Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Buns, runs and fun!

A year after I first signed up and kicked off full of excitement, trepidation and slight terror I have finally reached my fundraising target for my charity challenge. In just over four weeks time I'm heading off to trek the Inca trail up Machu Picchu - but I'd committed to first raise at least £3,000 for Breast Cancer Care.

Thanks to a last blast I've actually raised over £3,500 - and have the promise of a bit more coming in so hopefully the final total will be nearer to £4,000. The more the better as every penny counts and the demand for BCC's services is, sadly, increasing.

I feel rather chuffed and more than a bit relieved to get the money in, it's the first time I've been involved in fund raising like this and there have been peaks and troughs - good practice for trekking up a mountain! I have learned lots, like how much I hate asking people for money (even for a good cause). Instead I felt I should 'earn' it - my parents really did drum a working ethos into me - which has led to me needing to 'do' things to get the money in rather than just rely on begging emails to friends and family.
My fundraising fun has included lots and lots of buns - or cupcakes, I think that means you can charge more for them - I have become quite the bun baking queen. As well as cake stalls galore it has also involved a comedy night, clothes swishing parties, raffles, sponsored runs and collection boxes perched in kindly local shops.

So, though no expert, here are my top tips for anyone embarking on, or just thinking about, a similar charity venture:
  • Expected the unexpected - I have found that the things I thought may bring in lots didn't, but other things surprised me with the amount raised. People are also full of surprises, I have had help from unexpected quarters and donations from complete strangers - and absolutely none from some others I expected to be supportive.
  • Estimate how much time it all might take - then triple it. It all takes time - lots of, even with others helping out. Baking, organising events, begging raffle prizes, sorting tickets, even just counting out and banking the pennies from collection boxes. It is all very very time consuming.
  • It's nice to be nice - I have met some lovely people and had some fab support and fun, people have been generous whether donating prizes for raffles or giving up their own time. I have kept in touch with regular emails and updates to everyone who's helped, and sent thank you gifts and cards to those who really have been super supporters.
  • Beware fundraising fatigue - there were the low times when I lost my mojo and, quite frankly, had enough on my plate with other things going on in my life. Other people also get fundraising fatigue, just a look at twitter or among your own social circles will show you how many people are doing sterling things for charity and asking for support. Given the current climate it's not an easy task!
  • You'll get there in the end! At times I did wonder - but thanks to a last big push, and the perfect timing of a friend getting a job managing a coffee shop where she sold a load of cupcakes for me - I more than met my target. And I didn't ever have to resort to my last resort - which was doing the dreaded car boot sale!

I always thought the fundraising was going to be a hard part of this challenge - now that's done I can look forward to focusing on the trek. This is the part I thought would be the fun though challenging bit - but the reality is just creeping in... sleeping in a tent in freezing temperatures, getting altitude sickness, no toilets or showers for several days... Hmm maybe the fundraising was the easy bit after all!

More about my charity challenge here

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