In a challenge like the Manchester to London ride, the training isn’t the only hard part of the preparation. Fundraising takes time, and effort, but – just like training – should not be left to the last minute, if you are to do it well.
With this in mind, Ambitious about Autism have asked some of their top fundraisers over the past few years to share their top tips for collecting money to support the charity.
David & Gayle S
Bordeaux to Paris participant and support team
Keep your friends and supporters updated via email and Facebook with training progress and some random stats. Things like how many calories the challenge will use up, how many training hours have been completed, etc. I also update the fundraising page with new photos and details of how my training is going to keep it interesting.
I try to think of unusual ways to raise funds. One of the most successful fundraisers was when I asked staff at my work to buy a raffle ticket for £10.00, and the prize was one day’s holiday while I had to work the role of whoever won. I spent the day cleaning toilets!
Try to make it as personal if possible. People love to know why a particular charity is close to your heart. If you can explain why the charity needs the funds it really helps with donations.
Manchester to London participant
Be clear on why someone should support this charity. What it means to you, what sets it apart from other fundraising that’s going on, how much of a difference it makes, etc.
Make the distance (or climbing) of the M2L ride a multiple of your longest ride so far. ‘It’s 3, 4, 5 times as far as I’ve ever ridden’, for instance. And yes, it’s all in one day.
Stuart & Rowan A
Manchester to London rider & Great Manchester Cycle Route Challenge
Try and reach out to your community as well as friends. Approach a local gym, cafe etc and set up a turbo trainer and ride for a few hours with a bucket and a sign. People at the gym will respect the huge challenge and people in a cafe will feel guilty that they watched you ride whilst they ate cake!
Offer to service your neighbours’ bikes for them, via leaflets explaining the charity goal.
London Marathon runner
Start your appeal early. You will get some sponsors who will get the fundraising ball rolling.
Be persistent. Through the use of social media, I managed to remind people of what I was doing, why I was doing it and attach a link to my sponsorship page. I updated my status more frequently in the last month or so before the marathon and generated lots of additional sponsorship.
Think big, think global. Ask for support from friends and family abroad, target friends or acquaintances with corporate connections if you have them as their businesses may have a CSR policy and actively donate to charities like Ambitious. Post links on any forums you are on, especially Autism forums, and try local retailers who may be willing to help.
London Marathon Runner
Pack bags at a local supermarket. Instead of asking friends and family to sponsor you could ask them to donate their time and help bag pack/collect with you. The more people the more you’ll raise, and it’s a really good way of raising a lot of money in a short period of time. Both times we’ve done it we’ve raised over £400 in about 3 hours.
Send out your fundraising appeal reminders around pay day!
Keep people updated with your training. Every time I did a long run – 16,18,20 miles, etc – I’d make sure people knew about it. I discovered that people are more likely to donate when they see how much of an effort you’re putting in!
Manchester to London participant
Cake sale at work / local cycling time trial. I asked a few colleagues from my office to make a cake and help out selling them on the day at work. I then made a smaller selection of the best selling cakes and provided them as post-racing treats for donations too.
Coffee morning with my parent’s friends. This also involved cake, but also brought a lot of people together to talk about the challenge and the charity, leading to slightly larger donations!
If you need any help with fundraising, contact Jay Hunt at Ambitious about Autism. Don’t feel shy, he is there to help. (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0208 815 5131)