If there's a charity that's close to your heart, you've probably put at least some thought into raising money for it. Sadly, in today's economic climate, it's hard to find people willing to donate to good causes. It's not that people don't want to help - but there's not much in the way of spare money floating around these days, and people are constantly being bombarded with requests to sponsor charity runs, donate to raffles, pledge on someone's JustGiving page, or sign up for a monthly direct debit to donate to a specific cause.
If you want to persuade people that your cause is worth donating to, then you'll need to get creative.
Do Something Different
The secret to getting people to donate isn't to try to persuade them that the cause is worthy - guilt trips will lead to resentment, especially if the person you're asking simply doesn't have any money to donate. Instead, you need to do something unusual. Lots of people do charity runs - so why not do yours backwards, or in fancy dress? If you can make people laugh, or impress them by doing something difficult or exciting, they'll be more likely to donate to your chosen charity.
Here's a few wacky fund-raising ideas to help you get brainstorming:
- A martial arts competition: Last year, one martial arts group did a "crescent kick, jumping crescent kick" competition, in fancy dress - all the club black belts lined up and competed to see who could do the most of these moves - each move requires a 360 degree spin, so there were a lot of dizzy and rather sweaty martial artists at the end. It was funny to watch, and so impressive that some people who pledged per spin doubled their pledge at the end.
- A sing off - in a foreign language: Do you know the words to Perfect Welle or Heir Kommt Alex? If not, that's great! Hold a Rock Band Sing Off at your local community centre. The more embarrassing, the better.
- Snail Racing: This is an oldie, but a fun one. Be sure to carefully put the snails back in the garden afterwards.
- Fancy dress runs - let people vote on the costume for your next charity runs - or run as a team all dressed as characters from one TV show.
- Cake baking with a difference - if you're really good with marzipan, why not make some fruit cakes with extra-special decorations. Custom designed cupcakes are big business these days, and sell for a lot more than your average bake sale produce. You'll need some skill to pull that one off, though.
Whatever you decide to do for charity, try to be understanding when you go around asking for buyers or sponsors. Remember that some people in your office may have already been asked for sponsorship money by several other people - especially if they have kids in junior school, where sponsored events seem to happen every term. If someone says "No" to your sponsorship request, that doesn't mean they're being stingy, they could be genuinely broke this week.
This article was written by James Harper on behalf of The Poppy Run, organisers of 5k charity runs in aid of The Poppy Appeal.