Fundraising with a side of caffeine

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This Saturday marks one of the important days of the year for caffeine lovers across the world. The 1st of October is none other than International Coffee Day.

Be your own barista

How many times a day do you see a colleague holding a paper cup from your local coffee shop? Why not become your work’s barista for a day? Grab a selection of coffees and maybe a couple of syrups, ask your colleagues to ditch the brands and instead, place their orders with you by donating to your Virgin Money Giving page and detailing their coffee choice in the comment. Then you make the coffee and deliver it to their desk. You could even ask a couple of friends to help if you work in a big office or have particularly thirsty colleagues!

Coffee club

Why not ditch the traditional cheese and wine tasting and host your own coffee tasting? You could run a little competition to challenge your friends or colleagues to guess which coffee is which, or where the beans are from. Just ask them to enter the taste testing trial by donating to your Virgin Money Giving page and you decide how it works – you could even do it like a book club with everyone bringing along their favourite coffee!

#charitytuesday: Turning 5,123 offences of abuse into 5,123 smiles

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There were 5,123 offences of sexual abuse and cruelty against Scotland’s children last year. This is why the charity Children 1st have created the Create a Smile campaign; to raise awareness of this shocking statistic and hopefully help to reduce this statistic in coming years.

All you need to do is visit the Create a Smile website and select your unique smile to show your support – it only takes a minute – and you can then share it on your social media accounts to encourage others to get involved.

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Alison Todd from Children 1st says;

“Children 1st has been working for over 130 years in Scotland to make sure that we do all we can to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect from happening. When the worst happens, we know that with our help and support, children can recover and go on to have happy healthy lives.”

To sign up and show your support, visit the Create a Smile website. It really does take seconds and don’t forget to SHARE the smile you create!

You can also donate to Children 1st to help support the amazing work they do or you can start your own fundraising for this amazing charity.

#fundraiserfriday: After three years in hospital, Alice is taking control

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This year, Alice Halstead has reached the tenth anniversary of her diagnosis with diabetes. During this time, complications meant that Alice spent three continuous years in hospital and at one point was told it was unlikely she’d reach her 18th birthday. Now, however, Alice is going from strength to strength and has decided to take on ten things that she never thought she’d be able to do.

The challenge

For Alice, there have been a huge number of things she was not able to achieve because of the potentially life threatening disease but now wants to take on after being allowed home and returning to a more “normal” life – a normality which Alice points out is “a roller coaster of blood sugar monitoring – hourly or more frequently – every day and night just to keep alive, living with a notoriously difficult, sometimes demoralising and relentless burden of responsibility that is thrown upon you through no fault of your own“.

The first of Alice’s ten challenges was her GCSEs, eight years later than originally planned which will be followed with the daunting experience of attaining a part time job.

As well as these “day-to-day” items on her list, Alice is also committed to fundraising for two charities which have become very close to her heart throughout her fundraising; Medical Detection Dogs and Rays of Sunshine. Ideas for fundraising so far include a skydive, which she will be undertaking with three friends in coming months, and a ball which Alice will organise to raise funds and awareness.

The cause

Rays of Sunshine is a charity which grants wishes to very ill children. Alice says that once she made her wish with the charity and was advised that it would come true once she was stronger, it gave her something to focus on. Two years later, Alice’s wish was granted and she was whisked off to London to see The Lion King, with two nurses to monitor her at all times. The charity made this possible by organising the event from start to finish. Together with her family and friends, Alice has helped to raise over £60,000 for Rays of Sunshine and in 2010, became Special Ambassador and Wish Coordinator for the charity.

On the 31st October 2011, Holly, the Medical Detection Dog arrived and completely transformed Alice’s life. Alice says that within weeks of Holly’s arrival, she began to recognise and alert both high and low blood sugars. “She alerts me by licking my hand forcefully and going to fetch the kit and bringing it back to me. I still remember the first time Holly came and alerted me while I sat on the sofa completely oblivious that my blood sugar was crashing into dangerous levels – she saved my life with a simple sniff!

How you can help

You can support Alice’s fundraising for these two causes by donating to her Someone Special page.

#fundraiserfriday: “It’s heartbreaking that we have to put a price on our child’s head”

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In 2013, 19-month-old Bradley Lowery was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system. Despite going into remission the following year after undergoing chemotherapy and operations to remove tumours, Bradley relapsed and his parents were told that antibody therapy in the US might be the only way to save him.

