Welcome to the Uganda Marathon Runners’ Blog! Our series of blogs dedicated to our participants preparing to take part in this year’s event. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share suggestions to help in your preparations for the 7-Day adventure, from training tips to fundraising and travel advice.
Written by a former participant, these blogs are all about supporting our group of 2019 runners – please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or topic suggestions – we’d love to hear from you!
The 2019 edition of the Uganda Marathon aims to fundraise more for our partnered Charity Projects than ever before, and leave an even bigger impact in Masaka!
And the key to that… YOU! Our incredible bunch of 2019 International Runners.
Many of you have already started fundraising which is amazing! But if you haven’t yet, with now just under 100 days to go until Race Day, what better time to start?
Whether you’ve already begun and you’re looking for some more ideas to mix things up, or you’re yet to set up your online fundraising page, here are 9 tips to get your fundraising off to a great start…
1. Getting started – chose your cause!
As with anything, the hardest part can often just be getting started. But once you do, it won’t be long before those donations start rolling in!
The first step in your fundraising is a simple one – from our selection of projects, choose the top three which resonate the most with you. Think about the causes which align with your passions, as this will give you added motivation in fundraising, training and on Race Day in Uganda.
You can read up on the different projects on the 2019 Charity Projects page here. Once you’ve chosen, email your choices to Eric and Lizzie. From my experience in 2015, projects get picked over quickly, so get your choices to us as soon as you can, as it’s a first come, first served basis.
2. Set up your fundraising page
Once the team replies and confirms your priority project(s), the next step is to set up your fundraising page on the following platform:
When deciding which region to set up your fundraising page for, try to think where most of your sponsors will be based!. Eg. If most of your sponsors will prefer to donate in GBP, it’s best to use Virgin Money Giving.
To make your page as appealing and engaging as possible:
- Be short and concise in your descriptions
- Personalize your page and tell your story (what you’re doing and why) as donors tend to sponsor people over causes
- Make it visually engaging – use photos and images!
- Set a fundraising target – there is no set target for our runners, but we recommend setting yourself one for an amount you consider realistic and putting it on your page – research shows a target on your page encourages bigger donations as people want to help you meet it!
For a more step-by-step guide on setting up your page and further resources, see page 36 & 37 in the Runner’s Handbook.
3. Get your biggest sponsors to donate first!
Often this will mean family and close friends, but whoever you feel are likely to be the most generous, ask them first. Research suggests, by starting off with bigger donations, subsequent donors will follow the trend and sponsor you that bit more, which will really add up and make a difference to your fundraising over the long-term!
4. Spread the word and get family/friends to help…
Once you’ve got those initial donations in, the next step is to tell as many people as possible about your Ugandan challenge. The wider you’re able to spread your net, the more donations you’ll tend to get. Tell your different peer groups: work colleges, friends down the local, people at sports and community clubs, extended family, old school/uni friends, past work colleagues…as many people/groups as you can think of.
Also, get those close to you to help spread the word of what you’re doing- they’ll reach people you might not know, who will still be inspired by your epic challenge and want to help.
5. Social Media is brilliant for fundraising!
Be sure to use social media in your fundraising campaign, and take advantage of those large online networks you already have, whether they’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, or even YouTube or blogging platforms! They provide a quick and easy way to take people to your page, so they can donate in minutes.
Each social media platform is slightly different, but as a rule:
- Post regularly
- Tell people what you’re doing and why, and promote your passion for your cause/project through your posts
- Show off your hard work through your posts- both of training and fundraising. People will want to reward your efforts. For example, have you just run 10 miles in training…let your supporters know!
- Use images which are eye-catching and appealing
- Always include the direct link to your fundraising page in your post, so people can donate quickly and easily
6. Think outside the box
Telling as many people as possible about what you’re doing is certainly the right way to go about fundraising, but if you want to fundraise even more, get creative with your strategies!
For example, at work have a donations bucket on your desk or send a company-wide email containing the link to your page (be sure to ask your boss first though!).
Or come up with ways where people receive something for their donation to encourage them to donate that little bit more – think car washes, cake sales, pub quizzes, work dress up days, raffles, car boot sales and more. In 2015 when I fundraised for the UGM, a few of these strategies boosted my fundraising by 30%!
Get your close friends and family to help you with these ideas though, as whilst fundraising is fun, it can also be hard work too. They’ll be pleased to help you in your challenge!
7. Work & Corporate Sponsorship
Your company may be in a position to offer corporate sponsorship – it’s definitely worth asking the questions. Chances are, they’ll help in some way and sometimes they’ll even match you fundraising amount and contribute the same. That’s right, support from work could mean doubling your fundraising overnight!
8. Gift Aid
Encourage everyone who can (in the UK), to tick the box for Gift Aid. At no extra cost to your donors, this will boost their donation by 25%, meaning you’ll be helping to change even more lives in Uganda without any extra effort!
9. Don’t be shy – you’re doing something incredible!
Don’t be shy about letting people know about your challenge in Uganda. What you’re doing is amazing and they will want to sponsor you. From my experience in 2015, first they might think you’re a bit mad, but once they get over that, they’ll be inspired by what you’re doing and will want to contribute! 🙂 The Uganda Marathon is a special and unique challenge, so shout about it.
Furthermore, the main reason people give to charity is because they’re asked. Often it’s just a case of asking the question. Be confident in what you’re doing and ask people. And the reason why people don’t give – it’s simply because they forget or never ‘get around to it’. It’s essential to be (politely) persistent and keep asking. Likewise, keep a constant fundraising presence online. People won’t see every post, and the more often you post, the more likely you’ll catch someone at a time when they can donate.
A final word…
Overall, my advice with fundraising is: start early and you’ll raise more, get those big donations in first, spread the word, get others to help, be persistent, be creative and don’t give up! After all, everything you raise will go a long way to making a BIG difference in Uganda!
Until the next blog… Good luck! 🙂
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