It’s just over two months since my 10-mile sponsored walk on the Isles of Scilly. I did the walk to raise money for my local hospital, where they took great care of me after my accident a year ago. It felt great to give something back to them, and I’m glad I did it in such a fun and memorable way. Have you ever organised fundraising by yourself? How can individuals plan private fundraising? Do you have an idea of where to start?
You can read more about why I have decided to do a sponsored walk for my local hospital here. I knew I wanted to do something, but my original idea, claiming up the Snowdon, didn’t look realistic given my injury. Given this, I had to look for another idea. A walk around an island seemed more realistic. I just needed to figure out how to realise it. That’s when I started my research. So how to turn an idea into a successful fundraising event? And can you even fundraise as an individual?
Read also ‘The Ultimate Guide to Survive Hospital Stays‘
Fundraising for individuals
Firstly, it is necessary to say that yes, you can fundraise money as an individual. You don’t need to be registered with any charity. It is personal fundraising. So this enables you to raise money for your chosen cause by asking your friends, family and others to sponsor you whilst you take on a challenge.
You may have seen someone undertaking a challenge by themselves or with their family. There are many possibilities even during a lockdown. You have perhaps heard of ‘crowdfunding’. As the name suggests it is the funding of a cause or project by raising money from many different individuals, a crowd. By having many supporters it is possible to reach your fundraising goal through lots of relatively small pledges.
Crowdfunding platforms are perfect for individuals who want to raise money for a good cause. You may choose an enthralling cause or project that would attract the attention of donors. And thanks to technology, it can be done online. So crowdfunding is a popular option. That’s why I’ve decided to ask for sponsorship/donations through crowdfunding as well. However, this also meant that I had to do some planning ahead of the event. So how does crowdfunding work, and what do you need to plan it?
Read the following step by step guide on how individuals can plan a fun, successful and unique private fundraising.
Five steps to planning successful personal fundraising for individuals
1. Fundraising Idea
As already discussed, you need to have an idea of how you would like to fundraise money. Remember you want to attract the attention of donors and ensure that they sponsor you. You want to choose something exciting, meaningful and compelling. However, make also sure that it is something that you are likely to be able to do. Whilst it’s good to set yourself a challenge, something that will wow not only you but also the donors, it is also important that you are realistic about being able to achieve it.
2. Choose the cause
Have a particular cause of who or what you would like to fundraise for. The good thing about private fundraising is that as individuals we can fundraise for anyone, even for ourselves. However, keep in mind that you want the donors to sponsor you. So you may want to do some research when choosing a cause.
Factors to consider when choosing a cause:
1. What are you passionate about?
You are most likely going to choose something that is of great interest to you. However, whilst you may be passionate about a particular cause, it would be good to research the scale and the need for it.
2. How great is the need for it?
Is there a need, or perhaps are you able to solve a problem? And how many people are affected? I wanted to support my local hospital because of everything they have done for me after my accident. However, I also knew that this was something that would be of benefit to many other patients.
3. Who to contact regarding your fundraising?
You would need to research who to contact regarding your cause. In my case, I found a local charity Friends of Chichester Hospitals, who support St Richard’s Hospital. I contacted them, and they were happy to support me in my challenge. So I teamed up with them for the event, and they came with a few proposals on how the funds could be used. I then decided that the money will go to the Occupational Therapy team to be put towards the purchase of new specialist wheelchairs.
4. Do you have any understanding of the cause?
Whilst in the hospital, I used one of those wheelchairs in question. So from my own experience, I knew how important they are for patients. Therefore it is also good if you have knowledge or understanding about the cause you want to support.
3. Choose a platform
There are so many fundraising platforms individuals can choose from, so it may sometimes be hard to know which one is the best for you. I’ve been with JustGiving before and never had any problems, so I went with them again. As crowdfunding is so popular, many platforms offer it.
When choosing the platform, do your research and look for answers to some key questions:
1. Purpose of your private fundraising
Make sure that you have a clear purpose. I had a clear goal, and it was my 10-mile walk on the 24th of August on the Iles of Scilly to raise money for my local hospital.
2. Platform structure
Is the platform free, or is there a fee? How are funds withdrawn at the end and is a processing fee charged?
3. Platform customisation
Can you customise your platform? Can you add a photo to it and share it on your social media? Is there an option to add updates to the page? You would want to know how easy it is to manage, edit and update your page.
4. Create your private fundraising page
Now, this is the place for you where you can be creative. It is the core of your campaign. It is where you share your story. Here you explain more about the event and the cause. Writing a compelling description will help you to achieve your fundraising goal. You can also add photos and links to videos to your story. When setting your goal, be reasonable and realistic. This way you will have a better chance of achieving it. Also, be mindful of the fees that will be deducted from your total funds. My page is still live until the end of the year. Feel free to check it out – and if you feel inspired by my story to make a donation.
5. Spread the word
Once you’ve built your page, share it to let people know about your fundraising event. My platform enables me to share my page straight to my social media. I can also share it via email. Share your fundraising event and ask people to donate. I would recommend starting to spread the word about a month before the fundraising event. You can add and share any updates. Adding updates was also a good way to keep the charity informed about my progress and the walk itself. Share your success, and don’t forget to thank your donors. You can send them individual thank you messages after you receive their donation or at the end after your fundraising event. It’s up to you when you do it, but it’s nice to acknowledge their support.
Read also ‘How helping others helps to boost your won happiness?’
Benefits of private fundraising for individuals and the community
Planning personal fundraising may seem like a long process to some. However, the truth is that once you create your page, all you need to do is to hit ‘publish’ for it to go live. Then it’s only a case of managing the page and sharing it. Sharing the cause makes others aware of the situation as well. So by sharing your fundraising page, you spread awareness within the community. Some people may only become aware of issues after checking your fundraising page. Your campaign may help to connect people to the fight for a good cause. The campaign allows you to speak up about problems that matter or changes that are needed. And with the money you raise also to contribute to the desired outcome.
For individuals who are planning their own private fundraising, it may seem a bit lonely process. However, remember that you have people behind you who want to help. Build connections with them. I’ve been in contact with the charity via emails and updates on my fundraising page. I’ve also received a t-shirt from them to represent them whilst doing my walk and training. It felt like being part of a community, and I felt proud to wear it. And it felt so good to receive emails from them. I can never forget how overwhelmed I felt reading about the surprising reaction of the Occupational Therapy department when they found out that I’ll raise money for them.
Having support from all sides is a great encouragement. So share your success with all your supporters. It is something that shouldn’t be celebrated just by the individual. After all, personal fundraising is a joint effort by all the people who helped the individual to reach their goal.
Are you thinking of planning a fundraising event? Just follow this guide step by step and your fundraising event won’t only be successful but also a lot of fun. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the luck! And don’t forget to share it in a comment below!
If you would like to support my fundraising event, you can do so until the end of 2021 here. Thank you for your support.
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