Top fundraising tips

Taking on a running challenge like the London 10,000 offers a fantastic opportunity to raise money for charity. To ensure you make the most of this chance to fundraise for a cause close to your heart, we've put together a can't-fail plan to get the money rolling in.

Choose wisely

If you have yet to choose a charity, go for something you believe in or are connected with. Potential sponsors react best if you are passionate and can speak personally about the charity and the work they do. A local angle can also be persuasive.

Online giving

Kick off your campaign by setting up an online fundraising page on Virgin Money Giving. Once your page is live, harness the power of social media by sharing the link to your fundraising page with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Getting your message out on social media is an increasingly effective way to raise funds and update your friends on how your training is going, giving friendly reminders to donate as you do so. Putting your fundraising URL on your email signature is also a wise move.

Be an early bird

Start your fundraising as early as possible, and keep plugging away at it as event day approaches. If you haven't started yet, there's no time like the present! When you get going, make sure you provide facts and figures to back up the charity's work. Saying '£300 pays for five brand new water tanks' is much more effective than a vague mission statement like 'helping the underprivileged.'

Explore every angle

Take the time to make a list of all the people you have access to, and work out the best way to communicate with them. You might contact the majority of them online, via email or social media, but there are likely to be several people who you should contact over the phone or face-to-face.

It can also be worth approaching organisations you're in touch with, such as your employer, sports club or – if you have kids – their school, to solicit their support. Some companies offer a 'Matched Giving' scheme under which you get corporate support – sometimes doubling your money, other times simply matching donations made by your colleagues. Either way, it could be money there for the taking.

Don't be afraid to talk either, if you have access to large groups of people, such as a church congregation or school assembly, then a heartfelt plea could see you reap the rewards for your charity.

Old but good

While online fundraising is the way forward, sponsor forms can still be useful, and can gradually pick up donations if left on reception desks at work, on the counter down your local or on a noticeboard at your gym or sports club.

Bucket-shaking can also help to bring in the money, although It is best to try private out-of-town shopping centres or the main entrances to supermarkets to avoid the bureaucratic and legal difficulties of public street collections in town centres. An even more effective version of this can be gathering a few helpers and offering a bag-packing service at the supermarket.

Recruit helpers

Don't feel like you have to do all the hard work yourself when you're taking on a fundraising challenge – ask your close friends and family to help out too. Encourage them to share your fundraising URL, circulate sponsor forms and generally get your message out to as wide an audience as possible.

Add value

People often respond more generously when they feel they're getting something in return for their donation, so events like a curry night, pub quiz, tombola or coffee morning can be a great way to generate funds. 'Piggy-backing' with a stand at another event, such as a village fete, can also be helpful.

We asked our social media community for their top fundraising tips – check out their ideas below:

  • Zumba night with a raffle
  • Quiz night (you can easily find quiz questions online)
  • Lottery bonus ball sweepstake
  • Charity football tournament
  • Helping out at kids' parties (baking cakes, taking photos and DJing)
  • Selling advertising space on running top
  • Movie-themed charity evening – Dirty Dancing was one of the suggestions!
  • Bingo night
  • Spinning class
  • Silent disco
  • Sports-related sweepstake, such as predicting your race finish time
  • Video games competition night
  • Bucket-shaking outside supermarkets
  • Leaving collection boxes at various outlets

Finally, some words of wisdom from Reverend Steve Chalke MBE, who holds the world record for the most money raised at any marathon after raising £2.33 million at the 2011 London Marathon. He says: "Remember you've got to be passionate about what you are raising money for. If you're not passionate, you can't expect others to be. I put on events, wrote emails, made videos and went to see people. If you want somebody to give you £20 just send an email but if you want someone to give you really big donations you have to invest time in helping them understand your cause."

Happy fundraising!