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How to make a Localgiving campaign your own

  • Our members consistently tell us that lack of time and resource is a major barrier to fundraising, as the provision of core services and other aspects involved in running a charity take priority. This is a feeling that is also felt by other small charities in the sector, as reported in The FSI’s ‘UK Small Charity Sector Skills Survey’ last month.

    Our aim is to help members engage with fundraising in a way that doesn’t detract from the important services they deliver to their communities. In order to do this, we have developed a calendar of ready-made fundraising campaigns, designed to provide an easy way for even the smallest organisations to start building connections with supporters and raising money. We’re happy to say that many groups have reported success through engaging with our campaigns in this way. However, there are some groups that have taken things to the next level, building upon the concept of a campaign to make it their own  – with inspiring results.

    To explain further what I mean, I’m going to use an example from our recent campaign, #LocalHero, and the activities of a community group in Wiltshire, HEALS of Malmesbury, with the help of Alison Cross-Jones, the group's volunteer general manager.

    The campaign - #LocalHero

    We wanted to run a new style of campaign which would benefit our members and incentivise giving in a new way. The concept of “fundraisers competing for prizes” was something we hadn’t tried before, but we felt it had the potential to appeal to all our users, as well as the wider public.

    For supporters who wanted to fundraise, it would be a compelling opportunity to  provide extra support to a local cause. Charity and community group members would benefit from the money and awareness raised and the campaign would provide a  platform for us to deliver advice about how to secure and support fundraisers – a vital income channel for many charities.

    The group - HEALS of Malmesbury

    HEALS of Malmesbury is a community group dedicated to helping local people. As a community organisation (not a registered charity), they have been unable to make use of other online fundraising tools – making engaging with fundraisers difficult. #LocalHero appealed to the group because they felt the ethos resonated with their own mission.

    “We saw the #LocalHero campaign as a great way of inspiring and enabling people in the community to do brave things, to help us help each other is the spirit of the #LocalHero campaign and our group.”

    The group organised a skydive and asked their supporters to sign up - committing to raising a minimum of £350 to ensure costs were covered and a 50% donation level achieved. 13 people signed up, including 3 volunteer firefighters from the local fire station (“Real life heroes” as Alison referred to them), a Town Councillor, plus more doing other fundraising events. The group heavily promoted each hero through their social media accounts and encouraged the "Heroes" to do the same. This created a buzz giving the local press something to write about, while also opening the campaign to a wider audience.

    “There is a real mix of people and it’s great that the communities of Malmesbury and the surrounding villages have come out to support us. Through this campaign we’ve already had more people wanting to fundraise for us. The ability to have a fundraising page through Localgiving and the additional materials offered, will go a long way in helping us in the future.”

    “We’re encouraging them to tell their stories and in doing so they are helping us to tell ours. We’ve designed posters and leaflets, we’ve used lots of the resources available from Localgiving. The local press have covered various aspects of the campaign, which has meant a number of press releases.”

    To support their fundraisers, the group set up a page on their website showcasing each #LocalHero and directing sponsors to their pages. Click below to see it. 

    Although our #LocalHero campaign only included online donations, HEALS of Malmesbury didn’t have the same conditions. After publicity from the press, they contacted local businesses, too - 40 of which pledged to either make a donation or have a collection pot. The group ran a Quiz Night and the three firefighters taking part in the skydive also organised two charity car washes. These initiatives enabled everyone in the community to take part in the fundraising initiative – not just those interested in throwing themselves out of a plane!

    The group set themselves a target of £3,000 and have almost doubled that, raising over an incredible £5,000 in total! HEALS run a high street drop-in support, advice and information centre (run by volunteers) which costs £7,500 a year to run, plus a programme of events and support making their annual budget over £19,000. The success of this campaign will be able to fund the centre for the rest of 2015 and covered more than 25% of the total cost. It has also helped the group build a wider supporter base to ensure its future funding.

    “Sustaining our centre is key to our work because this is the main way we engage with people.”

    Use the fundraising calendar and do the same!

    What we love about the HEALS of Malmesbury is that it built a campaign on top of ours. They used our materials and platform as a stepping stone to reach their own fundraising objectives - and it’s definitely paid off!

    Firstly, they recognised an avenue they hadn’t yet explored with their supporters and wanted to give it a try. Secondly, they piggy-backed on a campaign we laid out for them, maximising the press opportunities and gaining support from their local community. And finally, they helped to promote the fundraisers taking part, ensuring the campaign was a success!

    We’ve just released a fundraising calendar which gives dates and details of the next three campaigns we’re running. If you’re inspired by HEALS of Malmesbury, why not check it out and see whether you can create a plan to build more connections with supporters and reach your targets too!

    Click here to see details of upcoming campaigns on our fundraising calendar!