To Tweet, or not to Tweet, that is the question...
So what do you do? Well there are probably a number of things but my approach was to hit social media and connect with as many unknowns as possible.
So why do I fundraise? Back in September 2012 I was asked by a local cancer charity – Hope against Cancer (www.hfcr.org) – to become an ambassador for them – “A HOPE Diamond” and raise awareness of the charity in the local community. I had always been a keen sportsman so decided to do a year of endurance events – running, biking etc – to raise money for them. Friends and family were great but to take the fundraising to a new level I needed to expand my network of donors. I took to Twitter……….
@AYEARFORHOPE was my twitter name and if I am honest was very unsure of how this would help at first. Who would donate to an unknown, why would they? Progress was very slow to start with – with every new follower came more optimism. I connected with local business groups and also charity groups. Then I targeted the running and cycling communities and slowly my follower base grew.
I was entering a number of big events – London Marathon (#VLM2014) then a 24hr SOLO endurance race (@equinox24run) using these to advertise my fundraising got lots more followers.
Also targeting celebrities to just retweet one of your messages could be HUGE. With their follower network in the hundreds of thousands or even in the millions (@GordonRamsey – who is one of my followers – and we tweet every so often about triathlon) your fundraising message can reach much further afield. This is not to say however that more people will donate!!!
I have also had charity silicone wristbands made and I send these to people if they make a £2 donation onto my website – I have sent these wristbands all over the World to places such as Australia, South Africa and Finland so that just shows the power of Twitter to support a local cancer charity in Leicestershire.
I would say that making tweets not solely about fundraising will increase your number of followers. The same old “give me donation tweets” may soon get too much for some people and they may stop retweeting or even unfollow you. Be patient with an increase in followers – use the #ff on a Friday to advertise yourself and others to increase follower numbers. Also get involved with #CharityTuesday to spread your fundraising message.
My initial goal when I started in September 2012 was to raise around £2,000 for @hopeagnstcancer – by the end of my year of fundraising in September 2013 I had raised just over £8,500. Due to the enjoyment and satisfaction I got from this fundraising year I decided to start again in January 2014. My goal this time was to complete an ironman event in September 2015 (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and then a 26.2 mile run) – a huge challenge but the biggest test will be to hit my £10,000 target. I have currently involved sponsors from the world of business and advertised them on my event and training gear as a way of marketing them and saying thank you.
You can visit my fundraising page to see the progress I have made (www.justgiving.com/ironman2015) – just over 6 months into the fundraising and I have just reached over a £1,000 so a long way to go. I also have a text to donate code as well which makes it easier for people on the go to donate. People simply have to text SALE79 £2 to 70070 to donate which is easy and such a small amount doesn’t put people off. Also this fits easily into a 140 character tweet so can be sent round thousands very quickly.
Social media is such a fantastic tool for fundraising and if people want to get in touch for more advice and ideas then feel free to by twitter @AYEARFORHOPE or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Stewart!
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