A Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising: if I can do it, anyone can!

I liked the idea of fundraising. My daughter Nina has BIE, and I had thought about raising money for the ISG but there were always a million and one reasons not to bother. Like many, I felt I was too busy, had too many other responsibilities, and I was just too damned tired!

However, I did bother, and raised £550 for the ISG. I am not a natural organiser or leader, I am quite lazy and like an easy life, though that’s not really an option with 3 children of 7, 6 and 3, the youngest having ichthyosis. But if I can do it, anyone can. Here are my top tips to inspire other busy tired people out there to have a go.

Find an inspirational friend to help you
I told my friend Tracey about my idea, but managed to talk myself out of it with a lot of negative predictions. She, however, is made of sterner stuff, and offered to arrange an event with me, to raise money to help out friends with a son with a very serious medical condition.  She swept me along with her enthusiasm, persistence and good humour, making the process less worrying, even enjoyable! So team up with a Tracey (everyone should have one) to keep your spirits up!

Keep it do-able
As fundraising novices, we kept it simple with a bring’n’buy sale. Everyone has stuff they want to get rid of; everyone likes a bargain. We hired a cheap local venue for an afternoon and printed flyers to distribute amongst friends, family and neighbours explaining the event. We asked people to donate clothes, kids’ stuff, books, bric-a-brac, cakes, or anything that might sell, and bring it to the event on the day. We organised a small raffle and tombola (prizes were donated, mostly unwanted gifts) and arranged refreshments, including a cake stall.

Ask for favours
Lots of friends offered to help, but we were not shy about asking either! Two talented friends provided face painting, while others made items to sell, manned stalls, helped to set up and clear away, stored and removed left over donations. People have skills and good will to offer, so ask for help.

Never underestimate people’s generosity
We received a huge quantity of donations, some amazingly creative like beautiful cakes, a big basket of organic veg, homemade jam, handmade cards and bags, as well as masses of clothes, toys, books and plants. Of course, we needed buyers as much as donations, and people were equally generous in what they gave. Apart from refreshments, raffle and face painting, nothing was priced, we just asked folk to give what they thought was appropriate – and the result was staggering!

Have faith – the sun will shine!
It did – literally and metaphorically, but the warmth of the atmosphere was also due to the wonderful sense of community spirit. It was a heartening experience to see so many friends and neighbours turn up to support both causes with such willingness and enthusiasm. No one can guarantee the weather, of course, and we realised in retrospect that our planning was flawed in several areas, but we got by on a wing and a prayer. So the event wasn’t run with military precision…but the rather ramshackle nature added to its charm, or so we like to think! Things don’t have to be perfect.

Whatever the result – be proud
The event raised over £1000, which was shared between the ISG and Tracey’s friends. We are so pleased with this result, which far exceeded anything we anticipated. But even if we had raised less, it would have been worth it. We enjoyed it, those who came did too, and everyone felt good about being involved and achieving something.

Curtise, mum to Nina who has BIE