#ReasontoRun

This year, the Virgin Money London Marathon has a very special theme. We are asking people to think about their #ReasontoRun. Hugh Brasher, the race director, explained;

We know every single runner has a unique #ReasonToRun the world’s greatest marathon. Whether it’s to set a PB, to raise money for a cause, to remember a loved one, to break a Guinness World Record, to win, to remain an Ever Present, to qualify for Great Britain or just because it’s always been a dream to run the London Marathon – the reasons are endless and we would love to hear them.”

We decided to ask some of our fundraisers to share their reasons for taking part in this amazing event. You can click on each fundraiser’s name to find out more.

Heidi fundraising for Tommy’s in memory of her son, James.

“My #ReasontoRun is my baby James and all the steps he will never take and to raise funds for Tommy’s so they can help future babies find their feet rather than their wings.”

Jonathan is fundraising for North London Hospice and Chai Cancer Care following his own battle with cancer.

“My #ReasonToRun is that following my battle with Testicular Cancer and chemotherapy, I will continue to run with fight and determination for those who can’t, whilst fundraising along the way.”

Michael is fundraising for Brain Research Trust after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour.

“Being happy to be alive and urging for more progress with brain research is my #ReasontoRun”

Nick is fundraising for Macmillan and Treetops Hospice Care.

“It’s easy to just exist when you live with long-term conditions, so my #ReasonToRun is to live, not simply exist, with persistent pain and fatigue.”

John is fundraising for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland following the sudden death of his best friend.

“My #ReasontoRun is that following a serious illness, running gave me a new lease of life – it’s great”

Peter is fundraising for The Sepsis Trust in memory of his mum.

“My #ReasontoRun is to help prevent more needless lives being taken from Sepsis so my mums life will not have been in vain”

Whatever you do, be creative

“Being happy to be alive and urging for more progress with brain research is my #ReasontoRun

One thing we’ve learned this week is that when you’re fundraising, it’s really important that your donation requests, your story and your page stand out. If they are different, if they grip your supporters, you interest people and interested people make donations. If there’s anything you can do to really bump up your donations, it’s to captivate people with your creativity.

This week, we spoke to fundraiser Michael Nollet. He’s raised over £3500 so far for Brain Research Trust, who research neurological conditions such as brain tumours and Alzheimer’s Disease. We believe his fundraising has been successful because of how he shares his story on his blog.

Be unique

One way to grab people’s attention is to share your story your own way. Give it your own personality, and if you can, add photos to help people visualise it. Michael’s story worksMichael Nolet - Early 2006 well because he presents it not only in a blog, but in a comic strip that’s easily digestible, quirky and gets his point across.

Have fun with it

Don’t be afraid to share the positives of your story; the moments that kept you going, or made you smile and step back for a minute. Michael does this by taking one of his most vulnerable moments after his surgery, and turning it into something funny. It’s okay to laugh; if anything, it helps people connect with you.

Give people a reason to explore

Michael says, “Design a site people can surf around a bit with. Better they feel there’s more to explore – so long as it’s interesting – than that they’ve seen it all on first visit.” He does this by having separate tabs to help guide people to the content they want to read: ‘My Story’, ‘My Blogs’, ‘Gratitude’ and ‘DONATE’.

Find a thread

Michael says, “Create an excuse to keep blogging – whether it be milestones in your fundraising or simply a mile per blog.” This way your blogs are connected so people know what to expect, and they’re more likely to come back to read again and, with any luck, sponsor again. This way they can follow your whole journey.

Mix it up

“Keep your blog content varied; repeating the same sort of stories gets predictable which could mean people will stop following your blogs,” Michael tells us. His blogs vary from sharing his own experiences of having a brain tumour, to how the research can help so many different causes. It never feels like the same story, there’s always something new, a different angle, something fresh.

