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.