Make the most of the Virgin Money London Marathon

Charlotte Ulett, events fundraising officer at Whizz-Kidz, talks us through what they’ve learned about making the most of the biggest fundraising event in the world.

Get organised

“We are a small events team which keeps us on our toes and one of our key strategies to maximise this opportunity is by getting a really good handle on our data. We make sure that all the plans and processes are set in place so we know where all our runners are in their journey with us and what communications they are due to receive.”

Get personal

“Although it can be hard to communicate with every runner individually, we always try to offer the personal touch to our runners. It’s important for us to segment our data and personalise the communications we’re sending out as much as we can. For example, one runner might have raised £200, the other one £2,000 and you don’t want to be sending them the same messages, so by grouping them and sending out different messages you can make sure they are relevant for each runner.”

Mix the virtual with the real world

“I think what makes people really feel part of the family is our Facebook group. We have a team coach, who posts updates all the way through the training and people absolutely love him. It’s important to do things in the real world too. We make sure all our fundraisers have a chance to meet our young people. Actually talking to the people who will be helped by the money raised is the biggest motivator of all.”

Turn your runners into advocates

“We know the majority of our London Marathon runners come to us in the first instance because they are looking for a marathon place and they want to support a children’s charity. Our aim is to offer a long lasting relationship – from being a marathon runner to becoming a loyal supporter of the charity, to end up loving what we do at Whizz-Kidz and wanting to do something else to support us.”

“We do that by making sure that we put Whizz-Kidz at the heart of all our communications. So it’s not just ‘here are your training tips’, ‘here are some fundraising ideas,’ we make sure that we’re backing that up with stories from our young people. The result is people saying ‘I love the case study about Ruby, how’s she doing?’ We now have runners who stay with us for years, and say they wouldn’t want to run for anyone else.”

You don’t need to do it all yourself

“There’s lots of great support out there for runners. Virgin Money Giving has different communication plans that really add value – a lot of the time they can do the communications a charity would expect to have to do themselves and if you have limited experience or time that can really help. It means you can concentrate on communicating your charity’s message.”

Don’t forget the friends and families

“I think that it’s really important that friends and families feel part of the journey as well. We provide a supporters’ guide which tells people where they can go on race day and how they can get to the different cheer points on the route. We also have a post-race reception, where runners and their supporters can go to celebrate together. It all makes for a community atmosphere. We’ve had people who came to the cheer point one year and were running for us the next.”

About Whizz-Kidz

Whizz-Kidz is a national charity supporting disabled children and young people through the provision of mobility equipment, fun accessible activities and life skills services, giving them the experience and confidence they need for an independent future. For more information, visit the Whizz-Kidz website.

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