Keep it up

Michael says, “Get ready for an initial burst in sponsorship followed by a big drop off. Each blog’s worth lots of potential sponsorship, so work hard at them all.’ So if you make sure to post regularly, you can maintain people’s interest and keep the donations coming in. People can’t forget about you if you keep them in the loop. At the same time, each blog needs to have a purpose – post every day and you might lose people’s interest.

Share photos, not just links

Michael says, “Don’t just post links to your blog on Facebook – add photos.” This way your blog can reach more people, and also catch more people’s attention.

Help them understand

If your supporters can really understand what happened, they can understand your motivation. Michael lets his supporters into his memories, so they can really feel how he felt when he had a seizure. It’s the difference between just telling them what happened, and helping them feel as if it happened to them.

60 seconds. Thousands of aggressive, electrical charges force my fingers to move in random directions.  Someone else is in control – I’m a passenger in my own body. I want whatever’s taken over to stop. But the waves keep coming. If only I could stop this invasion

Give it some perspective

Michael shares how one of his friends – who also had a brain tumour – said “I have the MRI scans at home… and I have one framed on the wall. When I am having a really bad day I look at the scan and think if I’ve dealt with that – then it doesn’t seem as bad.” With his Michael Nolet - Stitched Upown scan in the blog, it shows the reality of his situation and helps you to really appreciate the everyday moments, and why his fundraising is so important.

Bring it back to fundraising

Michael often writes about his cause as a way to connect to his fundraising, like this excerpt from his blog:

“The good news is that the average brain generates around 50,000 thoughts per day. However, the bad news according to scientists is that disturbingly 70% of these thoughts in most people are apparently negative!

So with a cheeky smile, and in the words of my friend Tom Burmester, I say to you: Do something good! Sponsor Mike.”

Not got a lot of time?

Don’t worry, you can still take a few pointers from Michael. If your event is coming up soon, you could create a photo based blog with shorter written text, or you could write about the countdown itself, or maybe even as a way to let people know what’s going on in the run up to the day, and how things went on the day itself. You can put as much or as little into it as you like, but whatever you do say, don’t be afraid to be yourself with it.

Have you found a creative way to share your fundraising story? Share it with us on Facebook or @VMGiving

 

#fundraiserfriday: From intensive care to the London Marathon

In 2012, Paul suffered a frontal lobe hemorrhage following an unprovoked attack. He will be running the London Marathon in 2017 to raise awareness of brain injury, inspire others and show that after a brain injury, you can still go on and achieve great things!

Paul’s journey

Taking part in this event marks a huge milestone in Paul’s own personal journey, as at the time of the race 5 years ago, he was in intensive care. Back then he never dreamt he would be taking part in the London Marathon!

Paul stated “Nothing could prepare my family and I for the battle of brain recovery. It is a long and challenging journey, which will test every aspect of your life. I know from personal experience that people are left lost, lonely, confused and vulnerable after brain injury. The injury can come with devastating consequences and be life changing for everyone affected. For those reasons, there needs to be somewhere to go, a lifeline, a place to obtain comfort, support, education and inspiration. That’s why I set up the charity PAUL For Brain Recovery.”

The charity

All funds raised by Paul as a result of taking part in the London Marathon will go to PAUL For Brain Recovery. During his own recovery, Paul realised that there was a real lack of community support after being discharged from acute services. Because of this, he founded PAUL For Brain Recovery, which exists to make life easier after brain injury by providing advice and support to empower all affected.

He added “I have walked the difficult path of brain recovery and feel very lucky to have recovered well. It is now my passion to help others that are on the line of despair. That’s why it’s such an honour to be representing the brain injured in this year’s London Marathon.”

How you can help

To keep him going during the marathon, Paul will be thinking of all of the people that the charity is able to help.  A great motivation for him is the positive effect that his efforts will have on those facing a difficult time in their lives. Paul will also draw on his own personal experiences; during the dark days of his recovery, he never thought he would be in a position to be such a positive influence to so many people.

Help support Paul’s amazing journey by donating to his Virgin Money Giving page.

