Fundraising the Arch to Arc Challenge

When I first embarked on the Arch to Arc event I had no real idea what I was taking on. All I knew was, that as a Kidney Cancer survivor I wanted to do it.  I’ve talked about it often enough with the James Whale Fund, but I needed to turn that talk into reality.

Physically I know I can do it so I’m not at all phased by that.  If it was just me I’d have a crack at it this weekend!

What makes me nervous is organising the event, however I am enjoying the challenge, but at least I’m getting the help and support I need from the James Whale Fund, let’s face it  there’s so much to think about:

· Keeping the numbers of riders down to 20

· Ensuring we have hotels to stay in

· Getting the ferry tickets (having to pay for those up front)

· Getting the rail tickets (having to pay for those up front)

· Making sure the route is acceptable and possible.

· Hoping upon hope that the days we’ve elected to it do work.

· Involving any authorities we need to involve (police?)

· Getting media coverage

· Support vehicles and drivers

· Kit, food, drink

· etc etc etc

The list is endless, but the biggest concern I have is the raising of the money. £20,000 overall is a big target to hit and we need all the help we can get. The question is, where am I going to get this help from?

I need to learn, and I need to learn fast.

I’ve been thinking of various ways I can raise the money (suggest as many others as you like)

· Social Networks like facebook and twitter. This is all fine and dandy but people tend to ignore your pleas for cash because they are swamped by so many other things. You’re lucky if your plea even registers amongst all the other news feeds. It’s hard to not take this personally sometimes but I’m sure it’s not deliberate. To truly make this work I think you have to take the one on one approach and send direct messages.

· E-Mail Campaigns – I tried this before and had some success. It is a little more personal than the blanket approach.

· Work Colleagues again, much the same as above, the carpet bomb e-mail does have an impact but it’s never as great as you’d like. The mail is read and the intention is always there but the day to day gets in the way and it’s regrettably forgotten about. On top of this you feel a real heel nagging people.

· Company Matching – Most companies will offer matching schemes for their employees e.g. for every £1 you collect they will match that amount up to a certain figure (for my company that’s £600 for example).

· Leaflets – I’ve created some that people can use as part of their campaign. Not too sure how much impact this is going to have, but at worst it will help to raise some awareness, which is always good. I hope that some shops are maybe willing to leave them on the counters for people to pick up. Here are the links for those interested:

o – (13cm * 18cm)

o – (A5)

o – (A4)

· Sponsorship forms – I’ve been told by another member of the team that this is one is the best approaches, getting pledges from people, going up to them and talking to them and getting their commitment. It’s a pain because once the event’s finished you need to collect the money, but it seems to get the best results AND you get the added benefit of getting names and address’ so next time you can do a little direct marketing. An example of a sponsorship form can be found here


· Local Shops and Companies – I’m going to attempt to see if I can get some local firms to invest a little into this venture. It’ll mean a lot of door-stepping and “smile and dial” cold calling but if we could attract a few then we’ll maybe able to hook them into other events. We can offer to put their logos and/or their web-address on any documentation we put out.

· Local Radio – Can we get a slot on local radio pushing the event?

· Local Newspapers – I’m trying to attract the attention of the local newspapers to see if they are willing to write an article on the event

· Company/Organisations Newsletters – One of the riders has managed to get an article written in his national magazine! Fantastic achievement and will make all the difference.

What we do need to do in a big way is to engage the Kidney Cancer community as a whole i.e. Patients, Carers, friends and families. Figuring out a way of involving them and getting them to help push the message is a bigger challenge than one might imagine. The forums and mail lists don’t seem to be working that well as a means of raising funds and I’m wondering why. It seems that contact has to be made more directly to truly capture people’s attention.

I’m going to try and use the blog as a means of updating people on progress, maybe next time we run the event in 2011 we’ll have captured some lessons learnt along the way.

If you can, help this cause by donating to my JustGiving Site or to my ViginGiving Site (whichever one suits you). I need to raise as much of my £5000 target as I can before Christmas so we have enough money to pay for the Tickets and Hotels, so sorry to ask so soon

Posted under Andy Thomas, Arch To Arc 2010, Fund Raising

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