We first met Dee Jackson on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, when she tweeted about her good experiences with Justgiving.
Impressed with how fast she managed to beat the fundraising target on her Justgiving page (and enjoying all her cheerful tweets), we asked if she’d tell us more and share her tips with all our fundraisers.
So here she is.
Congratulations on the run! What were the highlights? Were there any low points and what kept you going?
Thank you! I was really nervous as I could really have done a bit more training to be honest – but the weather was so-o-o-o bad in the summer, I just didn’t get that many miles in. On Sunday morning, when I saw the rain cascading down, my heart just sank! Luckily, by the time I got to the start about 11.00 am, it was only spitting. I was more than a bit miffed when an 8 foot high “Paddington Bear” went past me at 1-1/2 miles, but I overtook him back six miles later! Every time I started to flag, I looked behind me at the team of soldiers PUSHING a land rover (in aid of wonderful new charity, Help for Heroes) and I got a 2nd wind!
Can you tell us more about the Royal Marsden and why it’s great?
When I did the London Marathon in 2001, I ran for Macmillan, who had been a huge support to me and my family when my husband Peter was ill in 1997. This year, my brother-in-law Nick has spent six months being looked after at the Marsden in London, having a really gruelling chemotherapy for a nasty lymphoma. Two weeks ago, we heard the fantastic news that he is now in remission; so I realised: all the more reason to run.
How did you approach your fundraising? Did you have a strategy for contacting people/promoting your page?
Until about then, I was secretly thinking of how I could wriggle out of running so, apart from idly mentioning the idea to a few people, I really hadn’t done any fundraising at all. I didn’t even do my Justgiving page (www.justgiving.com/dees10miles4themarsden) until the Monday before the run and didn’t e-mail out the link until the following Thursday! I felt a bit nervous asking for sponsorship, when I know that everyone is tightening their belts at the moment, so I tried to couch the e-mail in very jokey “please don’t feel obliged, but…” terms.
How did you expect people to respond? Did they surprise you? How many times have you upped your target?
It turned out I had nothing to worry about! Within about three hours of the e-mail, my initial target of £500 had been seriously exceeded. (the Marsden only ask for £250 per runner…) I had to up it regularly over the next few days and in fact, had to put it up to £1600 on Tuesday. The money is still coming in as well and it looks as if we are going to have the best part of £2,000 for the Marsden.
Have you got any good fundraising tips to share with anyone who’s struggling to meet their target?
Both times I’ve raised money on my own, I’ve had a very personal reason for doing so and I think that really helps – don’t be afraid to highlight that personal reason to your sponsors. All the way around the Great South Run, I was constantly touched and moved to read everyone’s shirts, with the photos and stories of whom they were running in memory of. Luckily for our family, and thanks to the Marsden, I wasn’t running “in memory” of Nick. This time, I also knew that many family friends had wanted to make a gesture when Nick was bravely having his treatment and I suspected that making a donation to the Marsden would be an easy way for them to do so.
Have you got any feedback for Justgiving? What worked well/how could we improve?
My own marathon was pre-Justgiving.com and I can still remember how difficult and tricky it was to get people to make good their pledges. Not that they didn’t want to donate! It was just a hassle. Justgiving makes the whole process so easy and several older sponsors (from my mother and father in law’s generation) were very impressed with my page, the site itself and with how easy it was to sponsor! I also made sure all my Facebook friends knew I was running by posting the link to my page really regularly and making jokes about my unfitness in my status updates.
Twitter also really came into its own! About a week before the run, I tweeted to ask how frequently my Tweeple thought was acceptable to tweet for sponsorship. The consensus from all the DMs was: about once a day for seven days – so that is what I did – making sure I tweeted the link to my page, made jokes about my lack of fitness and subtly talked about the Marsden regularly. I also tried to vary the time of the tweet so all my Twitter friends in Oz and the US knew what I was doing. I was absolutely overwhelmed by how many of them actually donated!
Thanks so much for your feedback Dee and good luck reaching your *new* target for the Royal Marsden.
If you’ve got any ideas or feedback for us, including fundraising tips you’d like to share, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org