Posts Tagged 'fundraising tips'

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

Heidi takes on fundraising with Instagram


“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

Bring your fundraising to work


At Virgin Money Giving we totally get that pestering your work mates and, even worse, your boss for cash is really hard. But to reach your target it takes more than just hassling everyone around payday – don’t just leave your fundraising at home, bring it to work with you.

To help get you started – check out our fundraising toolkit.

Spread The Word

Instead of just emailing round your colleagues, see if you can raise awareness 24/7. Get a mention on your work community boards, newsletters or intranet as well as including your event on your email signature – that way you’re reminding everybody about your event without opening your mouth. Or why not leave a few carefully placed posters? There are tonnes of ways to spread the word, you just need to get people to notice.

Grab Their Attention

Let your workmates know exactly why this cause really matters to you. The more they can understand why the charity is so important, the more likely they are to donate to your page. Make it memorable by showing photos which illustrate your challenge and the importance of your charity.  Above all, make it personal, and let people in.

Show Where It Goes

Your colleagues are more likely to invest if you can demonstrate exactly how much they are helping. Let them know what they’re ‘buying’ – £7 could buy 100 test tubes in a Tommy’s laboratory and help a scientist trying to find out why some mums go into labour early. Find out what the money can do for your charity. Think about making it relative when you ask – your supporters could give up their Saturday night takeaway, and instead buy test tubes for Tommy’s.

Add the extra details

Think about adding detail to your own fundraising quest. See if you can engage your workmates and get them talking. Could you hold an office auction where people bid for the right to choose what you wear for your event? Or give people the chance to pick what colour you dye your hair for your race day? Make the most of your fundraising page and experiment. You could get people to vote what you do by donating £2 extra to your page, and leaving a comment with their choice.

Get More From Your Workplace

See if your workplace does matched giving, where they match your donations up to a certain amount, or payroll giving, where you can donate directly from your salary on a tax free basis. Any way that they can boost your fundraising total is a plus. You could even see if you have volunteering days – that way you can find out more about your charity and raise awareness for them, even getting your workmates to join you. And while you’re at it, why not present your charity as a potential Charity of the Year?

Get People Involved

Get your workmates involved. If you’ve got a carpark, rent places for donations or offer sponsored car washes. If you’ve got foodies in the office, do a coffee morning or a cake decorating time trial. Or – if you want something quick and easy – organise an office lottery, and split the donations/prize money as you like.

Party for charity this Halloween


The spooks and ghouls are coming! With Halloween just round the corner there’s no reason why you can’t add some trick or treat to your fundraising. Get together with all your mates this Halloween and do some good for charity. Here’s how:

Something tasty

Try your hand at making your own ghoulish pizzas. Challenge people to make ghosts out of mozzarella, Dracula out of tomato, or a zombie out of ham. Get competitive to get fundraising. Set up a Virgin Money Giving page and get your mates to enter the competition by donating to your page, and cast votes on who wins in both a taste and scare test.

For those with sweet tooths, have a go at spooktacular baking. You don’t even have to bake the whole thing, you could just do the decorating if you’re tight for time. Have a go at cake pops – you could make ghosts with white chocolate, or pumpkins with orange fondant, or maybe even Frankenstein’s monster with some bright green icing. Get donating, then get decorating.

Or if you fancy, see if you can make a Bloody Mary cocktail (non alcoholic for the under 18s), and see who can hold their nerve and drink the tomato & Worcester sauce down. Forfeit donations to whoever can’t keep a straight face, or drink the whole glass.

Tasty, ghoulish and a whole lot of good for charity.

Something fun

After the food’s done, introduce some games to keep the scares (and donations) coming.

Get a few ghoulish prizes – some sweets or a good old horror DVD – and host a raffle. You could get a cauldron prop to keep the tickets in, or up the ante and have a trick or treat tombola. See if your mates dare to delve their hands into the cauldron – some tickets are treat, some are trick! Instead of collecting cash, get people to make donations to your Virgin Money Giving page.

Or if you fancy yourselves as a movie buff, see if you can create a “Guess The Monster” quiz from your favourite horror films! Whoever wins gets to pick the horror film for the evening. Elements could include guess the character, guess the actor, or even guess their kill count!

