My first effort at fundraising was during a cycle ride from Sydney to Perth, coast to coast across Australia in 2008 and I was pleased to raise a little over £1,000 for Macmillan.
Without any training, very little preparation or time on a bike, many of the contributions from my family and friends were donated out of sympathy knowing how under-prepared I was for a 3,000 mile cycle and how tough the challenge was.
Being a solo cyclist provides great freedom to do as you please but it did mean having to approach fundraising individually too. Immediate family and close friends were supportive from the moment the idea was announced (after the laughter had died down), but beyond that I found it very difficult to reach a wider audience.
In the time since first pulling on the Macmillan green I’ve looked for ways to involve a wider circle of friends and work colleagues rather than feeling like you’re shaking down the same members of your family.
Think of your fundraising as an extension of your normal social habits. If you and your workmates enjoy a cheeky pint (off-season of course) then organise a quiz night, Karaoke or raffle. Choose a night mid-week when your favourite restaurant or local pub is quiet and see if they’ll donate a percentage of their takings from the night if you fill out the pub.
Appeal to the rumbling tummies of your colleagues with a bake or cake sale and rather than taking on the responsibility of feeding an army of work colleagues, ask if any of them want to help bake.
I’ve often felt guilty about asking friends and family for sponsorship knowing how many JustGiving pages they’re asked to donate to, so just think of a way to show them a good night or an incentive that also benefits your fundraising.
A cycling marathon may not gain the same level of attention as a 26.2 mile run but it’s a great physical challenge that friends and family will be only too happy to show their support to.