So, you’ve decided to put your (or, to be more precise ‘other people’s’) money where your loud mouth is and raise some funds for a good cause. Perhaps you’ve opted to support charity work close to home, or maybe you’re fundraising for a volunteer or gap year programme overseas…
Either way, you deserve a whopping pat on the back for choosing to make a difference to a cause you believe in. Reader, we salute you.
So, How Do You Get Started?
Whatever your motive for undertaking charity work, the next move is to work out a fundraising target and how you’re going to hit it. This is often the stumbling block for would-be do-gooders who take one look at the grand total they’ve set themselves to raise and think better of it.
Cold, hard numbers can be scary but if you give yourself a reasonable time frame and get organised early on then you’ll be amazed at what can be achieved. Lucky for you we’ve gone and complied our insiders tips for fundraising, tried and tested by dozens of Leapers through the years - so you’ve already got a head start on the rest.
You can also download our handy guide on fundraising here.
Get Paid For A Physical Challenge
One of the best ways to attract financial support from friends and relatives is to leave them in shock and awe at your brave (and stupid?) decision to undertake a crazy physical feat. Depending on your fitness levels, this may mean running a marathon, getting involved in a novelty endurance event like Tough Mudder, a distance cycle, swim or mountain climb.
As a rule of thumb these challenges are more impressive the less fit you are to begin with and even better if you can relate the challenge you’re undertaking to the charity work you’re raising money for.
For example, you might choose to run the London Marathon dressed as an African elephant if it’s a conservation charity you're raising funds for, or if it’s a health charity you could relate the steps you take or strokes you swim to the number of people affected by that particular disease.
WARNING: These challenges can seriously improve your health. If it’s a professionally-run event you may be charged to enter, so make sure you factor in these charges or contact the organisers and request that they waive the fee for charity.
Sacrifice For Sponsorship
Raising funds can also help to raise awareness for important causes, so why not link your sponsored activity directly to the charity you’re supporting?
Shave your head or wax body hair for a cancer charity, spend a night on the street experiencing homelessness in the UK or challenge yourself to experience an element of poverty if you’re undertaking charity work in the third world.
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 (£1.50) a day, so why not challenge yourself to do the same for a week? Undertake a fast for the day, give up your mobile devices or car, or live without electricity.
Perhaps afterwards you can write up your experiences or give a presentation at school or college about what you learned.
Sell Your Soul (Or Just Your Skills)
Do you have any hidden talents, creative skills or muscle power? Think of them as a fundraising commodity. Hold an auction and sell off your skills and time to the highest bidder. This might mean offering to undertake household chores, errands, tutor kids or even office work for people in your community.
Widen the net and ask friends and relatives who may have a few hours to spare whether you could include their skills in your auction too. Leap volunteers have harnessed their creativity in amazing ways, selling everything from their art work and photography to catering skills over the years - all helping them to reach their fundraising goals and realise their charity work dreams!
Declutter For A Good Cause
Head to your nearest car boot sale (check out carbootjunction.com as a place to start) or harness the power of the internet and sell off unwanted childhood toys, music, clothing and electrical goods on eBay. Ask around and you’ll probably find neighbours and friends happy to donate unwanted gifts and household items to help fund your charity work.
Stage An Event
If you’re a budding party planner, music aficionado or simply love a good time then put those social skills to good use and organise a ticketed event. This could be a themed club night, battle of the bands or dinner party.
Just remember to charge people to attend and offer them a fun experience once they get there. It's particularly beneficial if you’re still at school or college and can advertise the event to a large number of people.
What’s In It For Me?
The very fact that you’ve read this post - and that you’re planning to undertake charity work - means you’re probably an altruistic soul, motivated by a desire to make a positive impact on the world.
That is hugely commendable - have another pat on the back from us and humanity as a whole. It may come as a nice surprise (and extra motivation) then to hear that your planned charity work could have great benefits to your own future prospects.
Employers and university admissions highly rate charity work and the efforts you will have gone to in order to achieve your fundraising goal. Recruiters place a great emphasis on initiative, communication and decision making skill, often ranking these above education and social background as the top three things valued in the workplace.
All three of these skills will be tested by your fundraising and, if you choose to go on to volunteer you will further demonstrate your capabilities in these areas.
What Will You Do?
Raising the money for charity work will be one of the biggest challenges you'll face. But the feeling of personal achievement, accomplishment and increased confidence will be immense when you achieve your goals and make your experiences overseas all the more sweet!
What money raising ideas have you got? If you have any good ideas, let us know in the comments below.
Photo: © toughmudder.com
on 29 / 08 / 2014