To be honest with you, the past eight years that I have run the London Marathon, New York Marathon, a few 10k's and swam the Serpentine (let’s not talk about that one!), I have never had a problem raising money for the wonderful charity that is MS-UK.
I am in the very fortunate position to work for Slimming World and have very large groups, therefore raising money was never an issue. I would simply set up a MS-UK table with my sponsorship forms and tins and with over 500 people walking through my doors on a weekly basis… the money always rolled in.
However, this year is very different and without being negative, fundraising has been difficult. I think people are unaware that the marathon is October, they always expect it to be in April. And for me, numbers of members at work have dropped dramatically as we worked virtually for over a year, and potential members don’t know we are back open.
Even though I have managed to raise some money, it’s not at the level I have before, and it’s really bothering me. I’ve realised that I’ve got to look at other ways of trying to get that so much needed cash for MS-UK.
A few things have worked for me. I’m not very good on social media but have started to put all my runs on my Facebook page and talking about how I’ve got to run a certain mileage and taking photos along the route and then posting them. I’ve always found that if it’s raining (which it always seems to do just as I’m going out for my run) and I take a picture of me wet, and someone will always send me some money whilst they are laughing!
I am trying to talk about it all the time and boring people stupid. I even had an estate agent over the afternoon I wrote this blog, and when he saw my medals, ‘Aha!’ I thought ... ‘An opportunity here!’. It worked, £20 in the bag!
Also, when I’ve been posting my JustGiving page, I have been adding how MS-UK really struggled through the pandemic and how they had to sell their building in order to keep the charity going, pulling on their heart strings… but sadly the truth. Another £50 in the pot.
I wish I could offer more helpful tips. But one thing I do know (though not something you should rely on), that on the two weeks up to the marathon people start to come forward a little bit more to donate, especially if you keep reminding them how far you had run that week. Also, the day after the marathon when you limp into work in your slippers, they feel so sorry for you they have no option but to hand you money!
Good luck and happy running.