The Ups and Downs of Fundraising

Objective: £2,200.
Time: 7 months
Method: various!

Read on to hear how some of last year’s PWs tackled the fundraising challenge.

Amanda Barber:
In hindsight I found the fundraising quite easy, with a little preparation of course. Due to time constraints I focused on one BIG event which got me two thirds of the cash I needed to go. I controversially chose not to do a joint event with my fellow PWs, mostly because I could rope in some other friends to help out meaning that all the cash I generated went into my pot… a little selfish but essential as I was completing my studies at the time & didn’t have any time to mess around.
The event I ran was called ‘AfroAfrica’. I’d managed to hire a nice local pub on a Saturday evening at no cost, except the PA and sound engineer. I asked some friends (& friends of friends) to do some stand up comedy & play in bands. In total I managed to get 3 comedians, 2 bands & miraculously a DJ who specialised in Kenyan funk music from the 70’s. This was via a VERY loose connection- a friend of a friend’s brother who happened to be over in the UK from Sweden at the time! So my advice is to ask around & get as many people involved as possible.
Be cheeky- I asked a couple of bands who turned it down but eventually some said yes. I charged people £4 (ish) to get in & made about £500 on the door. The night ran to capacity, so you need to pick a place which can legally house many people. On the night I ran a few games & did face painting which brought in a little more cash. The biggest seller for me was a raffle that I drew on the night. I contacted over a 100 companies to see if anyone would donate a prize & I managed to get 12 cracking prizes. For example Womad & WyndStock donated festival tickets, along with a stay in a gypsy caravan. I also had cinema tickets, opera tickets, a cocktail making class, cupcake making class etc. Just try any company you can think of. I kept my email very short, just a sentence about EPAfrica and exactly what I wanted from them. In return I offered them advertising soace on all our promotional material. I did ham it up a little saying I’d sold 200 tickets already, was going to advertise on the radio, Timeout etc. And I did manage some decent promotion in the local paper & on a local radio station. I pre-sold tickets to the raffle about 3 weeks before the date.
So good luck and go for it!Amy Lonton-Rawsthorne:
Vital funding came in drips and drabs through bucket shaking, donations for a 10K run, the Careers Service Bursary (vital to make a personal and unique application) and a clothes sale.
The real break came, and just in the nick of time, when I sent a letter to the master of my college. He passed it to the college’s development office. They were reading the letter when a phone rang. It was a swish hotel chain asking if any students at the college were embarking on development work in Africa. He said, actually I have this letter in front of me from a student who needs £1500, to which they replied “fine”!
If you aren’t at Oxbridge and don’t have university pots to apply to, contact big wealthy companies – hotels/ banks etc – and say you will give a presentation to them on the work you did. Good luck!

Arvind Kumar:
Standing out on the cold, wet streets of Cambridge is never good in the best of times. Let me tell you though, it’s a lot worse when you’re in a Batman costume and trying to get strangers to give you money. However, people are often generous and you get some lovely individuals who reminisce about their recent holiday to Kenya. In the end we got a healthy £100 each which definitely helped towards our fundraising total. Not always easy but worth a shot!

Dan Wainwright:
Good fundraising mixes three ingredients, in various quantities – fear, novelty and humiliation. Running 10k in a morphsuit nicely balanced all three. The fear, initially, was that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. That actually turned out to be fine, but relief was quickly replaced with the realisation that I couldn’t see a thing. Benches, trees and small dips in the track were much more challenging to navigate than usual.
The novelty was obvious, but to get people more involved I promised them that if they donated £5 or more then they could draw their own designs on my morphsuit. This was a handy ploy, as students pretty reliably cannot be bothered to turn up to anything they don’t have to, even when they have paid for the privilege of doing so, and so to my relief, I was able to complete my run without my body being covered in genitalia or swastikas.
Given that, I thought that maybe the humiliation aspect would be a bit lower, but I had failed to factor in the tightness of a morphsuit (reminder – skin tight). Questionable dress sense (not wearing shorts over the top) and an abundance of photographers meant that Facebook soon got a bit too detailed. But hey – the donations kept coming. Remember- a little bit of humiliation can go a long way!

Catherine Macaulay:
My fundraising for the summer of 2012 was what can only be described as a bit of a roller-coaster. I had heard that a lot of people received money from their colleges towards the trip, minimum usually being around £500. Trinity (Cambridge) has a big fund for ‘life changing experiences’ and my tutor said that I had a strong chance of getting at least £1000 towards the trip. I (foolishly) took this money as a given, so went about trying to raise the remaining £1200. I wrote to a company that I knew from my year abroad, and they were excited about the project and offered to fundraise with me – involving some of their clients provided I keep a blog about the experience. I won’t go into detail but the long and short of it is that the fundraising idea fell through, and I didn’t get the cheque from college. This all happened in about March 2012, and as you might imagine, I went into a state of mild panic. I managed to organise a last minute bungee jump and got some sponsorship for it from friends and family, raising abut half of the total money but was unable to get any more than that given the short notice.
My one piece of advice to anyone that is fundraising at the minute would be: don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. Admittedly I did have some very bad luck, and was probably quite foolish along the way. But unless the money has been sent through to EPAfrica… anything can happen.

Tom Belger:
I did a sponsored baked-bean-based diet for a week to raise money from friends and acquaintances my own age, and a sponsored run (Cambridge-Cambourne 10k – not inordinately long!) to raise money from parents.
I shook a bucket in Petty Cury (street in Cambridge) for two and a half hours on a Saturday afternoon in a batman suit. It was extremely successful; I raised around £1.50 a minute.
I wrote to about fifteen trusts on the ‘trusts’ spreadsheet; two got back to me turning me down and two gave me grants – Broyst Foundation and Cray Trust. I tailored what I wrote to their values; most trusts have brief statements on this on the charity commission website. I also got a £500 careers service bursary.
I worked at two Cambridge balls – over £100 quid for two full-night shifts. Tutoring or explicit ‘charity tutoring’ also potentially lucrative.
I gave talks on EPAfrica and held collections in two churches- one which my mum goes to and another in Cambridge (I wrote to all of the Cambridge ones). People were really generous with donations.
I did a talk and a cake sale at my old school; they miraculously emailed parents asking them to make the cakes and then send their kids in with money to buy them.
A word of advice; don’t expect the donations to flood in when you advertise via your facebook status – it’s too easy to avoid. You really need to contact people more directly via messages, email or text. It’s definitely a good idea to include a deadline. I also found people often only acted on a message after I had happened to bump into them face to face.
Good Luck!