#StopTheKnot – The fundraising backstory

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On the 28th of February after hearing about my successful assessment centre day for ICS Challenges I started my fundraising campaign. The 28th isn’t really the correct date that I started – I actually had been thinking about what I could do from the assessment centre, forming a whole campaign people could get involved in. I decided it would be funny, engaging but with a serious undertone. Hence I used the hilarious #Stoptheknot YouTube video and played on that – I formulated what I needed and set about creating on paper. Once the idea was mapped out I would pitch it to family and friends to see what their thoughts were.

Once happy with the initial plan, I wrote up my story, conducted a relevant photoshoot, created a short poorly edited video AND perfected up my Just-Giving and Facebook page (without going live). I set up how people could donate e.g. online or by text (knot88 in my case). I got a few friends to donate before launch to give me more traction and to look more established. Once set I put everything online on FB at peak time (7-9pm Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and got as many friends to share as possible. Before I knew it my old school friend’s mums were donating!

It wasn’t just about social media, I also emailed everyone I knew, used linked in and my parents sent texts and emails to all their friends to. The email campaign was particularly successful with teachers old and new donating and giving messages of support. I also believe that because I was donating my hair it quantified what I was doing as sometimes it can be hard to empathise with poverty all the way in Africa. It’s also important to communicate that this money is not funding your trip! People will not be happy to pay for a holiday.

After 8 weeks I had surpassed the £800 fundraising target by £357.25 – bare in mind that the halfway deadline set by ICS was Monday 25th April. So by planning ahead and having an engaging story I kept my campaign short and sweet and didn’t annoy everyone with the constant posting. Initially, I hadn’t expected to reach this just by cutting my hair and I was expecting to do bucket collections and the like. However I think having a story and something engaging that people follow brings it into their lives.

I was very fortunate but I spoke to a multitude of local hairdressers and organised with one salon in particular a PR stunt as it were. They cut my hair for free and even donated! All in return for a news story and to be a part of the campaign (advertising to my 130 something followers). If you get the chance or see the opportunity try to work with a business as it can be mutually beneficial!

So my 5 key tips:-

  1. Start Early
    • Think of an idea and think about why people should care- what makes you unique?
  2. Prepare
    • Don’t just put some spiel about how you’re saving the world with an empty just giving page – most people won’t take the time to read it.
    • Why would they read some long bland post when there’s a video of a Chinese man putting a water filled condom over his head just below? The internet is a fickle place.
  3. Create a FB page AND connect with Challenges!!
    • Use your pre-existing networks to get a bigger audience!
    • Keep followers updates
      1. Post daily on more appropriate sites like Instagram or twitter to connect with followers and keep them reminded
      2. Don’t just ask them for money just keep them engaged with interesting pieces
  1. Not everyone is on Facebook
    • Use your parents email and yours to connect to work colleagues etc.
    • Every outing is a sales pitch! Tell everyone you meet what you’re doing à they might even donate!!

 

Challenges I faced:-

  • Maintaining motivation throughout (Have several different themes or sub-campaigns e.g. I did a series of funny challenges on YouTube)
  • Consistency with posts and enthusiasm (we’re busy people set an hour a day set aside to post and create content
  • Converting people who are watching to donate (In this regard talking to people was much more effective)
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