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.

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