The start of the year can be a tough time for those trying to raise sponsorship for taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon. The first rush of excitement about winning a place has gone, but April and the start line seem a long way off. How do you keep the pledges coming in? Running.London speaks to inspiring fundraisers to get their tips.
Actress Emma Manton was the mastermind behind one of the most powerful pieces of fundraising at the last two Virgin Money London Marathons. In 2016 the actress – who has performed as part of The Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in The Office – created Moving Stories, a stage show featuring work by some of Britain’s most famous playwrights, performed by a stellar cast and with proceeds from ticket sales going towards her sponsorship target. The show returned in 2017 and one of the pieces, called ‘What They Took With Them’, was later turned into a short film featuring Kit Harrington, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cate Blanchett. Emma, who was recognised in 2016 with Virgin Money London Marathon’s Silver Bond award for her incredible efforts, shares her tips.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
When I mentioned the idea of doing a small show to raise money for my marathon fund to a producer I was working with, they suggested doing it at The National Theatre. I thought ‘that can’t be how it works, you just call up the National Theatre and ask to borrow a stage?’ – but that’s exactly how it works! I called them up and they donated the room for free. If you want to make something happen, just ask – it could be the school hall for a night of readings, or it could be The National Theatre. If you don’t ask, you don’t know.
It’s incredible how time disappears. Don’t put your fundraising off and off until suddenly you have a huge amount to raise in the same week that you should be finishing your training. It’s a marathon, not a sprint after all.
Make the fundraising an event
It’s great if you can do something that brings people physically together. The more involved people are, the more generous they feel and if people are coming along to something, they tend to bring other people with them who might also donate. An event also gives you something to talk about and helps the word spread organically.
26(.2) is the magic number
Anything you can do to tie your fundraising to the marathon itself really helps. Last year, I organised a children’s marathon – with 26 children running a mile each – and in 2018 I have organised a virtual marathon where people pay £26.20 and commit to running 26.2 miles over January. So think 26 – 26 raffle prizes or can I get 26 donations this week….
Keep reminding people
You have to keep asking. People mean to get involved and mean to donate, but modern life is hectic. You have to remind them. Often several times, but when people say yes they mean yes and will appreciate being reminded.
I’m really proud of the last few years. It’s been life-changing and I’m always happy to talk about it as should anyone who’s running the marathon.
You can join Emma’s virtual marathon and learn more about her Running With Refugees campaign here
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Virgin Money Giving will be hosting a whole load of Virgin Money London Marathon content for runners, fundraisers and fans. Check back for regular content between now and 22 April and don’t forget to keep an eye on our twitter and Facebook.