David's London Marathon Story - Fundraising Tips

For me, the London Marathon will represent thirteen months of hard work and dedication.

What many don’t realise is that the dedication is not just a few hours running each week; it’s far more than that. It’s progressive training, it’s time away from your family, it’s finding time you never knew existed, it’s changing your perceptions of what is possible, it’s becoming nutritionally aware, its knowing your limits, its re-tuning your mind to say ‘I can do this’, I could go on…

If that’s not enough to put you off, there’s a single word that seems to send a shiver down the spine of many potential applicants – ‘Fundraising’.

I was exactly the same; I saw the fundraising figure and instantly panicked!

I had previously rustled a ‘few’ pounds together for charities throughout the years, but I have never truly fundraised. I didn’t have a clue where to start.

Eight weeks later I met my target! If I’m honest - I can’t quite believe it myself.

So how did I manage it?

My most important bit of advice would be calm down, you can do this, it may take a bit of time and planning but it’s very achievable. The last thing you want is to add additional stress to your journey. 

Initially I spoke to a number of previous fundraisers, shared my story and listened to them. It’s amazing how many people offered support, and their ideas and advice made a huge difference.

My next piece of advice would be to plan! Break your target down into milestones, just as you would a long run, for example my 5K target was £100, my half marathon was £1,250 etc...

My first two milestones were met just by talking with friends, family, colleagues and promoting my goals on social platforms. Storytelling can be a very powerful tool, especially if you are running for a personal reason.

As part of your planning, events are essential. My most successful has been a raffle which exceeded my expectations tenfold.

I started by contributing a few prizes myself, but in order to drum up some real meaningful support; I contacted local companies and explained my motivations and goals and asked for a donation of a raffle prize.  Two pieces of advice here:

  • Don’t get demotivated if someone says ‘no’, for every ‘yes’ you get you’ll  get 10+ no’s.
  • If you are nervous about approaching a business, try some you are familiar with maybe your local sandwich shop or hairdressers and explain you’ve never done this before but thought you’d ask. 

It’s overwhelming how generous local businesses, families, friends and even colleagues can be. I’d be nowhere near my target without them!

As a first time marathon runner and fundraiser, I can honestly say ‘you can do it’ and I would be thrilled if my experience can help others succeed. If just one single person doesn’t feel so intimidated by the word ‘fundraising’ I would be extremely happy.

My last piece of advice would be stay motivated, your dedication and hard work is going to essentially change lives. Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it - my target will provide the vital support a Blind/Partially sighted child or family for a whole year! Now what could be better motivation than that!

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