For the gamers out there, find a horror game and see how long you can play before dying – every death is a forfeit donation to your page, and a change of player. You could ramp up the competition further by doing a scoreboard of who lasts the longest, who has the most wins, or who was the hardest to scare when the monsters ran on screen.

Whatever you do this Halloween, see if you can be good for your charity, even if it means something slightly bad for you!

Know what you’re aiming for with a fundraising target

It’s always good to know what you’re aiming for. Knowing how far off your goal you are can helFundraising targetp give you that extra push, whether it’s how far to the finish line at a marathon, the number of days to go before a big event or how much more you need to raise to hit your fundraising target.

With some challenges, you’ll be given a fundraising target to aim for. However studies show that even if you aren’t given a target, coming up with one yourself can really give your fundraising a boost!

Setting a target on your fundraising page lets your supporters know what you’re aiming for, and it may even influence how much they donate. If you set a higher target, and explain your reasons for this target on your page, your supporters may be motivated to donate a little more.

Why not get the ball rolling by putting the first donation on yourself? It gets you that one step closer to your fundraising target, but also shows your supporter how much you believe in your cause.

You’ll easily be able to see how you’re doing against your target, as you’ll see the Virgin Money Giving thermometer rise on your page, like the one to the right.

You can update the target on your page at any time, just sign into your account and edit your page, by following these steps:

  1. Sign into your Virgin Money Giving account and go to ‘update my page’. (If you have more than one fundraising page, click on the one you’d like to update.)
  2. Choose the ‘amend fundraising page’ link.
  3. You can now update any of the content on your page. On the ‘running total’ panel on the right, you can update your fundraising target as well as the amount you have raised offline.
  4. Once you’re done, click ‘save’, and your page will be updated.

If you take Virgin Money London Marathon runners as an example, more and more of them are setting fundraising targets [see below] and in 2015, runners who set targets fundraising through Virgin Money Giving raised on average £500 more than those who didn’t!

Setting a target over the years

Remember to push yourself when you set your target – you’ll be surprised how much you can raise when you know what you’re aiming for.

Trick or Donation?

Blog image

The clocks have gone back, Winter is here, that can only mean one thing…it’s Halloween soon! What a great excuse to give your fundraising a bit of a boost. No tricks just fundraising tips just for you:

  1. Hold a gruesome cake sale – as Halloween falls on a Friday everyone in the office will love a cake to celebrate the last day of the week.  Why not make some simple cupcakes and decorate them to look like pumpkins or spider webs?
  2. Dress up in your spooky gear at work and see if your office will agree to take part in a freakish Friday dress-down, or maybe fancy dress. Charge everyone a small donation for taking part, and a bigger donation ‘fine’ for just wearing their usual work gear.
  3. Run in costume if  you reach a level of donations. Agree to tackle an event like Parkrun dressed in your Halloween fancy dress.
  4. Trick or donation why not spread the word on Social Media on the day of Halloween to your friends and family, it’s Friday, Halloween and payday all rolled into one!
  5. Hold a Halloween film night with a selection of ‘scary movies’ and spooky film snacks (we’re thinking green popcorn, Halloween cup cakes and trick or treat sweets). Ask for a donation to your page from your guests and then hide behind a cushion with the lights out when the film starts.

If you have any tips to tell us about or photos of you celebrating Halloween, share them here or

Well done Virgin London Marathon runners!

Virgin London Marathon Finisher Medals

A huge well done to everyone who took part in the 2013 Virgin London Marathon! If you’ve woken up this morning and you’re still wearing your finisher medal it’s totally acceptable – you should be keeping it on for at least a week.

Now you’ve completed the run here’s 4 things you can do this week to boost your fundraising total

  1. Update your fundraising page with a photo from Sunday. The official Marathon Photo images will be available shortly, or if you had a friend take a photo at the start or the finish it will help show everyone you did it.

  2. Change the information on your page, let your supporters know how the run went, what time you did and how you feels to have run it.
  3. Send a quick email around to everyone you now – including people who’ve already donated. Let them know how much you’ve raised so far, what time you did, and how it went, and don’t forget to include a link to your page. You might get some repeat donations.
  4. You can download a finisher certificate with your time from the Virgin London Marathon, just put your details in here, you’ll find it just below your  marathon timings. It’s super useful to let everyone know you’ve finished.

We’d love to hear how it went for you, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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