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.

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