How you representing?

So if you want to think of fundraising from a purely business perspective you should think in two terms:

1. Donations.
2. Exposure.

For those England fundraising types, you’ve probably gotten packets that give you several very good ways to do #1. Many of them will also give you #2, except you may stand there and think, “Why on EARTH do I need to do something to expose this charity?”

Simple. Because exposure brings awareness and awareness brings more awareness and … more donations.

“But…” you reply, “this is a well known charity. This shouldn’t be hard to raise money for.”

That’s where you are wrong.

When you commit to fundraising it is always good to commit to some level of exposure as well. A business wouldn’t open a shop without a sign. A dentist wouldn’t set up practice and then not tell anyone where they are. That is why you’ll see charities with commercials, posters, and cheerleaders at the race.

People need to know the charity exists in order to support (or seek support) from it. You probably wouldn’t have known about your charity without a personal experience, a friend who got help from it, a campaign on television or in the news that touched you, or even an advertisement seeking runners. Exposure is important and as vital as any donations you get.

So…

  1. Wear your t-shirt or running jersey whenever you can. I wear my t-shirt for the National Autistic Society on Friday, and my jersey on my long runs.
  2. Carry a few informational pamphlets and your collection tin wherever you go. It will remind you to talk about your charity and maybe get you some support.
  3. Let local media outlets know what you are doing. Many radio stations and charities have Twitter accounts and don’t mind retweeting people looking for donations. News groups will sometimes do profile pieces on people doing charity work of all kinds.
  4. Blog. (Um, duh.) Tweet. (Double duh.) and Fan your group on Facebook. (TRIPLE duh.) Heck, add a support ribbon to your avatar.

There a many great ways to show support for your charity and help elevate awareness. My best feeling has come not from the donations (though it feels spectacular) but from a woman who saw me running in my jersey during a practice run. As I jogged by she caught my eye and said, “Thank you.”

It’s just a reminder that despite my own goal, there is a bigger cause out there.

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