Latest Four Reasons To Fundraise (And Ideas To Get You Started) Most people would agree that charities make our communities better places to live and many would like to support the causes they care for. Yet not everyone can afford to make regular or one-off donations and volunteering isn’t always possible either. Fundraising for a cause you care about is a way to do something in the time you have. It’s also a great way to meet and build connections with like-minded people, learn something new, and studies show it can help you to feel better in your own skin. It’s a great way to make a difference - not just for ‘your cause’ but for you and the people you meet through fundraising too. We’ve pulled together a few reasons why fundraising is so good for you and the cause you care about that you should give it a try. We've also included a few ideas to get you started. Raise awareness of the issues you care about No matter how far and wide you decide to promote your fundraiser, either at your school or workplace or by contacting your local radio and newspaper, you’ll need to talk about the people you have chosen to fundraise for, what they do and why it is important to you. By getting involved in a fundraising event, or running one of your own you raise awareness of the issues you care about and the organisations that are working to address those issues too. In turn, this can lead to more support for addressing a particular cause. It’s like dropping a stone in a pond, you create a ripple that moves out to touch everything in that pond. Here’s what one of our fundraisers said about why they chose us as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. “I chose Freedom because they help anyone who needs it, you just have to go along [to the Day Centre] and they’ll help in any way they can. I had no idea so many people were affected by these issues [poverty, social exclusion and homelessness] in our area, before I got involved I thought it was more a big city or urban problem.” Create a community to create change The very fact that you’re out there asking for support for your event, means that you’re interacting with those around you. By doing so you are creating the beginnings of a community interested in the issue you’re fundraising for, people that might want to go on to support that cause in future now that you have made them aware of it. Social media is a great way to increase and prolong the momentum for this. Kirsty Sobey, who fundraised for us through her Great West Run last year, said “I set up a Virgin Money Giving page and a Facebook page which I could put updates on so people could see my progress as I trained. I explained why I thought Freedom were so important in North Devon and the kind of work that they do to help anyone who needs it. [It] brought Freedom to people’s attention and that’s important because the work they do is just so good for our local area.” Increase your own health and wellbeing Many fundraising events are focussed on physical challenges, which are obviously good for our physical health due to the nature of the challenge. But did you know that simply by getting involved, reaching out to your community and doing something that is not just for you, is good for you? Fundraising can provide a mental pick-me-up, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase levels of oxytocin - which helps us feel connected to others, increases empathy, feelings of wellbeing, and protects various parts of our body from illness. “When I realised how much I raised – I left my fundraising page open for 6 weeks after the run for stragglers and people who wanted to support me after the event, and then obviously if people pay tax you can get it Gift Aided which gives you another 25% on top of their donation. That was really good and it definitely gave me a lift, or a buzz about what I did.” Give yourself a little extra motivation to reach a new goal Lots of people chose to reach a goal, or try something new for their fundraiser, and there’s a really good reason for this. When you are working towards a goal, not just for yourself but for someone else too, you have a little extra motivation to keep at it. If you give up or don’t give it your all, it’s not just you who you’d be letting down but also the people who believe in you enough to sponsor you, and of course, the charity you are raising funds for. Fundraising can definitely affect how you feel about achieving the goal you have set for yourself. Kirsty says she wasn’t really a ‘natural runner’ when she decided to take on the Great West Run, “I was definitely more motivated to do the run; the motivation to just go out and randomly run 10 miles would have been zero before I was fundraising. But because I was doing it for someone else by fundraising, it made me do it and made me want to do it more.” If you’re stuck for ideas on where to get started… The tried and true ‘physical challenge’ is a good place to start if you are reasonably fit and active already. The Great West Run is relatively local and they hold races each October, giving you enough time to get in shape over the summer months and give it a go. Skydives, triathlons and the London Marathon are also a few options, but don’t feel limited by these, with a little planning and thought you could organise almost any physical activity as a fundraising opportunity. There’s also a bunch of things the less active can do too - extreme haircuts, cake stalls, quiz nights and sleeping rough for a night are all-time favourites. You really are only limited by your imagination, so why not try something a little out of the ordinary? You could organise a go-kart race, a variety show with local talents, a night of music, a knit-a-thon, or even a read-a-thon. Whatever it is you plan to do, Freedom Community Alliance has a load of help and advice available on their website which is free for you to use and download. Setting up your own fundraising campaign on our website is easy!