Be your charity’s hero

“My #ReasonToRun is that following my battle with Testicular Cancer and chemotherapy, I will continue to run with fight and determination for those who can’t, whilst fundraising along the way.”

Putting your charity front and centre 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 run 12 Marathons each and raised over £54,000 from seven of them. Whilst 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 starts by saying it’s incredibly important to know “why you’re doing it”. He adds “If you’re not running because you have a personal connection to your charity, you have to know your drive for doing it. And your supporters have to understand why you’re doing it too. There are all kinds of stories, you just have to find yours.”

Embrace your charity

What makes the real difference for Jonathan is he is personally connected to all his charities. Jonathan has had cancer, has been personally treated by Chai Cancer Care and has come out the other side. His mum Valerie was also a volunteer for Chai Cancer Care, and North London Hospice enabled her 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 £1000 for every year of his life – only £4000 to go to hit his target this year! Plus, Jonathan says, “having someone to support and help you keep 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 it’s 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, he’s been able to meet new people he wouldn’t have normally and get new donations. It helps that his charities are both local, and people recognise his vest and start talking to him. Also by talking about his fundraising in his day to day life, he’s been able to get donations even from acquaintances. People just need to know about it.

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 gotten 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 early in December really made a difference to Jonathan. This way when he’s asked people for donations, they’re likely to give more generously to his page. He says “If you leave it later, people often give less as they’ve already donated to other fundraisers.”

Don’t ever give up

Jonathan shared the fact that he’s run the New York Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Berlin Marathon and it’s his sixth Virgin Money London Marathon. He tells us that his determination really came out for New York. He had intensive chemotherapy for 3 months, and only had 8 weeks to train for the Marathon. He said at the time:

“One last thing, I can’t promise I will start the 2015 New York Marathon. I can’t even promise that if I start the 2015 New York Marathon, 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.

Have you gone the extra mile to inspire more people to donate? Share how you did it with others @VMGiving or on Facebook

Win a £1000 donation with #MadeToMove and Lucozade

Our friends at Lucozade Sport have recently launched their #MadeToMove social campaign which gives London Marathon runners the chance to win £1000 for their chosen charity by getting 10 of their friends to run 1 mile each and post a selfie on Instagram. Come and join the new way of fundraising!

Over the competition there are 3 separate prize draws!

How do marathon runners get involved?

  • Take to Instagram and post something like this:
    “As you all know I am running the Virgin Money London Marathon and I need your help! Run/walk/jog a mile for me and upload a sweaty selfie and I could win £1000 for my charity courtesy of Lucozade Sport. Make sure to use the hashtag #MadeToMove”
  • Don’t forget to remind your friends to tag you and @ you on Instagram otherwise it won’t count!
  • Once 10 of your friends have run 1 mile and tagged you on Instagram, you will be in the running to win £1000 for your chosen charity. Look out for a direct message in your Instagram inbox!

For more information, check out the Lucozade Sport Instagram account or the website.

#fundraiserfriday: Free Ali Carnegie

ali-carnegie-fb

At 9:30am on Friday 24 February, Ali Carnegie will be one of twelve people arrested by local police for “diary disasters”. After a brief court appearance, he will be placed in the cells at Devonport Guild Hall where his bail will be set at £999 – every penny of which, if raised, will be donated to the Children’s Hospice South West.

The crime

At Virgin Money Giving, we love new and interesting ways of fundraising so when we saw Ali’s extensive crime sheet, and the manner in which his freedom will be acquired, we had to hear more.

We were informed that recently, Ali had arrived exactly one month early for a networking event and even managed to triple book himself in Plymouth, Exeter and Taunton on the same day; it seems the evidence is mounting.

The plea

Ali has pleaded not guilty to the crimes for which he has been charged, stating that his ‘occasional’ diary blips are, in his words, “completely due to technology (and my wife)”.

Whatever the reason behind Mr Carnegie’s poor diary management, Children’s Hospice South West will no doubt be able to make an amazing difference to the lives of very ill children with the money raised for his bail.

