Next year, Karen Miele will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon. Discover her creative approach to fundraising in this guest blog...
When I got the call confirming that I had been accepted onto the MS-UK Virgin Money London Marathon team my mind was a big mixed bag of emotions. Having run a marathon before I knew how how much hard work it would be - not just the marathon itself, but also the fundraising.
Once the fear and excitement had started to settle, I knew the first step was to put together a fundraising plan. As well as the usual bake sales and raffles, I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of just relying on donations, I began to think about how I could engage people in my fundraising and what I could offer them in return.
I heard about a photographer who offered portraits in return for donations, which got me thinking about how I might take a similar approach. I am an artist and printmaker, so I decided to use my skills to host a series of art and craft workshops.
The first was a knitting crafternoon, followed by two lino print tote bag workshops. I set up event pages on Facebook and invited people to donate to my JustGiving page in return for a ticket to the event – and of course no good event should go ahead without some cake and snacks, which I baked the day before!
The feedback on the workshops has been fantastic, and many new people are already keen to come along next time. My guests loved spending an afternoon learning a new skill and discovering creativity they never knew they had – all while raising money for such an important cause.
I have also been busy making some running themed accessories and jewellery to sell. My first item is a laser cut purple shimmer “Runner” necklace. I chose the purple theme as it’s both the colour for MS-UK and my running club, the Notts Women Runners! These have been really popular, and sales have already raised over £100. I will soon be adding keyrings and screen printed tote bags to the range.
My advice for anyone seeking fundraising ideas is to think about what makes you an individual. Ask yourself what skills you have that you can use or share to create unique experiences for your donors. Good luck!