London Triathlon



Virgin Money Giving is proud to be the official fundraising partner of the 2015 AJ Bell London Triathlon. Taking place on the 8th & 9th August 2015, it’s the world’s largest triathlon attracting over 13,000 triathletes each year who swim, bike and run to the cheers of 30,000 spectators.

Entries have now closed – however you can still enter by securing a place from one of the Official Charities. Visit the AJ Bell London Triathlon website to see the list of charities you could be fundraising for this summer.

Already got your place? Set up your page here.

To help your fundraising get off to a good start, check out our competition to win an exclusive Pamper Package. Every month between 1 March and 31 December 2015, any fundraiser who uses us for their 2015 fundraising, has the chance to win one of these exclusive ‘Pamper Packages’.

250km across the Gobi desert for NDCS

Mike Hancock2

In 3 years, Mike has gone from being a self proclaimed “overweight non-runner“, to a multiple marathon runner, to running 250km in 7 days across the Gobi desert – finishing 10th out of 160 competitors, fundraising for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). He is today’s #FundraiserFriday star.

Having already completed two marathons – in Paris and Warsaw – and two half-marathons, Mike decided he wanted to really push himself to the limit in order to raise money for NDCS, and so started training five times a week in preparation for the Gobi Desert Challenge.  He says “The idea was to enter an event that I didn’t think was possible and see if I could do it.

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. They point out “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given early diagnosis and the right support from the startDeaf children should be valued by society and have the same opportunities as any other child.

Mike says NDCS has been “a lifeline” to his niece, Emily. He tells us “Emily has been deaf since she was two-and-a-half and eventually lost her hearing completely.  She received Bilateral Cochlear Implants and when they were switched on, Emily heard sound for the first time in almost nine months, which was amazing.  NDCS has been a fantastic source of help to the family so I wanted to do something to support the work they do across the UK with deaf children and their families. The charity fundraising added a different element to the event for me and everyone has been so generous in their donations.

The challenge itself was an incredibly strenuous one, with Mike running an average of 36km per day, at one point running 80km in one day, surviving on 2200 calories of freeze dried food, despite burning 3000-4000 calories per day. Mike tells us he craved fresh food and everything cold. “Everything in the desert is hot, including the water you get, so it was pretty hard to take after a while. When we finished Saturday morning, we headed to the hotel breakfast buffet and piled all sorts of food onto our plates. It was amazing to have the freedom to choose food again after living on rations for a week. It really makes you appreciate food“.

Mike concludes “It’s one of those events that once you start, you just need to get to the end at all costs. I thought about Emily and the way she deals with her disability on a daily basis. It’s like she has no disability. If she can do that, then a wee run through the desert should be nothing to complain about.

It’s not too late to donate to Mike’s cause, you can do so via his Virgin Money Giving page.

Virgin Money Giving’s Five Promises


Virgin Money Giving wants to help charities to raise as much money as possible, and to help ensure that the money raised goes to where it is needed most. To do that, we have made made five key promises to our charity partners.

These five promises are designed to not only help charities to raise as much money as possible, but also to address some of the fears and challenges they face when it comes to online fundraising.

Virgin Money Giving’s five promises are:

  1. We will help charities make their fundraising go further:
    We will do that by not taking a penny in profit, passing on Gift Aid in full and making sure charities receive donations within a week. As Virgin Money Giving is operated on a not-for-profit basis, we estimate that over £11million more has already made its way to charities compared to the main profit-making player in the sector
  2. We will make online fundraising easier:
    We will do that by providing handy tools that even the most computer-phobic can use. With just a few clicks, Virgin Money Giving allows personalised appeal pages to be created, along with event and campaign hubs, and much more. Plus, easy-to-produce reports make it easy for charities to keep track of fundraising.
  3. We will help charities develop their skills:
    We will do that by offering free, interactive training, both face-to-face and over the phone, to make sure charities are able to benefit fully from online fundraising. We will offer a variety of training, including reporting, fundraising and campaign design.
  4. We will keep charities money safe:
    We know how critically important it is to keep money raised safe and sound. So charities can take comfort from the fact that being part of Virgin Money means Virgin Money Giving’s security and systems meet approved banking standards. And because our not-for-profit model is sustainable, we won’t be disappearing.
  5. We will have a dedicated helpdesk:
    We’re passionate about good service so if charities need support, advice or even ideas, they can just pick up the phone and speak to our helpdesk team. In fact independent research2 shows our customer satisfaction levels to be amongst the best in the UK.

Jo Barnett, Executive Director at Virgin Money Giving, said:

Our website is simple and user friendly but many charities just want extra support to make the most of digital channels. Our team has designed a series of interactive bite size training sessions, accessible from a desk, which will give our charity partners new skills and knowledge that they can put into practice straightaway. When we entered the market we committed to bringing online fundraising to charities of all sizes and by making these five promises, I’m delighted that we are delivering on that commitment.’’

May #PamperPackage Winner


Every month, we give one fundraiser the chance to win a Pamper Package: every donation received in that month gets the fundraiser one entry into the draw. The Pamper Package prize includes chocolates and champagne from Virgin Wines, a Pamper Day package from Virgin Active and a £100 donation to the winner’s Virgin Money Giving page.

