Every year 50,000 runners take on the London Marathon. Many do the run for charity, but with fundraising targets for the marathon as high as £5000, reaching your fundraising goals can seem tougher than getting a marathon PB.
Josh Barnes has raised more than £20,000 for cancer charities over the past five years, he told us ‘Runners need to approach their fundraising target like they do their marathon training, putting together a plan and slowly working towards their goal.’
While fundraising goals can seem daunting, even thousands of pounds can be quickly raised if you approach it in the right way. We asked the Running Unlimited community for their advice:
1. ‘Asking for sponsorship is not enough unless you have a very emotional story’ said Ana Rogers, ‘try organising a coffee morning, a quiz or ask family and friends for things you can sell at a car boot sale, you’ll reach your target faster, with less nagging and more fun.’
2. ‘Use social media’ said Tim Jones. Websites like Facebook and Twitter can make it easy to spread the word about your fundraising. This can be especially effective when used with JustGiving to gather donations online.
3. Don’t forget LinkedIn. This business network can tell those who know you through work about your fundraising and can bring in some surprise donations. ‘I mentioned the London Marathon on LinkedIn and a the owner of a business which I had worked with donated £200. Asking your professional networks can bring in much more money than friends and family’.
4. ‘Know about the charity your running for and where the money goes’ Sadie posted on our Facebook page. This gives you more knowledge to share facts about their work and the problem’s which they are trying to solve.
5. ‘Ask your boss’ said Ben Green ‘Many companies will also match the fundraising efforts of their employees, and make a charitable donation.’
6. ‘Tell people about your training’ said Sarah Black. Training for the race will take a lot of time and effort, so tell people about your hard work and remind them that your running for charity.
7. ‘Paper sponsorship forms are still important’ said Tim Jones. A paper sponsorship form can still be incredibly useful, especially for getting support from people who you work with.
8. ‘Make it a family effort’ said Emma Lawler, ‘When I ran the London Marathon for Cancer Research UK my whole family got behind me. My sister sold brownies at her workplace and my husband collected money in a bucket at a school sports day’.
9. ‘Start with those who will be most generous’ said Suzanne McGregor. People are likely to be influenced as to how much to sponsor by those who have already pledged support.
10. ‘Get started early’ said Gretchen Buurmann. Lots of people will be asking for sponsorship and you stand a greater chance of hitting your fundraising target for the London Marathon if you start asking people as early as possible.
11. ‘Get in late’ said Al Lasiter. While you shouldn’t leave your fundraising until the last minute, JustGiving say that 20% of donations via their website are made after events have taken place. So take the opportunity to post a picture of yourself doing the race on Facebook with a link to your fundraising page.
12. ‘Get in the local paper’ said Bruce Roberts. ‘I got mentioned in the local newspaper when I did the London Marathon and this led to a local business offering to sponsor me’. Your work may have a newsletter that could mentioned your achievement.
13. ‘Make it a lottery’ said Steve James. ‘I asked everyone I knew to pay £10 to guess my race time, offering a prize to the person who guessed closest. This made it much easier to hit my fundraising target for the London Marathon’.
14. ‘Set up a tuck shop’ said Kate Dale. ‘I set up a tuck shop at work for the nine months before I ran the London Marathon, charging £1 for chocolate bars which I’d bought for 50p. Most people in my office made use of the tuck shop and over the months this contributed hundreds of pounds towards my fundraising target for the marathon’.
15. ‘If you’re planning to do the London Marathon in fancy dress, let the person who donates the most choose your outfit. This give people an incentive to donate more’.
Runners raise millions for good causes every year by completing the London Marathon. While the fundraising targets may seem daunting, it is a real achievement to raise thousands for charity and something that you can be proud of doing for years to come.
Josh Barnes said ‘The fundraising goal can seem like an added burden, but knowing that friends and family have put their hands in their pockets to help you to accomplish your fundraising goals can give you the extra push that you need when it’s a cold, dark morning and you need to get out of bed for a training run’.
As with training to run the marathon itself, start early, practice often and try and enjoy it.