How on Earth do we fundraise?
Happy Fundraising Friday y'all! It's that time again, you lucky things. This week we've got some creative and classic fundraising, so on with the show!
Heather Hodkinson decided to use her natural artistic talents for her fundraising, before her placement with VSO ICS. She told us “After finishing a degree in Fine Art I wanted to make sure my fundraising could also be a way for me to push myself artistically. I write stories to make audiobooks or sound installations, but I wanted to find a way I could use my art through fundraising. I decided to use one of my stories to make a book.”
“The story I chose was 'How on Earth do we own Land?'. It tells a tale of human greed and how this can make us forget the true value of our surroundings, what we have and what we share. I thought this theme would be appropriate considering our aspirations for a more balanced and equal world through VSO. I illustrated it myself, and taught myself how to use the necessary editing programmes like Adobe InDesign and Illustrator to make a layout that is ready for printing. Once it was ready I sent it off to an online printer and publisher that was very affordable. Each copy, 36 black and white pages, cost me just under £2 and I was planning on selling them for £5 each.”
We asked Heather what she had learned through fundraising, and she said “You just have to go for it! I must say, I was a bit embarrassed about going to different establishments asking them to sell my product for free. But everyone was so excited for me and even if they couldn't take it they still admired the effort. It was like a confidence boost to go to the next place! I also now know I can design a book!
Heather’s advice to current ICS fundraisers was “Don't hold back and don't give up. Don't worry if you don't sell it to the first person, or the second one, or the third one...because you will always find someone that is really interested, and once that person comes along to make you feel confident about what you are doing, everything seems so much easier! Make your fundraising be part of your daily life, your conversations... rather than making it into a chore. I always took about 10 books with me in a rucksack. This way I could pop into anywhere and ask, or if I get talking to someone I could try and sell one. I took some to Green Man Festival in Wales, and amazingly, there was a mobile bookstore looking for poets to perform so I just went for it, took 20 books with me and managed to sell 15! Some people even donated more than the asking price!
Make something you are proud of and comfortable doing. I personally feel so much more comfortable asking people for money when I have something to offer in return. This book is something I feel passionate about, so when I talk to people about it the enthusiasm shines through. Make it personal!”
When we’re talking about stories of volunteers’ successful events and ideas, it’s easy to overlook the fact that fundraising can be a daunting and challenging experience. Whether it’s an event not going quite your way, or you’re just new to the idea of fundraising, it’s really common to have times that challenge you. Kharishma Patel, volunteering with Raleigh International ICS, told us that “Fundraising was difficult at times and there were times where I would feel down.”
Kharishma had at first been “pretty reliant on the idea of bagpacking”, but was disappointed when she was unable to arrange one at any of the supermarkets in Leicester. When you’re set on an idea, it can be hard not to be disheartened when you don’t get the response you anticipated. The key to getting past this, Kharishma said, was realizing that “I needed to set realistic goals and separate my fundraising into manageable chunks. This made it a little less stressful and more fun.”
Instead of relying on one idea, Kharishma decided to carry out a number of different ideas. She ran a half-marathon to encourage sponsorship online, and sold handmade friendship bracelets using social media. Kharishma said that the key to this was being persistent. She said that, “I messaged people individually about bracelets, as they knew hard work was going into each bracelet to fundraise money and they would receive something in return as a bonus.” Kharishma also made sure she tried communicating “with as many people and organisations as possible”, and through this even secured some donations from colleagues of her family.
One final idea was a quiz night and cake sale at a local bar. While Kharishma was nervous at first, in the end “it was a really fun night seeing people come together and support me”, and it also gave her a chance to speak about ICS and her placement. While organizing a larger event like this can be nerve-wracking, ultimately she said, “I enjoyed the interaction with multiple people, engaging and explaining what ICS and the programme involves. It was a great excuse to bring family and friends together.” If you can turn your fundraising into a fun social event as well as a way to get sponsorship, it can help ease the stress of organizing and get your friends and family more involved in your ICS journey.
One of the key things Kharishma learned from her fundraising, was the importance of not being “disheartened by rejection”. This doesn’t mean it will always be easy, and as Kharishma said, “It did put me out of my comfort zone. However it was important to remember the target was daunting but reachable. Through persevering and not giving up I would write down ideas, speak to unfamiliar faces, keep spreading awareness and communicating with as many groups as possible. Although not everything was a success it was important to myself that I at least tried!”
That's it for this week folks. Have a happy fundraising weekend, and remember to give us a call if you need some help!