The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is just around the corner and there is definitely a rising excitement and anticipation in the participants. Along with the runners, the NGOs are also gearing up to raise funds for their causes and make the most of the platform that a half marathon provides. A ‘Marathon’ has over the years proven to be an excellent way to raise funds and spread awareness about NGOs and their causes and here are a few ways one can go about it.
- When you already have a cause that you are passionate about, that by itself is a great place to start… if you don’t, then first find a cause that you would like to support. Once you have chosen that you could use the following tips to raise as much fund as possible for your cause.
- Find out about your cause, how your fund raising will help them, and how much you need to raise. Even a small amount goes a long way, so you can start by a practical amount that can be raised by your efforts. Just technical knowledge won’t help enthuse others; you will need a story to make an impact on most people.
- Reach out first to family and friends; let them know about the cause you are supporting. You could make phone calls to them, maybe host a small party where you could tell them about what you are doing and why. Make it personal and highlight a particular person(s) that you're helping, including pictures if avail. Be sure to mention the obvious tax-deductible nature of the donation. Don't take refusals to heart - they are not personal.
- Internet is a boon to this sort of fundraising. Set up a fund-raising page on the internet (Facebook for instance) and email the details to everyone you know. You can update it with details of your training as you go along, with pictures/videos from your cause as well. You need to update your page frequently so people can check and get interested. Promote it on facebook, twitter, flickr, etc regularly.
- Compile the biggest list of friends, neighbors, relatives and business associates that you can. Send across an Email to everyone you know. But personalize them in groups. For example send an email to the younger lot to spread awareness and raise small amount of funds, while you could send another personalized email to higher income, older people who could donate higher sums. You could add your page link to your email signature. Send the email around the salary day.
- Send fun reminder emails, not too frequently, but do follow up. You could add pictures to your email, maybe something funny about your training. Also remember to thank everyone on your page, email, blog, sms’ for however they may be supporting you. Make them feel good supporting you.
- Explain to your donors how their money will be utilized, for example – Rs. 10,000 will help sponsor a girl child’s education for a year. Rs 1000 will help get her a school uniform, Rs 1800 will help her buy a bicycle etc. Write about the cause you are supporting on your page and also tell others.
- Some people may not be able to donate to you, you could make them a part of your efforts by asking them to help make phone calls and go door to door or even asking them to just be there in the marathon to cheer you.
- If fundraising is your only aim for this half marathon, and then you could use some other quirky ideas, like dress up in a funny way, or ask for a message from every donor per mile which you can put on your running shirt during the run, have a bake sale in your neighborhood or office, give out pictures of your cause with your fund raising message on the back to new people you meet so they can also pitch in the way they want, offer to sport a beard, a wacky hairdo, a funny T shirt during the run if you meet your target. You could offer bigger incentives for larger sums.
Fundraising is easy, it is not rocket science and lots of runners have raised their target amounts and surpassed it with persistence and regular follow ups with their potential donors. It needs a little dedication and will also keep your spirits up for finishing the run… Satisfaction guaranteed!!