Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fundraising – the next instalment - Rebecca Strickland

Thanks to those of you who have contacted me since the first post. Your encouragement is a great help.

The quiz night is over and done but if any of you would like the questions/score sheets or leader table for your own quiz night just let me know. Alternatively I will hopefully run another night in May if you want to come along and join in – See, never miss a chance to get people to your event.

The next phase in the fundraising trail was a netball tournament. I am very lucky to be connected to some great people who helped me with organising and promoting this. Remember that your friends will help you if you do the leg work. My housemate manages a local evening league and I am one of her umpires. Instant access to a bunch of people who already enjoy what they are doing so the participants are on the doorstep. I spoke with the venue and talked them in to letting me hire the venue for a cut down rate – thank you Ealing Council (never miss an opportunity to thank those that help you) and we had a tournament. Well in date only at the moment. I entered my team into a charity tournament at the end of last year to get an idea of how it is run and where we could improve to make it a fun day. We didn’t do very well at the tournament but I learnt heaps. I can’t say I didn’t make the same mistakes but at least I was aware that they can happen. My biggest hurdle was the weather. What do I do if it rains? I cannot control this so what do I do? Well, each team entry fee is £100. Spread between 7-8 people is not much for a day out but represents a very good addition to my fundraising. So a £20 non refundable deposit directly to Raleigh will secure their place in the tournament. Teams have been asked to do this onto the JustGiving site and then they can see their donation is going directly to the charity.

I can’t control the weather….

To run each side of the tournament (Ladies and Mixed) I needed at least 6 teams. 12x100 = £1200 not a bad exchange for 10 more grey hairs and a few more wrinkles to my forehead. My outgoings were the cost of the courts (£175), Umpires (5 x £50) and lots of incidentals (hooter, t-shirts for umpires, raffle tickets etc…around £200). My actual outgoings came to £609 – could have been less if I hadn’t left some things to the last minute. I had another raffle, which exactly recouped my court hire costs. I went begging again for prizes and Marks and Spencer were again fantastic with £100 of vouchers. My friend Nic and I walked around the food hall and made 5 decent prizes of booze, biscuits and chocolates with £50 and another £50 of vouchers as the main prize. My boss gave me a half magnum of Moet (although not sure if she knows this yet) and a £15 gift pack from Boots (left over Christmas pressie) made for a pretty good raffle. As long as my boss and/or Aunt didn’t show up on the day all would be well with the prizes.

….. but I can’t control the weather…..

I posted advertisements on GumTree.com and send emails to other umpires and netball organisations with details of the tournament. Enquiries started coming in and now we had a venue, date and players.

….. I still can’t control the weather….

I pretty much ignored my job for about 2 days of every week whilst I was organising the tournament and in the week leading up to it. I should have taken a couple of days off but again I was in luck again and my boss was on holiday.

….. and the weather is still a complete mystery….

So on the Thursday I thought it might be safe to look at the weather. Clear skies and sunny – the gods are smiling at me. Now there was only one thing left to do and that was the draw. How hard can it be? There is a spreadsheet that does it all for you….haha. Three hours and 4 attempts later I had a working draw. All I needed to do now was put some timings around it. In hindsight I should have restricted the numbers and if I was doing it again would do. I had 7 mixed teams and 14 ladies teams. This then meant that each team played 6 games with 2 minute halves. Thank you excel!!!

The day dawned bright and after a few small panics the day went with off quite well. As I said in the last blog, you see the mistakes but most people don’t and if my inbox on Monday was anything to go by, the little cracks didn’t show.

As I said in the first blog, do something you know about and are good at. I’m not the best netball player but I know how to organise something and think about the details. The weather could have let me down badly and I might have not had a day at all, but the risk was worth the benefit and now I have raised the Raleigh amount and also managed to recoup my airfares and my vaccinations. Definitely worth the risk!

The only thing left to do now is to write my thank you letters to my raffle donors and everyone that helped out. Nic, thanks very much for all your support.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maddy Oakes is going to India in October as a venturer. Read about her fundraising efforts so far

Where and when are you going on expedition?I’m going on the India 09 J expedition, 9th October-16th December as a venturer.

