Getting started with your fundraising can seem daunting. It did for Raleigh volunteer Louise Hunnisett. But, where there is a will there is a way and once Louise got started she was amazed how quickly she met her target. She shares the lessons she learnt:
Where to start
“As soon as I found out I had been accepted to go on a volunteer placement with Raleigh ICS, my first thought was panic – how was I going to raise £800?! I had never fundraised before, so I had no idea where to start.
“The first thing I did – as ICS suggest – was set up my JustGiving page. I shared the page on Facebook and sent the link to everyone I could think of who was not on Facebook. After spending about 24 hours refreshing the page and hoping the amount would shoot up, I figured the money would not raise itself. I had decided already on the generic fundraisers – hold a few bake sales at work, and do a car boot sale. I printed off a calendar of the next 4 weeks and scheduled when I could hold each event. Doing some research really helped, as I found there is a lot of material out there for fundraising ideas.
“This sent me a bit into overdrive – a coffee morning for my mum’s friends, a BBQ and cocktail night (with themed cocktails!), and an Asian-inspired buffet evening with my friends which involved making curry from scratch – something I had never tried before. I reached my target in just over 2 weeks, and with the JustGiving donations, had raised 150% by my deadline.
“The best event by far was a Bollywood dance session. My placement country is Nepal - the tenuous link is that Nepal is largely bordered by India so the theme was relevant! The reason this was the most successful was that all the proceeds went towards my fundraising – there were no expenses to consider. Luckily, a friend offered a hall in her church to hold the session, and one of my sister’s good friend is a dance teacher and offered to teach the class for free. I promoted the event on Facebook, asking my mum and sister to invite people who would be interested. Going by the Facebook ‘attending’ list, we were expecting around 10-15 people to turn up – a whopping 35 people turned up for the session, donations in hand, and the positive feedback was overwhelming. Many people even asked if the class could become a regular event!"
Lessons I learned through my fundraising:
- Communicate and stay organised! Schedule when you want to hold your events and plan accordingly, especially if you’re tight for time.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get! Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family – most people are more than happy to donate if they know it’s for a good cause.
- Utilise your contacts. Enlist the support of others. Know anyone with a particular skill or amenity you can borrow for a few hours for an event?
- Work with the skills you already have.
- Get creative! Think of things that link back to your placement country and have a themed event based around that country. Charge per person for a meal or dance class.
- Social media is your friend – it is great for promoting events, asking for ideas, and sharing your story.
“Most of all it’s vital to stay motivated and enthusiastic, and don’t be afraid to try different things out of your comfort zone. Have fun with it! People will appreciate the extra effort behind creative ideas. Not everything will work, but you will be surprised and humbled by everyone’s continued support and generosity.”
Louise is so spot on with all of her advice – it goes to show that the more you take on, the easier it is!