This article is contributed by Allen Peters.
For a long time I had wanted to run the London Marathon. It seemed like a great challenge, a great thing to say that I’d accomplished and a fun and historic event to be a part of.
The only flaw in my plan was the fact that it was so difficult to actually get a place. So many apply to run the Marathon each year, that most people would apply multiple times and still not get accepted. If you apply and get refused four times in a row then you get a place automatically, but that’s assuming that you haven’t given up on the idea after the second attempt… as I did.
But then last year my girlfriend started working for the charity ‘Arthritis Care’ and was tasked with getting people to run the marathon for them. The day before they closed to applications she was still missing one candidate so she rang me up on the train (I was visiting home) and asked if I would help her out by doing it. And because I was in a reckless mood I said yes… three months before I had to run. Three months to prepare myself physically and to raise £1,700… Good idea!
The Trials of Raising Money in a Short Space of Time
The surprise I found was that raising the money was actually more difficult and more stressful in many ways than doing the training. Training wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong, but asking people for money so that you can do something you enjoy – and getting people to actually pay even after they had agreed – was very difficult.
Fortunately the web was my ally and I found that using the Internet made the whole thing a lot more achievable. It’s safe to say in fact that I could probably never have done it if I wasn’t connected.
To help others in my situation, here are some of the best tools I found for raising money online and how I got them to work for me. Follow this advice and you may just be able to pull off the impossible too…
While many people will turn to Facebook as their first port of call, I would highly recommend using e-mail as your starting point instead and writing personalised e-mails to the people that you know well. Most of us have a few people in our lives who we know well enough to ask, and who we can almost guarantee will be eager to help. Writing to these people personally will increase your chances of getting a response and will make it more difficult for them to forget. The problem with Facebook is that it creates much less social pressure to respond quickly – which means many people end up putting it off and inadvertently forgetting even when they have the best of intentions.
Facebook still has its uses however – specifically for reaching the people you don’t know as well in your extended network. You’ll find that it’s often surprising which people are willing to donate the most – someone I hadn’t spoken to for years for instance ended up giving me £60 and spreading the word to his friends too. So don’t be afraid to contact even the people you haven’t spoken to for a long time as they might just prove to be your most valuable connections.
Forums and Online Communities:
If you are active on a forum or an online community, then you will often find that the people on there become almost like friends too. Whether you post regularly to Reddit or you talk a lot on the Bodybuilding forum, there’s always a good chance that something you do for charity will get spread virally and help you to get noticed even if they don’t all give money themselves. The power of community is always at its best on the web.
Because I already ran a blog I was fortunate to have an existing platform to reach hundreds of people in a single post. This proved to be one of my best promotions of all and helped me to get a lot of support through PayPal. If you don’t already have a blog though, then why not start one up about what you’re doing – people will enjoy reading about your trials and if they see how hard you’re working they’ll be more likely to support you.
Everyday Hero and Just Giving are two examples of sites that are designed specifically to help you to raise money. They provide secure transactions to make sure that your supporters can give in confidence, and allow you to track all manner of statistics and to see how far you are from your goal.
Use the web, use every available resource and channel and don’t be afraid to do some serious self-promotion. You can always apologise later…
Author Bio: Allen Peters works for Fundraising for a Cause, an organization known for distributing cancer awareness ribbons. Allen volunteers at the local homeless shelter on weekends.
- marathon image courtesy of source: http://pixabay.com/en/marathon-runners-long-distance-80120/
- email image courtesy of source: http://pixabay.com/en/email-marketing-server-sending-156765/
- facebook image courtesy of MoneyBlogNewz
- online communities image courtesy of LoopZilla
- blogging image courtesy of cambodia4kidsorg
- networking image courtesy of cambodia4kidsorg