You’ve probably already started your training plan (hands up those of you with colour coded spreadsheets). Fantastic! It’s never too soon to think about training. But how many of you have started to think seriously about your fundraising?
Well here’s the big scoop:
The sooner you nail your fundraising, the sooner you can relax and focus on your training – particularly by the spring when your mileage will be much higher (and therefore your spare time will be less). Now is the time!
And this is the perfect moment to remind you that you need to reach 80% of your target by the end of April. Remember – you won’t be able to ride without honouring your fundraising commitment. So let’s get the ball rolling:
First – Set up your online fundraising page
We ask all riders to use Virgin Money Giving (VMG) for your online fundraising. This link will get your started: Virgin Money Giving. Once set up, get your unique page url onto the bottom of every email you send. It’s worth using images and even video to make your page inviting. VMG have a good support team for any problems you might face, but if you’re really struggling, let Kate know and she’ll get our VMG account manager on the case.
Identify potential sponsors
1. Friends & family – if you don’t want to ask them (again?) to sponsor you with cash, why not ask them to support your fundraising efforts in other ways? Get them to have a good clear out and donate all their unwanted goods for a car boot sale or to sell on Ebay for Charity? Can they bake you cakes to sell at a cake sale? Would they give up a couple of hours to shake a collection tin while you do a supermarket sponsored spin (see *). There are loads of ways family can support you that doesn’t mean they’re dipping into their pockets for another 20 quid.
If you’ve got a really big group of friends, can you organise a single evening of entertainment that will bring in a big chunk of funds? Ideas include a cinema night (talk to your local art house cinema about putting on a private showing for a film of your choice – maybe something relevant to your challenge, like Bellevue Rendezvous?), a big (French?) dinner party, a huge blind dating extravaganza, or a really good pub quiz. Really maximise the fundraising potential of any one event – hold a raffle as well, or an auction where you allow the highest bidder to wax your legs for you!
2. Colleagues & clients – Many larger companies will support your fundraising ideas and even enable colleagues to donate from pre-tax earnings. They’ll also offer match funding on all those donations which starts to really make a big impact and makes workplace-based fundraisers a really profitable method. Talk to HR and ask for their support. Some tried and tested ideas include cake sales, sponsored spins in large company foyers and tapping into office events with fun raffles, competitions etc that can all raise funds. You can even set up a winter sports league for competitive colleagues, with a weekly sub (donation) to pay or as one rider did in 2018, set up a weightloss/weigh-in club for a few months. HR will love it – anything to support ‘health and wellness’ in the workplace.
You may be in a position to tap into clients. Can you ‘sell’ advertising space (in newsletters, company publications etc) for donations? Perhaps you can offer advertising space on your Le Loop jersey in exchange for a donation? Can you bring them into your winter sports league?
3. Local businesses and the general public – Talk to local businesses to ask for donations for raffles, offer them advertising space on your jersey and where appropriate, get a collection tin on their reception desk/till.
It’s possible to tap into the wider general public too. A sponsored spin at a big supermarket or busy train station can bring in well over £600 if done really well. You need high footfall and get those friends and family along to help. Are you part of a bigger sports club who will help you set up a one-off event such as a 5 mile run, or do you play music with a band/choir who would put on a special evening of entertainment with ticket prices including a donation.
So – having realised that you’re not just restricted to asking your ‘Aunty Irene’ for a tenner – now start to think as fun and creatively as possible. It’s true to say that the more you’re enjoying the fundraising, the more successful it is likely to be.
Even if you don’t use one of these methods to raise funds in the lead up to Christmas, we would strongly encourage you to use this time to plan your efforts in the New Year. Don’t fall into the trap of leaving this to the last minute. Explain to your fundraisers why you’re asking for their donations well in advance of your Tour – they’ll understand.
If you’ve followed any of the links above, you’ll have realised just how much support we offer on the Fundraising pages you can access from the Rider Zone. Not just ideas, but resources too. But if you need any more support, just get in touch with Kate and she’ll be delighted to help.