Fundraising can be a daunting experience (we hear ya!). But, we’re lucky over at ICS HQ because we get to hear stories of inspirational volunteers achieving the one thing they thought they couldn’t and hitting (or often exceeding) their target! We wanted to share another volunteer story with you to give you some hints, tips and inspiration for your fundraising. Fundraising is a challenge, but we know you’re up to it and remember you aren’t alone, you’re part of a community of thousands of volunteers that are challenging themselves to change the world through ICS and this is just the first step on that awesome experience.
ICS volunteer, Lydia, was really excited to volunteer through ICS but was nervous about reaching her target of £1500.
‘£1500 is a lot of money. When I got my target amount and deadlines I had three thoughts:
- I had never done any serious fundraising before
- I don’t like directly asking for money
- I have a very busy life- how am I going to fit it in?’
Lydia didn’t let that stop her though!
‘My first piece of advice is to start straight away! I set up my JustGiving page as soon as I received the ‘How to…’ email. I also posted updates on what I was doing, as well as pictures, on my page to make it more interesting for people to visit it.’
After setting up the JustGiving page, Lydia started contacting her networks and seeing how they might be able to support her ICS Fundraising. First stop was the Rotary Club.
‘As a musician, I was involved in the Rotary Young Musician 2015, and through that met and played at a lot of Rotary events. I told them a bit about what I was doing, and offered to play/ speak about VSO/ICS. A lot of Rotary clubs are very generous to individuals. I think it is important to say thank you in a personalised way. Mine is through music but it would be equally nice to offer to speak about VSO/ICS, maybe to link it to a subject you are passionate about ie History, Geography, Engineering etc.’
Creativity was key for Lydia and using networks provided a great opportunity. Remember team work makes the dream work (cheesy but true).
‘I started brainstorming creative ways I could raise awareness and fundraise money. I started with an online donation shop. My parents teamed up with me to create a list of individualised things/experiences we could offer. These included saxophone lessons with tea and cake, poetry workshops, music performances, handmade harry potter wands, marmalade, homemade bread, personalised limericks, origami animals. The idea being people could choose what they would like and donate what they felt able to. This sort of idea could easily work with dog walking, taxi services, make a personalised playlist etc.’
Lydia didn’t stop there but instead kept up the momentum and continued to build awareness about her fundraising by doing a sponsored challenge.
‘I also did the £5 food challenge, spending £5 on all of the food I ate for 5 days. I linked this to my placement in Nigeria as 63% of the population live on less than $1 a day. My diet consisted of porridge, bananas, spaghetti and baked beans. My life was very busy so I didn’t get round to sorting out specific sponsorship forms. However, by the very nature of the challenge I spoke to lots of different people about what I was doing throughout the week: from orchestra members to teachers to friends to colleagues to students.’
By talking to lots of people Lydia managed to raise loads of awareness and received donations toward her fundraising. She also found that she was offered new opportunities too.
‘Through the challenge, a teacher at my old school got in touch and asked me to do assemblies on my placement with VSO and on world hunger.’
By putting the time in and talking to lots of people you might just open a few unexpected doors.
Lydia also asked a friend to put a charity box on the counter of the florist they work in and still had more ideas including busking, bake sales and bucket collections.
Thanks to Lydia’s planning, creativity and hard work she managed to achieve her target 3 weeks before her 100% fundraising deadline!
Finally, these are Lydia’s four top tips for ICS fundraisers.
1. Have fun and get creative.
2. Be respectful. I always go into a conversation with the objective to raise awareness (rather than money), which I see as just as important.
3. Say thank you. I made some silly videos of me in the snow to say thank you, and where possible I email each donor individually to say thank you.
4. Whatever your target, it does feel like a big hill to climb, so start early!
So there you have it, Lydia started with little to no fundraising experience and achieved her target, and we know you can too! We understand it’s not always easy but your Fundraising Support Officer is always there to help you with ideas so make sure you stay in contact with them and ask them any questions you have.