20th of January, 2017 - a day that will forever be etched in my memory. A day I will never forget. It was the day I joined a team of volunteers on a 5 day Kilimanjaro trek to raise funds for a charity. I am not sure which part I found more difficult – raising funds or hiking up the highest mountain in Africa which is also the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Looking back, I can confidently say that it has been the most challenging thing I have ever done, but also has been the most fulfilling and rewarding.
I had never done anything like this before and I think I was a bit clueless as to what I was getting involved in when I signed up. The truth is, I love adventures and I have done almost everything from sky diving to scuba diving, so mountain climbing is something I would gladly do. My main challenge was raising funds. I’m really not good at asking – not for favours and definitely not for money for whatever reason. I did not know how I would approach people to ask for funds or convince anyone to make a long-term commitment to sponsor a child. I thought it will be easier to face the mountain than to face people, but it had to be done. There was no going back, so I turned to technology and social media.
Here are a few cost-effective fundraising tips that I found useful:
1. Set up an online fund raising page
A good online fundraising page can be very useful. You may need an independent fundraising page which you will need to set up yourself. In my case, the charity I was fundraising for set up our accounts and we included a background or details and photos of ourselves and why we were doing it. This information is your “elevator pitch” so keep it straight to the point and be clear about what you are doing and why. Send the link to you page to everyone you can think about.
2. Find buddies
You might have a few friends and family members who share your passion and will be willing to join you in your fundraising challenge. This is helpful as you can encourage and support each other. It will also give you a wider network of people to reach out to. Everyone knows someone you don’t know.
3. Use of technology, digital and electronic media
Sending out regular requests and updates via text messages, emails, and on social media will go a long way. You can include the link to your fundraising page in your email signature. As your contacts see your determination and progress, they will be encouraged and inspired to support you.
One thing I found useful was a Virtual Reality headset. I was able to get a 3d video from the charity I was supporting and the experience attracted and excited both young and old when they watched the video.
4. Promo clips and videos
A lot of people get bored reading lengthy articles so you need to be creative in getting your message out to people effectively. One way is to create short videos or music clips which you can post on social media channels or send to your contacts via phone.
5. Local radio stations and newspapers
Almost every council or city has a local radio station or newspaper (print and online) and these can be good places to advertise your challenge.
6. Be visible, be useful
There are some activities you can get involved in to help promote your work and fundraising. You host coffee mornings, volunteer to car wash or pack bags for shoppers in supermarkets. Most people will be happy to make a donation for your service and every little will go a long way.
Also, having a desk or a donation box in church, school or at work will also help. Whatever option you go for, make sure it is tidy and attractive.
These are just a few ideas but there is a lot more you can do. If you have been thinking of fundraising for a charity and did not know how to go about it, now is a good time to take the bull by the horn and set yourself a challenge. You will be glad you did!
Foluso Aloko is a Senior Consultant in ICT, with a passion to bring praise and glory to God, inspire, encourage and motivate others through music, service and creativity. Blog: https://reflections01.wordpress.com/