Fancy a trek across the Himalayas? Want to get fit in a month?
Such challenges are often performed in aid of a good cause. Many individuals set themselves huge targets and raise money for a charity whilst doing so. It helps to keep them accountable, gives them motivation, and makes more of what would otherwise be a simple (and, if we’re being honest, a forgettable) pursuit.
Think of all those who enter the London Marathon—far more people apply than the actual spaces available. The lucky(!) 40,000 chosen randomly from a hat get to pound the streets for more than 26 miles. You’ve even got to raise a couple of grand before you can run on behalf of some household name charities, as they don’t just give their places out to anyone.
Every charity I work with would love to be in that position, where people are begging to raise money in their name. Usually, however, these good causes can’t get anyone to raise funds or participate in a challenge on their behalf, and they arguably need the funds much more than the larger organisations who can afford to pay fundraisers and shell out on advertising.
I can’t guarantee that applying the following tips will bring fundraisers to your door, but they should at least help you to clearly and succinctly present such an opportunity to the public.
Make it personal
One of the most effective ways to attract people to a fundraising challenge is to make it personal. Charities should aim to connect with potential participants on an emotional level, and show them how their fundraising efforts can make a difference to the people or cause their charity is working to help. This could involve sharing stories of individuals who have benefited from the charity’s work, or explaining the impact a donation could have on a particular project or programme.
People are more likely to get involved in fundraising if they feel like they can make a tangible or recognisable difference. Charities can use videos, images, and testimonials to bring the story to life and make it more impactful.
Make it fun
Charities should aim to make their fundraising challenges as fun and engaging as possible. This could involve organising events, challenges or activities that participants can easily take part in—such as sponsored walks or runs, bake sales, or online challenges.
Charities should also encourage participants to share their fundraising efforts on social media, so that they can attract donors and sponsors from their network.
Provide support and resources
Taking on a fundraising challenge can be daunting, so it’s important that charities provide support and the necessary resources to help participants succeed. This could involve providing training and advice on how to fundraise effectively, as well as marketing resources such as social media templates, fundraising packs, and promotional materials. Charities should also be on hand to answer any questions or concerns the participants may have, and offer encouragement and support throughout the challenge or the fundraising process.
Recognise and reward participants
It’s important that charities recognise and reward the efforts of their fundraising participants. This could involve thanking them publicly on social media, providing T-shirts, certificates or awards for those who reach certain fundraising milestones, or offering incentives such as merchandise or exclusive events.
Make it easy to get involved
These days, we’re all busy and people don't want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to get involved. Charities can make it easy, by providing clear instructions on how to sign up and what they’ve got to do to complete the challenge.
Collaborate with influencers
Influencers have a large following on social media and can prove a powerful tool for getting people to engage with a cause. Charities can collaborate with such influencers and ask them to promote the challenge to their followers. This can help reach a wider audience and encourage more people to get involved.
Think about what will capture people’s attention when creating your charity’s challenge. Should it be a one-off event, such as wearing your pyjamas to work or taking your dog into the office, or a month-long endurance challenge, such as running a mile every day?
You will know your community best and have maybe seen what other good causes have done in the past that resulted in decent engagement and some healthy donations.