Why did you choose Raleigh? I believe Raleigh was the best choice for me because it offered the best combination of activities as its expeditions incorporate both volunteer work and the challenge trek. I also really like the idea that Raleigh works very closely with the host countries to identify what projects would be most beneficial to the local communities. Additionally, I have heard very good feedback from people who have taken part in previous expeditions; dating back to my uncle who participated when it was Operation Raleigh.

What fundraisers are you planning? Initially after finding out I had been accepted onto the expedition I decided to create a facebook group (Maddy’s Expedition); this has proved useful as it has allowed me to explain my adventure and outline my fundraising events to friends and family. This also allowed to involve more people as my friends can then invite their friends to the group and posted events.

My next move was to seek the aid of local businesses. Using the venturer fundraising letter on the Welcome CD supplied by Raleigh as a template I edited it to suit each business; and asked for financial support/sponsorship or the donation of raffle/auction items. In an attempt to entice the businesses I have decided to create a t-shirt that I will wear whilst out on expedition which will denote the logos of the companies that have sponsored me. Although this endeavor wasn’t extremely fruitful it was worth the effort as some responded with generous donations (I also included my justgiving link in the letter and some chose to donate using this method). Whilst writing to local businesses I also researched online trusts/grants who can offer financial support – it may be worth looking into your local council as they should have a YouthBank (http://www.youthbank.org.uk/) which is an innovative grant making initiative run by young people for young people.

On May the 31st I will be donning the lycra and cycling from Manchester to Liverpool. This event is hosted by Bike Events (http://www.bike-events.com/); I chose to do this because I would be cycling alone and their full support services mean I don't have to worry because they provide signed and marshalled routes, mechanics, pick-up vehicles and First Aid teams. And there’s often music, massage and a welcoming beer tent at the Finish! However, Bike Events cycles are sometimes for specific charities and so I contacted them to ask if I could split the money I raised between Raleigh and MAG (the host charity). Then I decided to create a justgiving page (http://www.justgiving.com/madsoakes) which is great as any money donated online through this page is deducted automatically from my minimum fundraising target set by Raleigh. Also, if your donations come from a tax payer gift aid can be supplemented, making their donation of a greater sum!

My first major fundraising event will be a black tie event on May 16th at Leyland Golf Club and is a Casino Evening. The evening will consist of a three course meal followed by approximately three hours of gambling with funny money; there will also be stand-up bingo, a silent auction, raffle and so on. I also intend to create a short slideshow to play after the meal which will illustrate Raleigh’s work in a hope to provide people with a greater insight and a greater urge to dig into their pockets. I have promoted this event through the facebook group, putting little flyers in my parent’s Easter cards to family and friends and by putting posters up my local town. (Please find attached a pdf of the poster). Although it may take time and energy to organise this type of event, not only does it promote Raleigh’s work, raise funds for your expedition, it should also be a good night out for you and your friends.

As well as local businesses I have used/abused the local media; after sending out letters/emails to local newspapers and radio stations (sometimes radio stations can offer merchandise as raffle prizes) they are promoting my fundraising endeavors which is great to get more people aware of the events.

Although these big events are great don’t knock the old school raffle, quizzes and cake sales. Recently I held an Easter raffle at my local Church and raised ₤150 from approximately 3 hours work. All it required was around 10 prizes such as Easter eggs, bottles of wine and so forth. Perhaps, prior to your raffle warn people (i.e. put a notice in the newsletter/on the notice board) so that they can bring a bit more spare change in their pocket. Wap on your Raleigh t-shirt (always makes you look more professional), create some posters to outline where the proceeds are going and include the Raleigh logo and the registered charity number (people are much more willing to support a cause when a charity is mentioned), have the prizes on display (to tempt people) and let them know when it’s going to be drawn. (do you want a picture of this event?)

Any advice? Although fundraising can be a daunting experience, don’t be afraid to ask (but don’t be cheeky) – as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained. But do be prepared not to gain and don’t let it get you down too much, just think of your next move.