Beat London Marathon charity fatigue

Me running the London Marathon in 2009

Me running the London Marathon in 2009

As I prepare myself for the start line of my fourth London Marathon this Sunday, I’m finally experiencing charity fatigue.

I’ve asked all my friends and colleagues to donate money over the previous three runs. I’ve still largely got the same bunch of mates, so I feel guilty about asking them again.

So I’ve come up with a few ideas to raise a few more pennies for my charity. Here are 10 of them (I’ve done quite a few myself already).

Some of these may be a bit late for those running in London on Sunday, but hopefully they can help you in future charity quests.

  • Bake cakes. You should easily be able to make a few cakes for a couple of quid. Hopefully you’ll be able to pull on the heartstrings of your friends to buy them.
  • Raffle something. I recently got engaged and bought a house, so I’ve been given a few bottles of champagne which are just sitting in a cupboard. So I’m going to raffle these for £1 a ticket. In the past I have also contacted local restaurants to see if they would offer vouchers towards meals in a raffle. A surprisingly large number said "yes" — you just have to be confident when you ask, and be prepared to take a "no" with grace. 
  • Get on eBay. No, don’t go buying more stuff you don’t need. Instead look to your cupboards. Is there anything there you can sell to make a few quid on? I’m sure you would rather keep the profits yourself. But ask yourself: would you have gone to the effort had it not been for fundraising in the first place?
  • Give your time. Do you have skills that people want? If you are just about to run a marathon and have trained, there will be a lot of people inspired by you. Why not offer a training pack to your friends? Charities often ask you to raise a certain amount. But if you don’t reach the target, contact them to see if you can donate some of your time instead. It’s worked for me in the past.
  • Get sponsorship from an organisation. Offer a local business a square of space on your running vest and allow it to have a logo printed at a cost.
  • Have a race-themed sweepstake An easy one is to guess your race time. Have an entry fee and say the winner will receive a quarter of the total amount entered, with the rest going to charity.
  • Open up your music playlist. If you plan to listen to music during your event, turn your song selection into a jukebox and let people pay per track. Thanks to shared playlists and Spotify this is easy to do. But if your friends are anything like mine, be prepared for a diabolical selection.
  • Get on social networks and blog. It’s free and you can advertise your campaign to anyone who will listen. If people have been able to follow your journey from the start, they may be more inspired to throw in a few more pennies.
  • Chat to your boss. Companies can get tax relief on charity donations, so it’s not as big a cost to the the company as it is to an individual.
  • Remember Gift Aid. Remind anyone who donates directly to your charity to register for Gift Aid, where the charity claims back the tax they’ve paid on each sum donated.

Check out our Charity Giving guide for more tips. You can suggest charity-giving ideas in the comments section below or in the MSE Forum.

And if you want to donate to my two charities, Vision and Havens Hospices, here’s my charity page: www.virginmoneygiving.com/NeilLock

My colleague Sally Francis is also running the marathon on Sunday for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Here’s her charity page: www.virginmoneygiving.com/SallyVLM

Update, 24 April. I was slightly under the time I would have liked, coming in at four hours, nine minutes. A massive congrats to Sally too who beat me to the line by a minute or so. As I walk down each stair in pain I can’t help but wonder what next, having got 5 marathon finishers’ medals.