5 Steps to Prepare for your Next Fundraising Challenge

December 13th 2018 | Callie Sierra

Winter is a great time to prepare for your next fundraising challenge, especially a charitable run or ride. One component is the actual training. If you start now, you’ll have time to develop a robust training plan to get you in tip-top shape for an event later this winter or in the spring.

The other component is fundraising. The earlier you begin to seek donations, the more money you can raise for your charity. Whether you’re a first-time participant or a seasoned professional, we share a few tips to help you get ready, physically and financially, for your best challenge yet.

1. Choose a Charity that’s Close to You

When you select a charity that has a personal meaning, you’ll be more motivated to meet your fundraising goals. Think about what matters to you, your family or your business. This could be a particular health issue and research focus or a more general cause, like reducing global plastic pollution. Start with charities you know – browse their websites and seek out fundraising opportunities that sound interesting and challenging. Or, look through sites like timeoutdoors that offer a wealth of opportunities just waiting to be discovered!  

2. Set up a Fundraising Page

Now that you’ve selected your challenge or cause, it’s time to start raising money! Set up a fundraising page where you can gather donations and do so as soon as possible to maximise contributions over time. Use the page to remind people why you’re raising money for this particular cause and make it easy for them to donate. Here’s a few suggestions on platforms, though there are many others. (In fact, we’d love to hear from you on what channels you found to be the most effective for driving donations.)

  • Social media fundraisers: Social media is a great channel to raise funds as you can connect with your own established network and posts can easily be magnified by others. Facebook, for example, provides several tutorials on how to set up a Facebook fundraising page, but be sure to check if the donation and fundraising features are available in your area.

  • Established fundraising portals: Many organisations will provide a “charity pack” of sorts with everything you need to raise funds. This could include merchandise and posters or access to online portals where you can create a donation page to share with others. For example, veterinary charity PDSA organises a skydiving fundraiser in multiple locations. Participants that raise a minimum amount of sponsorship money get to jump for free! To help, PDSA sends participants useful resources like sponsor forms, t-shirts and posters, in addition to general support.

  • Other online portals: There are many options for free or low-cost online fundraising platforms, including Just Giving, Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Virgin Money Giving. To get exposure, plan to share your fundraising page with friends and colleagues via email, social media and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

3. Start Training

Now that you’ve set up a platform or plan to raise money, it’s time to get physical! Do you already have a training plan? If not, put together a schedule. Many charities offer tips or even full training plans to prepare for a race or ride. Cancer Research UK for example, offers a robust six-week training plan to prepare for its 10K Race for Life.

Does group training interest you? You’re not alone, which is why there are so many clubs for people of all levels. Joining a running or cycling club might motivate you to push yourself further, and you just might make some new friends along the way! If you’re on the fence, here’s a few additional benefits of joining a training club.

4. Get your Gear

One mantra that we like to follow at the Charity Clothing Company is look good, feel good, train good. This is especially true with your clothing choices if you’ll be training in inclement weather for a winter or spring event. Layers are key! First, focus on your base layer. Base layers are close-fitting garments designed to wick sweat and moisture away from your body. Look for synthetic fabric like breathable polyester, in a range of items including tank tops, tees, long-sleeve tops and leggings. 

Safety is another consideration, especially for winter training when the light is not on our side. For top layers, look for clothing items with reflective details, like this waterproof and windproof High-Viz jacket, which is ideal for laying over base layers or jerseys. The reflective details will help keep you safe and visible. The jacket is quick-dry, unisex and made for all of your fundraising challenges, be they short or multi-day.

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If you’re all set on clothing, consider an event kit with fun and motivational customised items like medals, wristbands, badges and water bottles. All will make great souvenirs for you and your training club teammates.

5. Say Thank You

Did you exceed your fundraising goal? Did you set a personal best time in your race? Did you have fun? Are you ready to do it all over again?! Once you’ve completed your event, take a moment to thank all of your donors and sponsors, who were a critical yet behind-the-scenes partner in your success. A great way to say thank you is via social media. Tag everyone that supported you and post an update on the amount of money you raised alongside some photos from the challenge day. Your supporters will likely welcome the public recognition of their support.

You could also take it up a notch and send a note of thanks to your biggest donors. Customised button badges and keyrings are low in cost to produce and can easily be sent in the mail inside a thank you card. This is a great and memorable touch, especially if you plan to reach out to the same donors again for other future fundraising efforts or races.

We hope this helps you prepare for your next fundraising challenge! While our expertise is customised charitable merchandise, we’re also big race fans ourselves. We’d love to hear what fundraisers or challenges you’re interested in participating in this year and next. Maybe we’ll see you out on the course!