Running the London Marathon for a charity may feel daunting – and we’re not even talking about the 26 miles! Alongside the challenge of completing the race, there’s the task of meeting the fundraising pledge. To help break it down, we speak to Sue Flynn, one of our runners in the marathon next year about how she hopes to reach her fundraising target…
Prepare in advance
So, I am very excited to be running The London Marathon in 2019. After missing out on a ballot place in 2018, I decided I would like to run for the wonderful charity UK Youth in 2019. I know from my experience of running my first marathon in Brighton last year that it can be quite daunting and takes a lot of commitment to complete a marathon, not just from a training point of view but also if you decide to book a charity place and then thinking “How am I ever going to reach my fundraising target?”.
However, I knew if I planned, broke it down and started as early as possible, then reaching that target need not be so terrifying and is definitely achievable.
Get creative with fundraising ideas
Since confirming my 2019 place with UK Youth in the immediate weeks after the 2018 race, I have been determined to get a head start and have been coming up with some plans on how I am going to reach, and hopefully smash my fundraising target.
Because a number of my friends and family had sponsored me already for Brighton this year, I have had to put my thinking hat on to find ways of getting in some early fundraising where friends and family can help me without having to reach into their pockets too much (yet!).
So I decided I was going to take advantage of the glorious weather and hold some boot sales. The idea being that a lot of people are doing spring cleans and are planning to donate their unwanted items they have to charity shops. I posted a Facebook status asking my friends and family to donate any unwanted items to my boot sale plans with a view that all of the proceeds from their sale will go towards my fundraising target.
With a good response, I added these donated items, together with some of my own things, and I have already managed to raise nearly £350 towards my target from just a couple of boot sales. Not a bad start!.
The UK Youth fundraising team has been great at supporting my ideas by providing me with extra charity buckets and flags for me to display and this has really helped me get extra donations from members of the public.
With such a good start and still eight months to go until race day, I have a number of other exciting ideas planned, including:
- Work bake sales – I am an avid baker so my work colleagues will be able to sample my delicious cupcakes for a small donation
- An informal afternoon tea – with cakes and coffee and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. (A template email has kindly been provided by UK Youth to help with this)
- A charity golf day – my husband is a golfer so he is helping to organise the whole event for me.
Online engagement is key!
But with all of these fundraising ideas put in place, when the formal marathon training starts in January, the best way to get donations is weekly blogging on on social media with my training progress, and my donation link, will be a must.
Just adding your link to these weekly, really do generate a lot of donations and as does sending emails to friends, family and colleagues who you may not be connected with on social media. When I ran the Brighton marathon earlier this year, I raised 75% of my final amount using this method alone and with London being such an iconic race, I can guarantee that you will be overwhelmed at the generosity of the people you know (and don’t know!).
There are so many different fundraising ideas out there and hopefully, I have been able to give you a flavour of what you could do to springboard your own fundraising efforts. But I would definitely say, if you have any ideas, speak to UK Youth team as they are so willing to help you in any way they can and have already been so supportive in my own journey.
Good luck to all who are running London in 2019! See you at the start line and good luck with smashing those fundraising targets!
Sue Flynn – Running for UK Youth at London Marathon 2019