Running out of time

Third Sector Promotion BT MyDonate

Are your fundraisers struggling to combine training and fundraising? Give them a boost with tips from Amy Hughes, our BT MyDonate marathon runner extraordinaire

Amy Hughes in mermaid guise for one of her 53 marathons
Amy Hughes in mermaid guise for one of her 53 marathons

This is a sponsored feature provided by BT MyDonate

For most of us, running a marathon for charity seems a tough but achievable goal. Amy Hughes, 27, from Wilmslow in Cheshire, decided to run 53 in 53 days to raise money for the children's brain tumour charity the Isabelle Lottie Foundation. Having completed the challenge last summer, Amy has raised more than £53,000 so far, including offline donations.

How did Amy manage this staggering feat? "I mentioned it on social media and did a piece for the local press," says Amy. "Then every time I went to a new area for the next marathon, radio stations were hearing about it and coming to talk to me. The national media got hold of the story and it was everywhere."

There is undeniably something extremely press-worthy about running 53 marathons in 53 days, but what about those of us who’d collapse in a self-congratulatory heap after doing just one? How can fundraisers sustain interest while they’re going through the hard slog of training?

"The power of social media is incredible," Amy says. "Don't underestimate it. Once I’d decided to do 53 marathons in 53 days, I put links to my BT MyDonate page on Twitter and Facebook, told friends and family, and people started donating straight away."

Using video logs to show people how you are getting on also makes them feel involved in the training and therefore committed to helping you reach your target, says Amy.

"Inviting people to come on a training run with you for a small donation is another great way of engaging people," says Amy. "It’s easy, it helps them feel involved, they can chat to you and they can learn about the project as you’re running. They’re much more likely to keep checking back on how you’re doing."

Try to avoid making your requests for money too overt, she says. "A simple link on social media after an update is fine, without the begging bit," Amy says. "Update your followers and supporters regularly so they can keep track of your progress, and they might celebrate milestones with another donation if you’re lucky. They’ll get fed up with being asked for money all the time. I don’t want to constantly hassle people.

"Some people can feel alienated from the running aspect if they don’t run themselves, so there’s nothing wrong with cake sales, fundraising events or talks to raise awareness. Try to keep it interesting and varied for people and you’ll be more likely to hit on something that engages them."

When you’re training for between two and four hours every night, finding someone to give you a hand with organising your fundraising efforts is a huge bonus. "Running a marathon is stressful in itself, so don't leave your fundraising to the last minute," says Amy. "Try to keep on top of the admin and ask someone to take on that organisational role for you, if you can."

Letting your donors know that you’re using BT MyDonate reassures them that every penny they’re giving is going to the right place, and it saves you time when you’re on the road. "The MyDonate app for fundraisers lets you know when you get a donation and allows you to check your current total, so you can keep track of exactly where you are and keep motivated," explains Amy.

Amy Hughes has created the 53 Foundation to help people with disabilities become more active. Go to: Learn more about MyDonate here and follow us on Facebook.

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