This month, we’re celebrating our one millionth Justgiving page!
It’s almost ten years since Justgiving started, and as we make a fuss of our millionth fundraising page, we know that it’s your hard work, your inspirational fundraising achievements and your generous donations that make all of this possible, and we’d like to shout our appreciation of the Justgiving community – charities, fundraisers and sponsors – from the rooftops!
To add to the excitement…
We’re giving away £500 in donations!
As a prize for creating our millionth Justgiving page, we’re making a £500 donation to Alzheimer’s Society through Mike’s Justgiving page. And to match it, we’ve got five more £100 donation prizes up for grabs.
Just sponsor Mike through his Justgiving page to enter the draw. On 23rd March, we’ll select five sponsors at random and make a £100 donation to each one’s chosen charity.
Read on to find out Mike’s story and how donations through Justgiving are helping Alzheimer’s Society.
Mike’s grandmother, Queenie Irving, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the year he was born and died when he was 12. Mike was never able to really get to know her, and the experience of Alzheimer’s in the family made a lasting impression on him. He remembers his grandmother doing things like locking herself in the bathroom, burning herself when she forgot that water from the kettle was boiling, and calling cats dogs and dogs cats. As a young child, an adult not knowing such simple things was confusing and worrying.
The emotional strain for Mike’s father and grandfather was considerable, as they watched the person they loved so much lose the ability to do simple tasks. As carers, it was also lonely, because Queenie wasn’t aware that there were any problems, and although they felt frustrated when she forgot things, they also knew she couldn’t help it.
Alzheimer’s affects the whole family. As Mike says, it puts “a strain not only on the sufferer but also the people around them, which makes it really hard to deal with”. Since finding out about Alzheimer’s Society, Mike’s keen to support them to enable both their research into finding a cure and the help they give to families. Through meeting families who have been helped by the charity, Mike has experienced the great work that they do.
When Mike found out that one of his colleagues was also running the London Marathon and had already set up her Justgiving page, he realised he was going to have a bit of fundraising competition. Not wanting her to steal his thunder (or potential donations) he quickly set up his own page and was “definitely glad that the page was so easy to set up” because he managed to get his email sent out first and, in the process, created Justgiving’s one millionth fundraising page.
He’s found that, compared to other methods of fundraising, setting up a Justgiving page is so much easier. It takes away the need to go round twice, once to get signatures and then again to collect sponsorship. He’s also been able to reach a wider audience, using emails and Facebook.
So how’s the marathon training going and what advice can Mike pass on? Here’s what he has to say.
We’re really touched by your story and the impact that Alzheimer’s can have on generations of a family. How did Alzheimer’s Society support your family through that difficult time?
My family were actually unaware of Alzheimer’s Society while my Nan was suffering and only found out about the work the charity does to support sufferers of Alzheimer’s after my Nan had passed away. Since then my family and I have supported the work that the charity does to fund research into the disease as well as provide care and support for both sufferers and carers of those with the disease.
We saw that you did a half marathon last year. Was that your first sponsored run and what triggered you to bite the bullet and sign up?
The half marathon was my first sponsored run – I had never really run anywhere before! I decided to sign up as I really wanted to run the London Marathon and thought now was as good a time as any to get some trainers on and start working towards the ultimate goal…and, of course, raise some money along the way.
You used Justgiving for your half marathon last year, what made you come back this year?
I found that Justgiving was a fantastically simple and easy way to organise fundraising for an event. It only took a minute to set up an account and design a page and then I was underway with raising money.
What improvements to Justgiving would you like to see?
I’ve been impressed with the development of Justgiving and that you can now link your page to Facebook and other websites. But a couple of people who are also fundraising have mentioned that smaller charities aren’t available through the search on Justgiving.
Get your charity on Justgiving – we’ll contact them for you.
How is your training going? Do you have a top tip?
Training is going slow! It’s hard to juggle the miles and a busy job but the fundraising really spurs me on to get out on the streets and raise more. My top tip has to be to run until I get lost as then the only way to get home is to keep running, so I tend to chalk up a few more miles that way!!
Given the current economic situation, have you found it harder to get sponsorship this year?
The current economic climate hasn’t noticeably impacted people’s donations, and I feel it shouldn’t, as everyone can find a few less drinks to have, or DVD’s to buy, in order to donate to a good cause!
Do you have any tips for maximizing sponsorship?
Reaching as many people as possible through as many means as possible is the best way to get sponsorship, as you never know who might take an interest in your cause, or who may have been affected by a similar situation and want to help support your fundraising.
Have you found yourself eating any weird foods to help give you energy?
Hmmmmmm, anyone who knows me will know that I do have a strict cookie diet – not sure if it gives extra energy but it certainly helps with carrying some extra weight during training.
Over the years, 5,612 Justgiving pages have been created to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and these pages have resulted in a total of nearly £4 million being raised online with Justgiving.
We asked Jo Swinhoe, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Alzheimer’s Society, to tell us more about what difference this has made to the charity.
What impact has the money you’ve raised through Justgiving had on Alzheimer’s Society? Are there any examples of how this has changed the business tangibly?
Alzheimer’s Society needs to raise money to support people today and find a cure for tomorrow. Raising money through Justgiving online has had a huge impact on the Society as a whole. With nearly £4 million being raised over the past five years, we have been able to support more people living with dementia and their carers than ever before.
Mike Irving has a fundraising target of £2K – can you point to a particular project that this money will fund?
Mike’s £2,000 could support over 10,000 families with vital advice on how to talk to children about dementia with the society’s award-winning ‘Talking to children about your illness’ leaflet
This Morning presenter, Ruth Langsford, is also running for Alzheimer’s Society and says: “I’m wishing Mike all the success and luck on the big day – he’s running for such a great cause and the Society is so grateful to him and all our fundraisers. I hope people will sponsor Mike on his Justgiving page (I’m also setting one up for my run in the Bupa London 10k, which takes place in May) – it’s so easy to use and every penny counts towards finding a cure for this terrible illness.”
Thanks so much Jo – and Ruth – for taking the time to talk to us and we wish Alzheimer’s Society all the best with your future work.
Amazing what can come from one fundraising page…