So, you’ve decided to undertake a gruelling long-distance event in 2016. You may well have started to train already, but it’s important to pay just as much attention to your fundraising campaign in order to give the best help possible to your cause and supporters.
Gemma Simpson is an events and marketing manager at Triathlon Scotland. She ran the New York Marathon in 2009 with her husband, and recommends choosing a slightly harder event to take part in than you would normally enter in order to generate interest and support from family and friends.
She said: “When I got married, instead of asking for things from a gift list, I asked people to donate to Cancer Research and the Look Good Feel Better charity.
“My husband was fine with the idea, as it gave us good memories of the marathon and encouraged me to finish it. It took me around six hours to do so, but then I’m no marathon-runner!”
As well as choosing an appropriate event, it’s important to manage an online donations page which will keep supporters updated on your progress throughout your training and fundraising period. With so many to choose from, Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving are just two of the most popular fundraising websites on the web.
Antonia Ward, Partnership Director of GSi Events Edinburgh, stresses the importance of social media and digital fundraising before events such as the Edinburgh Marathon Festival - which GSi organises each year.
GSi claims that fundraisers using the popular charity website JustGiving, which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of its market, should set a target for all followers to see. In doing so, they can raise up to 46 per cent more money for their cause.
Even small changes to your digital page can make a difference - the simple act of updating followers on your training progress is likely to result in an additional 6 per cent of donations per update, while fundraisers with profile pictures on their donations page can raise a further 15 per cent.
Sharing the link to your page on social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is also a free and straightforward way of spreading the word and asking for support. If you have enabled stronger security measures, consider making your link to your donation page public so that it can be spread outside of your immediate friend group, if you wish.
In the early days of sponsorship, it’s important to bag a few early donations from family and friends to make sure you don’t have a blank page or sponsor sheet.
Elizabeth Kessick, Head of Insight at JustGiving said: “Make it dead easy: create a JustTextGiving code so you can take SMS donations on the fly, and don’t forget to take your code with you everyplace – from the gym to the office to the pub.
“Let people know that their donations will make a difference to a worthy cause, and that their support helps inspire you on those endless dark training runs.”