With charity hustlers, on commission, patrolling the streets with perspex smiles, engaging anyone who’ll give them time with “hard sell” sales techniques, it’s easy to be disenfranchised by the whole notion of supporting charities.
My friend Ian was recently asked to support a charity and his response perhaps a bit more brutal than mine might have been, but I sympathise with what he was trying to convey, so I thought I’d address the issue a little.
One of the frequent fundraising techniques is the sponsored event – sponsored walk/run/abseil/etc. – where a supporter of the charity does this event for charity and is encouraged to raise money from their friends and family in the form of “sponsorship” – essentially money they get for doing the thing.
It can be somewhat awkward being approached for sponsorship by someone – what if you don’t think it’s that impressive? What if you don’t actually support the charity? What if you actually just don’t want the charity to co-opt your friend to raise money for them?
When I’m asked to sponsor someone doing something, I’m usually in a dilemma – I want to support my friend, but given the choice, I probably don’t want to give any money, but there are various things I’ll think about:
- What are they doing? Will they be personally challenged?
I’m unlikely to sponsor my superfit friend to do a 10 mile sponsored walk, but if it was someone whom I thought would struggle, but push themselves to do it, I’d be more persuaded. If the event is an organised event with many thousands of people doing it, I’ll be pleased that they’re stepping up to the challenge, but I’ll get more of a kick from supporting a one-of-a-kind challenge that they’ve put passion and effort into making happen.
- Who are the charity? Have they explained what the money will be used for? Does the fund-raiser have a personal link to the charity? Why are they supporting this charity?
If someone has a personal link to the charity, and a compelling story as to why they’re being supported, I’ll be much more likely to support them, than someone who appears to have picked one out of thin air, simply because they “do good things”.
- What do I get out of it? Will someone give me a personal thank you message? Will I get some kind of shoutout? Does my name go up somewhere?
At the very least, anyone sponsoring should be getting something an “I’ve done good” feeling, and the fundraiser is in the best position to make sure the sponsor feels really good about it. This is where the sponsor can really excel and make themselves stand out.
I think it’s important to handle charity events with the same courtesy that you’d ask anyone a favour – I’d never mass email my friends asking if I could borrow £5 – and so I’d never mass email all my friends asking them to sponsor me. I’d still let them know what I was doing but I’ll all the existing etiquette, manners and friendliness will still apply – I’d be interested in finding out how they are etc. – I’d like them to still be my friends whether or not they choose to sponsor.
When fundraising, you frequently have a target to meet, but it’s important to realise that for most people, that’s not a compelling reason to donate.
If you say to someone “I have to raise £300″, they may think “So what? You chose to get into this. It’s your problem.” – it certainly won’t encourage them to donate.
As it is though, you’d actually be very happy with a smallish amount of money from them, so passionately explaining, what you’re doing, explaining what the charity does and why you think it’s so important to support, can really make a big difference.
If you’re passionate about the event, creating a compelling, and touching event, you should find sponsorship much easier to raise.
You can sponsor my efforts here on mydonate and let mySociety know how much you appreciate them!
Have you ever considered why there are potholes in our roads? When there is a pothole in the road, what do you think it preventing it getting fixed?
It turns, when you ask the council, the answer is “no one told us about it”.
On Saturday, I’m doing the Bogle Ramble – a 26 mile sponsored walk around the north of Manchester for mySociety*
mySociety is an online democracy charity that runs most of the UK’s best known democracy websites. If you’ve ever used or seen The Downing Street e-Petitions website, TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, and WhatDoTheyKnow then you’ve benefited from the results of mySociety’s hard work.
As most of the the Bogle Ramble is on roads, I wondered what I could possibly do to make sure that every miles I spend walking the roads of North Manchester is put to the best use possible. Well it turns out that mySociety also runs FixMyStreet – a website that allows you to quickly and simply submit a report of a problem to the relevant local authority who will then investigate the problem and remedy as appropriate.
Almost fall off your bike because of a pothole? Report it on FixMyStreet
Obscene graffiti near your home? Report it on FixMyStreet
Flytipping in your local park? Report it on FixMyStreet
MySociety could use some help to build new sites, keep existing ones running smoothly (website don’t run themselves!) as well as adding new features, which is why this I’m fundraising for them.
Who said this isn’t a bit of fun?
Random suggestions of things and numbers that you could sponsor me:
- 65p for every pothole reported via FixMyStreet
- 25p for every time Tim tweets during the walk
- 30p for every mile Tim manages to walk
- 85p for every mile Tim manages to walk without tweeting
- £3 for every photo of Tim posing with a random stranger (capped at £6)
- £3 for every 20 minutes I talk to you on the phone, during the walk (capped £9 – 1 hour is enough for anyone!)
- £1 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street
- £5 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and posts a video of it online afterwards.
- £80 every time Tim “live rickrolls” a random stranger on the street and unintentionally gets physically assaulted as a result
- 10p each time Tim swears, grumbles or whinges about having to wake up before midday on a Saturday (capped at £10!)
- £x every time Tim does y (capped at z) <—- Make your own!
Because I love you all so much, I’m providing several levels of bounties to you lovely generous people; if you donate more than:
£3 – I’ll sing out my thanks to you whilst I’m walking!
£6 – I’ll send you a personalised, signed, thank you card featuring a random photo from my collection (and the above).
£12- I’ll send you THREE, 10×8, high quality gloss prints of your favourite photos of mine (and all the above).
£18 – I’ll send you 100 glow sticks (and all the above).
£33 – I’ll send you an A3 poster of your favourite photo of mine (and all the above).
£49 – Dinner. You, Me. A suitably greasy pizza joint in Manchester. I’ll pay (and all the above).
£85 – I’ll consider fixing your computer for an hour (and all the above).
£100 – I’ll use a Mac for the day (and all the above).
Let me know in a comment what I should do, use your real name, email address (only visible to me!) and I’ll be in touch to give you updates and collect teh monniez (or contact sponsorme @ tdobson.net)!
A random fact why mySociety should be supported:
On average, 44% of people who use WriteToThem have never written to a politician ever before. mySociety shows that the net can connect normal people with the political process, not just extend the power of those already in the know.
You can still sponsor me here!
*mySociety is the long running sole project of registered charity: UK Citizens Online Democracy #1076346).