Run 30 minutes a day for 30 days to raise funds and awareness for Les Bourgs Hospice was the challenge. In theory, that didn’t sound too difficult I naively thought! The event is one of a series for Les Bourgs, which encourages islanders in Guernsey to do something every day for 30 days – there is something for everyone, a craft one, a cycling one, a walking one and the most popular is 30 Bays in 30 Days where participants swim in a different bay around Guernsey every day throughout July.
Liquid has been working with Les Bourgs Hospice for many years but despite working on raising the profile of many of their fundraising challenges, I have never done a 30/30 until now. The reality of finding the time, energy and motivation to go out every day for 30 days was far harder than I imagined. Juggling work, home life and the demands of two very young children meant I rarely pulled my trainers on any earlier than 8pm, by which stage it was dark and cold. There were also a couple of days when circumstances meant I didn’t have the time, which would then mean longer runs to ensure I was on track (thankfully allowed under the “rules”).
A humbling experience as thousands of miles run by islanders
On Sunday, the challenge came to an end with a group run. More than 350 islanders signed up and nearly 100 of them turned up to celebrate their final effort. Thousands of miles run, most of them in Les Bourgs Hospice t-shirts, lots of social media updates raising even more awareness and more importantly thousands of pounds raised for Guernsey’s only hospice which cares for islanders with life-limiting illnesses. It was quite humbling to see the effort that people make.
Getting creative as a charity brings huge benefits
And that really should be a lesson to all charities. Long gone are the days where a charity could send out dozens of letters asking for donations and sit back and wait for the cheques to arrive in the post. Charities need to be creative and think harder about ways in which they can engage with people and businesses who can provide them with support – be it time, money or pro bono services.
This week, the Guernsey Community Foundation will hold its annual community awards where it celebrates charities and charitable giving. The shortlist contains some common themes – fundraising events and challenges, people power to make a difference and companies keen to add value rather than simply write a cheque.
Charities need to be strategic in their approach
As a communications consultancy working with many Channel Islands’ businesses, we are often involved in deciding which charities and voluntary organisations they support. Letters asking for a donation to operational costs are increasingly declined as they don’t offer the company the chance to be actively involved or to take ownership of an event.
Charities need to be more strategic in their approach. They need to engage and involve people or risk being left behind and potentially then face a funding crisis which will impact on the very causes they are trying to help. It’s not rocket science and there are plenty of ideas that others have done before which can be adapted but it does take time, creativity and communication.