, try.” With the help of friends and family, he raised a staggering £12,000 in just five days.

You may also be interested in reading Heidi’s Virgin Money London Marathon story and Michael’s Virgin Money London Marathon story, as well as suggestions from other fundraisers in Your top 10 fundraising tips.

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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