Fundraising for Beginners

Hey guys, I’ve recently run a marathon in aid of some charities, please show your support and give generously 🙂 !

Actually, this is not quite accurate.
The marathon I have run, has been a ‘mental’ one. It took just over two weeks to complete.
I’ve never run a physical marathon, and likelyhood is that I won’t – so I don’t know what it feels like as an experience, but my ‘mental marathon‘ went something like this:
First Week:
Conception of fundraising idea – Really exciting, little bit of apprehension too.
Beginning Training – This involved making some phone calls, research, and deciding on a plan. Suddenly there was lots to consider and lots to do.
Committing to the effort – A few days in, there was no turning back. I was bloody doing it and that was that. In addition, my fundraiser required collaborating with others, so I set about rallying the troops.
Second Week:
Set backs: By the start of the second week, the race was just about to begin, but I got really ill and had to step back for a few days. This was unhelpful, and possibly caused a few unnecessary issues.
Here we go: We are well and truly up and running with this now, its great, I’m loving it and its not that hard after all!
Hang on a sec: I might have spoken too soon, this really isn’t that easy. In fact, can I just stop now? No!? Well okay, I guess I carry on for a bit, but I’m definitely not happy and I want it all to be over soon.
Back on track: God, that first half of the race was tough, but I’m well over half way there now, so I’m sure I can make it after all. Really pleased I kept going, well done me!
The Wall: For me, this came after the plan/race had been 95% completed, apart from the the tiny detail of actually getting other people’s support in the form of donations. I’ll explain what happened when I hit The Wall and how I got over it below… but it was almost complete carnage.
Crossing the Finish Line: This afternoon, I crossed the finish line as far as my involvement with the fundraiser is concerned, and am really proud of myself for the achievement. I’m also completely exhausted, and wondering ever so slightly whether it was all worth it. I think it probably was. I fulfilled my initial goals, as far as was within my control, and it’s been a fantastic journey, and interesting experience.

It’s got me thinking about ‘what makes people support a fundraising attempt?’.
I have always known raising money for charity is not easy. I prefer to be a supporter then a fundraiser usually, as you get to share a little bit of the ‘halo’ and the satisfaction that comes with giving, with very little strenuous work.

I have narrowed it down to a few things that make people successful fundraisers:

  • Immense Physical Challenge by an ordinary adult.
  • Moderate Physical Challenge by an older, younger or physically/mentally disabled or ill person.
  • A challenge undertaken by a well-liked individual or celebrity.
  • A challenge undertaken by a (preferably large) group of people working together.
  • A challenge undertaken by someone experiencing hardship, such as life-threatening illness or bereavement.
  • Something very funny, cute, lovable, or ludicrous that is unexpected.
  • Extraordinary acts of kindness, particularly in difficult times, or by people who themselves are also in need of support.

There might be some I’ve missed. I’ve decided that I don’t really fit any of the criteria for being a fundraiser whom people feel very motivated to support, which makes things a bit more difficult in some ways.
I certainly don’t fit the first column of fundraisers.
My mental illness IS life-threatening in it’s very worst form, but not many people would know that or truly understand why it should be.
The fundraiser wasn’t funny or cute – it was simply an attempt to share, as widely as possible, a bit of joy in nature – beautiful gardens, woodlands and animals, by organising the production of a video-experience… to compensate for a normally ‘in person’ experience that would have helped raise quite a lot of money for charity, were people able to leave their homes at present.

Donations are trickling in now, slower then I would’ve hoped – but I am very impatient. I am also having to constantly remind myself that my entire self-worth is not dependant on whether or not people donate. I have done what I set out to do.

The Wall
I promised an explanation of this.
Well, I have an unfortunate tendency to sometimes put myself under extraordinary pressure to perform to exaggerated levels, without regard to my present state of health or capability. This is bad enough. What’s worse is that I often unconciously transfer those high expectations to others that are close to me, at exactly the same time that I am getting extremely overwrought myself.
The person that bore the brunt of my inevitable fury when these unreasonable expectations were not instantly fulfilled was my sister, who did very little wrong, but received a tsunami of emotional outpouring from me, as well as some pretty harsh criticism for what was only a very minor slip up on her part.
It could’ve been a lot worse and we are back on good terms again after a bit of reflection and discussion on both sides. I am more able then I used to be to see my unreasonable behaviour for what it is, partly controllable and partly a mental disorder. This means I can try and warn a few key people, or stop myself before it gets too late. There’s still work to be done on this though, and still time. Not drinking alcohol whilst dealing with my problems helps a lot though.

To sum up:
I won’t know for a while whether the fundraising effort was financially successful. It has been a great achievement though, especially after a long period of ill health. Its also been a learning experience, and it’s given me something to get involved with – even if at points the involvement has been too intense.
I am awarding myself a metaphorical medal for my work, and a very big thumbs for giving it a go, and dragging myself over the finish line.

Thanks for reading, I guess this is a gratitude post in some ways – but am not really sure where to file it!

T.G.L

(the Grateful Landlady)

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