This month, our winner is David Thompson, who completed the Duchenne Dash 2015. David shared a fantastic video with us to show the incredible journey.

David added these words “It was an amazing experience – 300kms, 15 hours in the saddle and not a lot of sleep. We raised just less than £12,000 for the fight to ‘end Duchenne in 10‘, making a sizeable contribution to an event which raised over £400,000 in total. I cycled with some of the parents of boys who suffer from this awful disease which allowed me to learn more about it – the stories are heart-breaking. It’s great we can make such a tangible contribution to the research to find a cure.

You can still donate to David’s cause via his Virgin Money Giving page or by visiting the team’s campaign page.

“It costs how much?”

emma rose

Emma has been working at Virgin Money Giving since we launched back in October 2009.  She started on the phone and email helpdesk and for the last 4 or so years has been an Account Manager, being the main point of contact for a number of the UK’s largest charities. She tells us a bit more about Virgin Money Giving:

Working in a position where I get to meet and speak with many charities, I have seen the challenges that they all face at times.

One of the challenges that pops up time and time again is ‘how do I get someone to want to fundraise for my charity?’

With so many different events nowadays and seemingly so many people wanting to challenge themselves and get fit at the same time, as well as those crazy fitness fanatics (maybe it’s a generation thing… I’m getting old) filling your events is maybe easier, but how do you get them to work as hard on the fundraising as they do on their training?

They will all rush off to buy the trainers and the newest app to track their miles, they’ll start cycling to work and maybe take the long route, they’ll cut out the Friday night fish and chips and beer and write off every Sunday morning lay in for the next 6 months… But what about the fundraising?

The answer for me is simple: They have to understand what you do, they have to know how important the work you do is, and they have to like you!

Unless your fundraiser has experienced the work you do directly, or you have helped a friend or family member, do they really know what you do?

Let me give you an example: Over a few months I had been speaking with a charity, finding out what events they were involved with, who worked at the charity, where they went on their holidays, what the charity did… Or so I thought.  I was sympathetic to their cause, I had read up on their website, I knew about them but did I want to fundraise for them? Honestly? Not really.

They invited me, along with all their event participants to one of the housing centres that the charity funded.  A group of young adults whom through different situations had found themselves needing help were living in this centre.  They told us their stories, they made us dinner, and they thanked us.

When I left… Yes! I wanted to help! As did every other person that was there that evening.

“It costs how much?”

We always suggest that you give your fundraisers and donors your ‘charity shopping list’ – this means they can clearly see what the money they raise will achieve, they can see what difference they are making and how many people they are helping. 

Thanks to Comic Relief, we all know that £5 buys a mosquito net. There it is… My £20 donation has bought 4 nets and means that I have stopped 4 people contracting malaria.  I feel good, I’ve done my bit.

If you have these specific visual costs and examples, great, use them, but what if you don’t have a charity that you can invite people to come and visit? You may not have young people that can speak on your behalf, you may not provide mosquito nets… So what do you have?

  • Do you run a helpline? If yes, how much does this cost to run and how many people does it help? E.g. £10 will provide advice to 20 people a day on our dedicated help line.
  • How much does it cost to run your hospice for a year? A month? A week? And how many patients and families will you care for?
  • Do you have people you have helped, who will be willing to speak on your behalf? To share their stories and tell people what you did for them? Let them be your ambassadors.
  • Can you get your fundraisers together to tell them in person about the work you do? So much better than an email or a phone call. Show them what you do.
  • Have you considered making a video that you can share with your supporters? Again, getting your ambassadors to feature.
  • Do you really know your fundraisers? Remember they need to like you; they will want to help you. Take notes when you chat on the phone, remember what they tell you, build a relationship and they’ll support you for life.
  • Stay in touch with your supporters throughout their journey…care for them, don’t just nag them!
  • Thank them! Write them a note, give them a call, throw them a celebration party (bring a bottle of course)

So there are just a few tips, they may be obvious to you, but they haven’t been to a lot of the charities I know.

If you’d like to hear more, please come and see Virgin Money Giving at the Fundraising Day.

Jo Barnett talks to Charity Digital News


Our Executive Director, Jo Barnett, talked to Charity Digital News on the importance of online fundraising.

Hear her thoughts on training for charities, the growth of online giving, “Wacky Warriors” and viral trends.

London Duathlon


On Sunday 20th September, the world’s biggest duathon will take place in Richmond Park, London. London Duathlon is a run-bike-run race offering athletes of all abilities and ambitions the chance to race through these stunning surroundings.

The event has been a sell out event two years in a row, however if you want to give yourself a challenge, do so in style and get a charity place at this uniquely brilliant London race. Multi-discipline sports are brilliant for strength and building endurance – plus you’ll never be bored!

Darren, a 2014 duathlete, said – “One of the best events I’ve done, so slick and well organised. Great course! Looking forward to next year.”

Key facts about London Duathlon

  • The event is the world’s biggest duathlon!
  • The race takes place on closed roads in Richmond Park – a truly beautiful location that also boasts excellent transport links to Central London.
  • The event organisers are proud to be working, once more, with our Charity Partners: Macmillan Cancer Support and NSPCC

Once you have your place at this spectacular event, don’t forget to open a Virgin Money Giving page and get those donations rolling in!

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