Findacure workshop – “Engaging your community for Fundraising”

Fundraising helps charities to make a difference for rare disease patients by supporting research, community events and awareness campaigns. At the end of April, Findacure hosted a workshop in London with several speakers sharing their experience of fundraising.

Libbie Read and Mary Rose Roberts, from Findacure, introduced the fundraising theme and gave a talk about how to engage your community for fundraising. They mentioned the benefits of community fundraising: the financial side; unrestricted funding; gift aid; raising awareness; educating; engaging new audiences; building support by establishing new relationships and growing existing ones. They gave examples of fundraising events including ones organised by Findacure  – gala dinners, firewalk, London marathon, pub quizzes, etc., and discussed in detail the planning of a fundraising event, dividing it in different stages and suggesting the steps to follow for each stage:

Initial planning:

  • Outline your fundraising idea
  • Identify your stakeholders
  • Define aims and objectives
  • Consider what is achievable
  • Set a budget – prepare to compromise
  • Remember to check the calendar


  • Assign tasks
  • Set a schedule and make note of deadlines
  • Secure funding
  • Promote – marketing and communication is essential
  • Remember to expect the unexpected.


  • Follow up with participants
  • Collect feedback
  • Evaluate
  • Claim Gift Aid

Robin Marshall, from the AKU Society, talked about putting together special fundraising events. He talked about the things to consider when:

 Planning a budget:

  • Equipment hire
  • Prizes
  • Transport
  • Insurance
  • Fees for licenses and permissions
  • Return of investment
  • Hidden costs (have a contingency plan)

Choosing a venue:

  • Meet objectives
  • Fit the audience
  • Travel costs

Organising a team:

  • Staff/volunteers
  • Time commitments
  • Particular expertise needed?
  • Define roles/responsibilities

Callum Appleby from the Bone Cancer Research Trust gave an exciting talk about fundraising with challenge events. He started by highlighting that challenge events make people achieve more than they think it’s possible. They are events that take people out of their comfort zone, it can be anything and it varies from one person to another. Challenge events can be pre invested or own place events. In pre invested events, the charities buy places in these events from either the event organisers or 3rd party’s acting on behalf of the organisers, the costs can vary, buying places means charities have secured places and can ask people to raise sponsorship in return for a place. In own place events there is no investment by charities. People secure their own places in the event then take part for an organisation and the amount a person raises is completely up to them. Callum mentioned the importance of choosing a successful event by asking questions such as:

  • Is the event well established?
  • Does the event sell out?
  • Does it fit a gap in the market?
  • Is the event popular amongst your target demographic?
  • What makes the event special?
  • What is the cost? – Ensure high return
  • Location and support costs

In special eventsrecruitment can be a challenge, so it is important to build a database of contacts, to offer incentives, to have a call to action, to reach new audiences and to explain clearly the need for support.

Sharmila Nikapota from the Sohana Research Fund gave a presentation about special fundraising events for your community such as gala dinners, auctions, etc., that have a high level of entertainment and that make the participants feel special, have a good experience and reward the organisers.

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