The fundraising challenge

This fantastic fundraising event, run by the Children’s Hospice South West, will culminate in the trial and jailing of the twelve accused on Friday with the hope of raising more than £11,900 for the charity.

You can donate towards Ali’s bail and have a look who else might deserve freeing from jail via the Children’s Hospice South West website.

 

Heidi takes on fundraising with Instagram

heidi-fb

“My #ReasontoRun is my baby James and all the steps he will never take and to raise funds for Tommy’s so they can help future babies find their feet rather than their wings.”

Coming up with creative ways to keep up the momentum of your fundraising can sometimes leave you feeling a bit stuck. But often it’s simple things done well and using every day tools such as social media which really does rally the crowds and help keep you motivated.

Meet Heidi – not only has she smashed £2000 (and still rising) in donations for Tommy’s, who research how to save babies’ lives, she has also cracked Instagram to a T.

It’s clear that Heidi really does know how to work her audience, so we got in touch to find out a bit more about her story and how she’s approached her fundraising.

1. Use hashtags to get connected

Heidi says, “It’s about finding the right hashtag to connect with others. You need to find out what others are using.”

Heidi uses #thisisforbabyjames to personalise her story and to make it easier to follow, and also uses #marathontraining and #babyloss to connect with like-minded people.

2. Take people on your journey

When Heidi shares a photo, she makes sure to share the story behind the photo. She says that you need to “find something memorable in your runs. People need to be able to imagine what was happening. They need to find emotion, feel something and get lost in it. They need to connect with people.”

3. Choose your photos with a purpose

Sometimes a photo speaks a thousand words. Finding powerful photos really help tell your story. Heidi says “pictures help you to find the words when you just don’t know heidi1what to say”. One of Heidi’s photos is her Tommy’s running vest, which is covered in 63 stars; each one represents a child who was lost whose family she has met on her journey.

4. Connect with your charity

Heidi says that tagging the charity you’re running for is a great way to keep up to date with what you’re charity is doing, which allows you to share your learning about your charity with others. This ensures you’re always creating new opportunities to fundraise.

She adds “Tagging can also be reassuring. It’s the opportunity to talk and be supported by your charity so you’re never on your own. They understand and they want to support.”

5. Share your target

Heidi says that when you share your target and your running total, “people who’ve donated get excited. It’s all about looking how far we have come – the fundraising is a team effort.”

Sharing her target was a great way for Heidi to keep everyone involved and focused on a collective goal. It’s a call to act now rather than later. She adds “It’s making everyone feel good and getting the buzz going. Everyone wants to be that person to get you over the line.”

6. Thank people

Heidi says “Share your appreciation and people will be inspired to share your story again and feel a part of your team.” Regular sharing also means you’re rarely out of sight, therefore out of mind.

7. Make your Instagram public

Heidi says “Having a public page helps to open up your fundraising to a wider network. It doesn’t matter if people don’t know you because it’s easy to be compassionate when it’s close to your heart. People want to get on board, and it’s contagious.”

8. Start posting early and post regularly

Make the most of the time you’ve got. Heidi’s been posting for 29 weeks, and the Marathon isn’t until April. She’s showcased her whole journey so far, kept everyone up to date and taken her followers on her journey with her. She’s a constant reminder to her followers of why Tommy’s is so important, and why they should donate.

9. Mix it upheidi2

We know Heidi’s journey is not just about running. It’s about support, hard work, emotions, memories, brownies and more! She’s shared stories of raffles, new things she’s learnt about Tommy’s and those very special moments with her family that make it all worth it.

10. Always link back to your fundraising

Seize every opportunity to share a link to your fundraising page and include a link to your fundraising page in social posts or emails. Don’t forget to include it in your profile like Heidi.

If you want to change your URL to make it easier to remember, just sign in and select ‘change address’.

Have you cracked social media to inspire more people to donate? Share how you did it with others @VMGiving or on Facebook


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