Bradley’s challenge

Bradley’s family and friends and the people of their local community in Sunderland began desperately trying to raise £700,000 to enable Bradley to receive the treatment which could save his life. Bradley’s mum, Gemma, admits she does not have the words to explain how she felt at Bradley’s relapse. Upon discovering he would have to keep receiving treatment, Bradley asked her “Why do I have to go to hospital? Why can’t I go to school and play with my friends?

Bradley’s fundraising is going from strength to strength with people up and down the country committing to helping. Bradley himself raised a massive £2000 having his head shaved while others have taken on multiple marathons, hosted charity football events and even taken on sponsored weight loss!

Gemma says “it’s heartbreaking that we have to put a price on our child’s head” but that Bradley tries to remain positive, insisting that he will “kick cancer’s butt again“.

How you can help

You can help get Bradley and his family to their incredibly important target by donating to Bradley’s fundraising page. Or, if you would like to get involved yourself, you can open a Virgin Money Giving page under Bradley’s campaign page and take on your own fundraising challenge.

Yo ho ho and a whole lot of fundraising

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We know our fundraisers like to do weird and wacky things. We’ve seen people wear fancy dress for a year and even change their name to Captain Beany by deed poll; we know our fundraisers are always up for acting a bit silly.

So when we discovered that 19 September was national Talk Like a Pirate Day – we knew our fundraisers would be ready to say “arr me hearties” to some pirate themed fundraising.

Talk like a pirate

We’ve heard of sponsored silences but how about a full day of talking like a pirate? Ask your crew mates to pop some pieces of eight on your Virgin Money Giving page if you manage to keep the Long John Silver accent up all day. And of course, if you don’t quite manage it, its your friends’ job to come up with a forfeit…

Remember to check with your boss before you start calling people scurvy dogs on conference calls!

X marks the spot..

A pirate isn’t a pirate if they’ve never found buried treasure so prove you’re skull-and-cross-bone worthy by setting up a treasure hunt around your home, your town or your office.

Bury the treasure (or hide it in a cupboard!), ask your fellow treasure-hunters to make a donation to your Virgin Money Giving page in return for a list of clues and it’s time to set sail on your very own scavenger hunt. This can be customised in all sorts of different ways – just make sure there is no trespassing involved or else! We all know what a pirate ship’s plank is there for…

Soggy bottoms and fundraising

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It’s the most British thing since someone paired toasted tea cakes with a cup of tea; the Great British Bake Off is back on our screens once again and making us feel slightly bad about our TV dinners.

But why not use the show to help with your fundraising? Go full Mary Berry and take on some of our Bake Off-inspired fundraising ideas.

Who will be master baker?

One way that’s sure to get the competitive icing flowing is to set your friends or colleagues a baking competition, but this one comes with a twist. Request that everyone brings in their speciality baked goods and instead of simply rating the cakes, encourage the rest of the office to pay what they think each baked delicacy deserves – the winner is the offering that raises the most money.

Set up a Virgin Money Giving page and ask people to write in their comment which cake they bought – then add up the total for each cake and crown your Office Bake Off winner!

Time trial baking

Not everybody has time to bake at home but there are various in-work options to get colleagues into the Bake Off spirit.

We reckon that even Selasi would lose his chill if you suggested pulling out the flour and eggs in the office, but how about an against-the-clock icing competition?

Set up a Virgin Money Giving page and ask competitors for a donation to enter, then grab a few plain sponge cakes, some icing tubes and some decorative bits and set your friends or colleagues a time limit in which to decorate their cake to the best of their ability. All you need is a small prize for the winner and you can then sell the cakes per slice once the winner has been crowned – all for donations to your fundraising page.

Fundraising with an Olympic twist

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Sadly, the Olympics have come to a close and so have the endless hours, lying on the sofa, watching feats of incredible sporting prowess.

Why not put your Olympic hangover to good use, get your friends and family or place of work involved and do some athletics inspired fundraising?

The ‘in front of the TV’ fundraising tournament

We all know someone who has a Nintendo Wii which could very well be sitting in a drawer gathering dust. Most importantly, it’s likely that it came with a copy of Wii Sports which could assist you in your very own office Olympics!

It could be as simple as creating a Virgin Money Giving page, picking your events, asking people to make a donation in order to enter and then picking up some prizes for the tournament winners.

The ‘back to the old school’ option

If the sun is shining, you could even get your PE kit on, take your friends and family or invite your office outside for a game of rounders or cricket. They might not currently be Olympic sports but we all know they should be.

Participants make a donation to a Virgin Money Giving page in order to take part and organise a small prize for the winner – or it could even just be pride and bragging rights!

There are all sorts of ways you can raise money for your chosen charity with a sporting angle – why not share yours below?


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