Fundraising tips for charity runners — part 1

Tips to maximise your charity fundraising potential

Having taken the decision to run a race for charity, it's important to know exactly how you are going to go about fundraising. Here's part 1 of our guide to fundraising for charity runners.

If you’re reading this then it’s possible that you've already bagged yourself a place running for charity. Or maybe you're still thinking about what charity challenge to set yourself. Whatever the case, running for charity is an added pressure on top of the running training, but it is nothing to be scared of ...

We know that fundraising can seem like a marathon task, and that’s why we have come up with our handy hints to help you raise the necessary funds and keep the charities doing their good work.

Here is part one dealing with ‘starting out’ with your fundraising and seeking sponsorship.

Starting out fundraising through your running

Start fundraising for your charity as soon as you can

As soon as you know you have a a place, start fundraising. The sooner you start, the more you will collect, and the less pressure you will feel.

Plan your fundraising

Adopt a planned approach to your fundraising as you will do for your event training. Planning how you are going to raise your sponsorship money can save you a lot of time and hassle later. Always carry a sponsorship form with you - you never know when an opportunity will arise.

Your choice of charity matters

Select a charity whose cause you believe in or feel strongly about. If you are passionate about your charity, that will prove invaluable when you are trying to persuade people to hand over their cash.

Enlist the help of family and friends

Encourage family and friends to help fundraise on your behalf. For best results, try to target organisations, businesses or individuals where you have a useful contact who may be able to pull a few strings.

Know your facts

Ensure you and your fundraising buddies, know specifically where the money will go. For example, '£4,000 buys a dialysis machine' will likely generate more response than a vague indication.

Set an ambitious fundraising target

When asking people to support you, some may ask much you intend raising. If the sum seems an ambitious amount, this may prompt some generous folk to give even more.

Sponsorship for running races

List your sponsors in order preferably the most generous first
Most people don’t know straight away how much they are going to pledge before they commit themselves, but will look at your form to see how much everyone else is pledging. By putting those who you think will pledge most first - even if it's yourself - and hopefully the others will follow suit.

Be ready to prompt sponsors

Be ready to prompt people with an amount for which you would like them to sponsor you. It sometimes pays to be cheeky.

Personalise your running mission

Let people know why are you undertaking this challenge. If you are fundraising for a charity that means a lot to you for a personal reason, then convey this to people. Letting potential sponsors know the reason why you are doing what you are doing, makes request seem more real.

Make it easy for sponsors

A clearly marked out sponsorship form divided into a table format, with name, address or email address, telephone number and pledge amount makes it easy for sponsors to kow exactly what they should be filling in.

Take the face-to-face approach

It’s more difficult for sponsors to say 'no' if you’re stood in front of them, so take direction action to produce more positive results.

Target those in charge of budgets

If seeking sponsorship in the workplace, go to the top for more effective reults. Target managers who control budgets.

Matched giving schemes

Approach the person in charge of the pursestrings in the workplace and ask if they run a ‘matched giving scheme’ whereby they match their employees’ charitable contributions. Some companies require you to notify them of your intention to raise money in order that you can qualify.
Different employers offer different matched funding schemes. Some will match your fundraising 100 per cent e.g. for example, a pound for every pound you raise. Others will set a limit on how much they are prepared to match.
If your current employer does not offer a matched funding scheme, ask them to consider it! Point out some of the benefits of matched funding to your employers which includes:
  • Improved staff morale and motivation
  • Positive PR opportunities
  • Creates a feel-good factor among employees about the organization they work for
  • Enhances corporate image and reputation
  • Encourages a growing sense of social responsibility

Have a high profile

Meet as many potential sponsors as you can. Gain support from your local newspaper or some publicity in your company newsletter or intranet and tell them about your venture.

Be aware of Gift Aid

You’ll need to explain what Gift Aid is to your sponsors. Registered charities can claim 28p for every £1 donated, provided that it is a personal donation and the donor is a UK taxpayer. Gift Aid is a system administered by the Inland Revenue to promote charitable giving and could boost the amount you raise by 28%.
For example, if you are a basic rate tax payer (ie 22 per cent, for every £1.28 you earn you only take home £1.00. If you give that £1.00 to charity with a Gift Aid declaration, the charity can claim back the tax you paid to make your £1.00 back up to £1.28.
Your sponsors don’t have to pay 22 per cent basic rate income tax to qualify for Gift Aid – lower rate or 10 per cent tax payers and even people who only pay tax on their bank interest at 20 per cent qualify too. The Inland Revenue will still make the rebate up to 28 per cent regardless of the rate at which the tax was originally paid.
For sponsors who pay tax at 40 per cent, the rules are slightly different. If they have income or capital gain of £1.28, they only take home 77p. If they give £1 to the charity we can still claim 28p from the Inland Revenue, but if we give them receipts, the individual can claim back the other 23p on their tax returns.

If you are wondering about Gift Aid from companies, the rules have now changed. Companies can now give to charities from their gross income before tax, so sadly there is nothing left for the charity to reclaim.

It is very important that you make the following clear to all your run sponsors ...

It costs them absolutely nothing to Gift Aid your sponsorship pledge and because charities have computer systems designed to handle the claims, it costs them next to nothing to make their claim. A Gift Aid declaration is simply a statement that the donor is a UK taxpayer who wishes the charity to claim back the tax on the donation. It doesn’t even require a signature. The charities need to record the home address and postcode of the donor in case their tax inspector wants to check out their claims.

Christmas running sponsors

This will be one of your biggest opportunities to speak to people in a relaxed environment whether at work socials, family parties or get-togethers of friends. And don’t forget to mention it in all your Christmas cards!

Use your charity for help

Don’t hesitate to call your chosen charity if you have any queries. They are likely to have years of experience of supporting their fundraisers and are there to help you.
Check out part 2 of our fundraising guide for more tips.

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