When I first got accepted to go on a placement to Uganda, it was about 9 months before departure. I thought to myself, 9 months that is plenty of time surely to fundraise my total. I mean people develop a whole baby in this time don’t they so I can raise this money. Well, I have to say its a lot harder than it looks! Here I am, day one sitting in a lecture with friends searching every fundraising possibility, asking for ideas and compiling a list of the millions of things I could do from skydiving, to bake sales, to car washes (they look cute on the movies right?). I sat there with a considerably long list, separated it into difficulty and preparation feeling very organised and optimistic. A few weeks go by, a few essays later and I pull out my fundraising list. Where to start? I relook at my list and realise that 1) My fitness right now is terrible and running a marathon is probably out of the equation since I can barely run for the ice cream van without getting a stitch. 2) Skydiving and adrenaline-fueled ideas are great in theory but in reality, they are somewhat expensive, and I probably do not have the time or the confidence to actually do something like that. 3) The weather in the UK, particularly the North is unpredictable and doing a carwash will be cold and some days not viable. Okay, so now my list has gotten shorter.
How did I choose my fundraising activities? Everyone kept joking about me shaving all my hair off or cutting it really short and at first I just laughed it off until my oldest sister recommended it. Her justification was I have this really long hair in which I adore and cutting my hair off would be a massive thing to me. Some people have fears of height, some people like to stick in their own comfort zone and me, I relied on my long hair. So I just said okay, let’s do it! I gave myself 6 weeks to fundraise for it and booked in the date at KW Hairdresser in Bolton and decided that the hair I will be having cut off will be donated to the Little Princess Trust. I turned out this was the easiest of my fundraising, all I had to do was keep sharing it around on social media (which I would advise everyone to use for promotion of their fundraising and trip), add the link to my JustGiving page and then turn up on the day. Then it was just left up to my friends and family to choose whether to donate and share my page. On the day I live streamed the cut and got a lot of recognition and promotion of all the charities I was supporting. One good idea also to have a sponsorship form that yourself, friends and family can take to their workplace with an explanatory letter to get sponsorship for something like this. (Shout out to my momma who smashed it at her work)
In the meantime, however, I needed to do something else to keep the momentum going. First I devised a universal template to send to businesses explaining about my fundraising and work I will be doing out in Uganda on behalf of VMM International and the RCRA. In this letter, I to how it will help the business by offering promotion and then asked for either a voucher or prize I could use for a raffle or a small donation. I sent hundreds of these emails to businesses across Bolton, Blackpool, and Chester and unfortunately only received a few responses. This, however, did pay off as I received a restaurant voucher from the Retreat in Bolton, a cupcake voucher from Cupcake Castle in Blackpool, a donation from a church and the tips from the kind workers of the Bridge Cafe. So I would say it is worth drafting and sending a letter because you do catch some willing businesses.
I soon realised that I needed to be persistent and keep trying different small things to raise some funds. The reality is there are many willing people to donate but also when fundraising you have to acknowledge that many people have their own bills to pay, budgets to stick to and often are themselves waiting for payday to come around. Keeping this in mind, I’d suggest not asking people for lots of donations or participation at once but spread out your events.
Keep up with these blogs as I will go into detail on the following blogs about the rest of my specific events.