Have fun in an action packed bike race.
So, it's the New Year - what better way to start it than by vowing to make a difference. Do you want an amazing experience and to help someone at the same time? Well you can, by going on a charity challenge.
Raising money for charity brings about connotations of serving tea to old ladies and shaking money boxes under people's noses - whilst these are no doubt successful ways to raise money, these days there's something better, something for those who have a little more adventure pumping through their veins.
Why sell popcorn and candy when you could be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? Why hassle people with a collection box when you could be taking your first steps along the Great Wall of China?
Yes, these are just two of the many amazing things you can do to help raise money for your chosen charity. But actually the list is endless, every year more and more charities are signing up to this new way of fundraising and every year the list of adventures just keeps on growing.
What Exactly is a "Charity Challenge?"
A charity challenge is an exciting way to raise money for people in need. The charity challenge emerged roughly 20 years ago in the United Kingdom. In recent years, the charity challenge concept has grown steadily and become more refined around the world, with many charity organizations taking advantage of a unique platform for raising money.
Participants essentially choose an activity, most popular are trekking or cycling in a country abroad, and collect donations from sponsors for doing so. Participants are given a target amount to reach before being allowed to participate in the challenge, as well as a fundraising deadline.
People do charity challenges for different reasons; some have personal connections to their chosen charity, whilst others just want to make a difference and enjoy an adventure. Whatever the reason for signing up, participants are guaranteed an experience like no other (not discounting the huge sense of achievement at the end!).
Trek across the Great Wall of China.
How to Participate in a Charity Challenge
Step One: Find a Charity and Sign Up!
First you need to choose your charity - once you've decided what organization you'd like to raise money for, go to their website and check out the list of activities they offer. What you choose is really up to you; perhaps there's a country you've always wanted to visit, a landmark you've always wanted to see, or a goal that you've always wanted to conquer. Whatever it is, a charity adventure can be one sure way to help you achieve.
So whether you want to hike Machu Picchu or cycle across Jordan this could be the year you make it happen! Generally speaking, participants will have to pay a small, non-refundable deposit, in order to sign up. After that, it's all down to fundraising - remember those little old ladies who want to buy your cookies? They may be a good starting point!
How much you will need to fundraise depends on both the charity you have chosen and the adventure that you have signed up for. Most, however, will hover between the $6,000 and $8,000 mark (hint: it isn't exactly easy to raise this sort of cash!). Remember your motivations though to help you on your fundraising journey or are feeling tired from the effort.
It's important to keep at the forefront of your thoughts that this is not a glorified holiday (which you will almost certainly here more than once from begrudging givers along the way). This is your chance to make a difference, and who says you can't have some fun along the way?
Step Two: Fundraise your Heart Out!
Now that you've signed up, selected your charity, and committed to raising the money, it is time to kick your fundraising into high gear! There are many creative ways to reach your goal, ranging from soliciting donations to holding a bake sale. Potential donors will react differently depending on how you approach them, so do consider how you approach people when asking for money. Remain proactive, focussed and positive throughout your fundraising venture. It's amazing what you can achieve with a smile and a good dose of enthusiasm.
AWESOME FUN-DRAISING IDEAS
- Host a yard sale! - Got a lot of old things you could do without?
- Hit up those old ladies! - Coerce all of those old ladies to your home and sell them cups of tea and mini cakes. They'll love the chance to get out for a bit and you'll get ever closer to hitting that target.
- Organize a community raffle - you'll be amazed at just how generous people and local businesses can be!
- Shave your head - this is guaranteed to make you a lot of money in a short space of time - be sure to advertise well before hand and invite people to come along and watch.
- 40 more crazy ideas to fundraise your travels
Here are some other best practices that charity challenge participants swear by when fundraising
Set Up a Fundraising Account: It's the perfect way for family and friends, both near and far, to give you their donations with an online fundraising platform. You could use the obvious (Paypal) or take advantage of some more creative online platforms (GoFundMe or myTab come to mind!).
A Justgiving webpage is another example of an online donation website that allows people to give money to your charity directly via the web. It's 100% safe, and in fact, charities all around the planet are beginning to use this for donations. The payment will be taken straight from a bank card and deposited into your charity's account. They can see who has made the payment and it even offers a little percentage bubble so you can easily keep track of your fundraising.
Reach out to your networks: "Pester" (er, politely remind...frequently) your family, friends and neighbors to contribute; focus your efforts on educating and creating awareness for great cause you're raising money for. Online social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are both excellent tools for this kind of thing, as you can reach your networks in an instant.
However you will probably find that you're still a long way off your fundraising goal after those closest to you have given what they can. This is where that positive attitude is really going to help you. It can be extremely hard work to raise so much money; stay focussed on your task and you'll find the funds will eventually build up.
For more inspiration on how to fundraise, you may want to check out Charity Challenge and Easy Fundraising.
Perseverance is definitely the key here, don't get down when ten outlets in a row point you out of the door because the next one might just be what you need! If you fancy a challenge this year, select a good cause, find an adventure and sign up now! You may find yourself reaching base camp on Everest by the summer!
Check Out These Charity Challenges!
- Find Challenges with Realbuzz
- Participate in the Janus Charity Challenge
- Have your pick Global Adventure Challenges
- New in town: Moolta
Photo credits Marie Curie, lampertron, Steve Fareham, paulshaffner, LoggaWiggler