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The School Run: How Adam became a Local Hero

  • It was quite a last minute decision to ask friends and family to sponsor me for this year’s London Marathon as I wasn’t a 100% sure I would make it to the start line after some glitches with my training plan. I really wanted to run on behalf of my sons’ school as we do a lot as a family to support their fundraising as members of their Parent Teacher Association. In particular I wanted to raise some money towards the Russell School’s new playground and outdoor learning space.

    Luckily the charity was already registered with Localgiving so it was quick and easy to set up a fundraising page. It wasn’t until I set up the page that I realised I would automatically be entered into the Local Hero Competition and a chance of winning a cash prize for the charity.

    On the Friday before the London Marathon my wife Hollie asked parents to sponsor me as I was going to be running it on behalf of the School’s Playground appeal. She explained about the Local Hero competition and the fact we could boost our fundraising if everybody connected with the school gave just a little. The timing couldn’t have been better as the children’s assembly that day was on the challenges of running a marathon and Katherine Switzer, the first woman to ‘unofficially’ run the 26.2 in 1967.

    Lots of our own friends and family also wanted to know who I was running for as the London Marathon really is known for being the biggest single fundraiser in the world. It was great to direct them to my Localgiving page and ask them to donate to the playground appeal.

    On the day itself Hollie used social media and updated everyone via Facebook on my progress along the route. As the event was live on TV lots of donations came in and it was clear to her that we might stand a chance of winning one of the Local Hero Prizes. She kept posting on Facebook throughout the day which prompted people to help move me up the leaderboard during the actual event. After the Marathon itself the number of donations meant I had moved up to second place on the leaderboard, so the race was on!

    We knew we only had to secure a small number of donors to move to the top position and the £1000 prize and this was a real incentivize to publicise the fundraising page. The Friends of Hillside school who were in first place understandably wanted to keep their position and so they put on a spurt too!

    Over the final week we managed to take the top spot on the leaderboard but Hillside were in hot pursuit. It really was neck and neck, as we got more donors, so did they! We used social media and word of mouth to encourage anybody and everybody we knew to donate just the minimum £2. This was an affordable amount to ask for, and we explained that crowdfunding worked by lots of people giving just a little.

    I am sure many more people donated to our charity because of the competitive nature of the leaderboard. We had lots of feedback about how exciting it was to keep checking my position and how each person could see how their donation made a difference to the leaderboard, and ultimately our chances of winning the £1000 prize.

    Everybody got into the spirit of the competition and so many people approached us on the school run to say they had donated and were telling their friends. It meant we engaged with lots of people connected with the school’s children that didn’t know about our fundraising efforts for a new playground. We also noticed a few parents who don’t usually come to our fundraisers get involved.

    As the final day approached the race became even more exciting when a third contender shot up the leaderboard. We used social media and school communication channels to again communicate how close we were to winning the prize. The fact there were only one or two donors in it really did prompt people to donate to us, in fact 261 individual did!

    It was that close right up until midnight on the closing day and we had absolutely no idea if we had done it when the competition closed. We nervously waited for Localgiving to validate the results but celebrated the fact the competition had helped us raise £2630 in sponsorship alone. This far exceeded my expectations and just showed how much could be raised for the children when everyone chipped in. It was clear the leaderboard race had kept many school parents engaged as many wanted to ask about the nail biting results the following morning on the school run.

    It was a fantastic feeling when the results came through to say I was top of the leaderboard and Local Hero 2017. This feeling wasn’t because of being the winner personally, or a hero as such, it was just a great way to thank everyone for their individual support and donation. It also felt like we had helped the other charities in the same way, i.e. the leaderboard race had prompted their supporters to donate when perhaps they might not have otherwise. It was a win, win situation for everyone concerned, if not a little nerve-racking!

    The £1000 prize is a significant amount to aim for and a real incentive to enter the Local Hero competition. We all know how much effort goes in to raising a £1000 from scratch. The prize has given the whole school community something to be proud of and a substantial boost to our fundraising. The Russell School is a small community school that is undergoing some exciting change and the new school building has been erected on the original playground. The children aged 3-11 have been so patient whilst the building work is carried out. It’s just fantastic that this Localgiving prize, along with all the money donated, can go towards making the play and outdoor learning space great for them. The whole school community pulled together. We are proud of the Russell School PTA and what we have achieved by working as a team during this competition.

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