Advice on Charity Sponsorship
We decided very early in this trip to raise money
for charity. The benefits of this are obvious
and we are very glad that we did. It has given
our trip real meaning.
If you are thinking about doing the same, please
do not underestimate the task ahead. We have made
a number of mistakes in our approach and we hope
that you can learn from them.
Number of Charities to Raise For
We chose to raise money for 3 charities (one for
each of us). We now think that it is better to
raise for only one. Firstly, the logistics are
easier - all the money can go directly to the
charity rather than split the money 3 ways. Secondly,
you are more likely to receive more help from
a single charity. They can help you with press
releases and fundraising ideas.
This can be a major problem. We started off by
setting up a new bank account called 'Charityride
Charity Donations'. The idea was that all donations
would go to that account and we would split the
money ourselves equally to our 3 charities.
This method works fine, but there have been many
independent charity events that have asked for
charity donations and kept the money (nasty people!).
We were asking for money from businesses and the
general public so we decided that this was no
good. No business is likely to give money to a
random bank account set up by strangers.
We eventually set up a system where the money
goes to one of our 3 charities (which is audited
by independent accountants) and then distributed
equally to all 3 charities.
However, if you raise for only 1 charity, then
all donations go directly to the charity itself
- the charity will undoubtedly be audited.
This brings a further problem for you. How do
you keep tabs on how much you have raised? One
option is to have all charity donations (likely
to be cheques made payable to the charity itself)
sent to you home/work address and then you can
send them on directly to the charity. Another
option is for the cheques to go directly to the
charity's address and to ask each donator to make
clear that the donation is made because of your
cycle touring event. The charity itself can then
keep a total of the donations made - as long as
you prearrange for this to happen.
Methods of Fundraising
We (rather naively) wrote to 400 companies in
the Bath area to ask for sponsorship. Each company
was a 'richer' company such as accountants, solicitors
and estate agents. To each of these we sent a
brochure and a good covering letter explaining
our event; who we are, our cause and what we can
offer them in return (basically website advertising).
This cost us plenty of money with envelope, stamps
and printing costs.
We received 2 positive replies.
We also wrote 800 emails to larger national companies.
This took a huge amount of time and effort, mainly
to construct a database of companies.
We received 2 positive replies.
Although the charities did benefit from this
time and effort the results were obviously poor.
We feel that there are far better ways to raise
money, which concentrate on your local community
and business contacts.
But Most Important....
Talk to the charity (or charities) that you are
raising for. They will probably have full-time
fundraising staff with ideas to help you make
the most of your time.