Rewinding the clock to January 2017, I wanted to experience altitude training and experience training life the Kenyan way. I flew out with my coach Colin Thomas for three weeks on January 2nd and had one of the best experiences of my life. It was there, in Iten, I met little Victor, a little boy in need of serious help. I met Victor at Karaminy Primary School, courtesy of the Gathimba Edwards Foundation. Through the foundation I agreed to sponsor him in order to give him a chance in life.His family home was destroyed in an accidental fire and they were left with absolutely nothing. I was shell shocked as I walked home back to our compound. I wanted to help more, but I wasn’t sure how. Colin and I got talking that evening and we came up with a fantastic idea. What if I could fundraise to build Victor and his family a new home? I got in contact with the founder of the charity, Myles Edwards and asked him to look into how much it would cost. The answer: £4,000. OK I thought, £4,000 I can do it!
When I first started endurance running the only way I could get into the Virgin Money London Marathon was through a charity place and I am proud to say I have raised almost £30,000 for various charities over the the last couple of years.
Fundraising Advice and Tips
First of all, I would recommend raising for a charity that means something to you because it really does help. When I first started fundraising I lost my Nana to cancer, so fundraising for Against Breast Cancer meant everything to me. It really drove me to achieve my target. When I started fundraising for Victor I was emotionally attached. I had met his entire family, I saw the state of the living conditions and it broke my heart. I just had to raise the money!
Gathima Edwards Foundation educated me a little bit about the world of fundraising. It was through them I found out about Total Giving. This platform is 100% free, 100% not for profit and there is 100% no commission. There is also no delay or risk and it’s actually the only platform to 100% guarantee the charity will receive its donations. I had no idea that a lot of the other platforms charge the charities. I wanted to raise as much money as possible for Victor, so I chose Total Givingas my platform. Do your homework.
Top Three Personal Fundraising Methods
| Cake Sale in the office |
I wouldn’t recommend going to the supermarket and simply buying a load of cakes to sell. Instead, bake them yourself – make the effort. My work colleagues have always donated well when I have baked cakes. I found it best not to state a price, but ask them to donate as they feel the cause deserves. It also worked well to inform them how far their donation will go (quite often they would donate more after that). I also found they would be more generous around the time of pay-day.
| Raffle |
A few years ago I had huge success with a charity raffle. Securing fantastic prizes sold so many tickets. I held the raffle in a local pub and created an open page on Facebook and it went absolutely wild! Having fabulous prizes up for grabs such as Arsenal football tickets, Chanel sunglasses, a weekend away. I walked in to as many shops as possible to ask for prizes in return for a little advertising for them. It’s easy for people to say no over the phone, but in person you can work them! I also roped in the local community and was able to get prizes such as a free car service and MOT and a luxury haircut and blow dry. Having prizes people genuinely need really worked too. Not local? Not a problem! All people needed to do was donate the cost of the raffle tickets on my fundraising page, easy!
| Fiver Friday |
Oh now this is my favourite. I had huge success with posting on social media asking my friends and followers to donate £5 on a Friday. In the grand scheme of things £5 is like a coffee and a cake right? I found if I could make them realise £5 wasn’t a lot of money then they would donate.
Remember to keep those who donate, friends and family updated with your fundraising progress and encourage as many people as possible to share your posts. My donators loved seeing the progress of Victor’s house build, they felt proud that they contributed and would often then share it on Facebook. Awesome!
So how did I raise the money for Victor? I did office cake sales and focussed on pushing this massively on my social media channels asking for as much help as possible. Every little helps, even if it’s 50p. I accepted everything.
About three weeks ago Victor’s house was opened in a grand ceremony and I watched via FaceTime. It was absolutely fantastic and I felt so proud I was able to change Victor’s life forever.
| Endurance runner Gemma Hockett from Essex | Marathon PB: 2:59:37 | Writer of The Marathon Girl which recently won Bronze for Best Blog at this year’s Running Awards.