From Couch Potato to Spring Onion!

Graeme took on an incredible challenge last year in aid of Kids Club Kampala. He has written this blog post to share his fundraising experience:

Last year I undertook the challenge of a lifetime. I decided that in 2015 I would run 2015 miles and try to raise (at least) £2,015 for Kids Club Kampala.

It is a bit of a vegi-tale as some years ago I was a couch potato and two and a half stone heavier than I should have been. I started walking 6 miles a day to and from work. More significantly, I became more disciplined about what and how much I consumed. By the following year I got bored with walking and started walking to work. I had shed that two and a half stones in weight and about two and a half decades in attitude. Things that I had lost the impulse to do (like bound up a flight of stairs) had returned – as had a “can do” approach to aspects of my life. I transitioned from a jogger into a runner and enjoyed the physical and mental challenge of trying to improve my running form and times.

During 2014, an idea formed in my mind to take on a personal mileage challenge of running 2015 miles. “Now that would be a real test of my running”, I thought. So I gradually formulated a project that involved raising money for two of the charities I support (Glasgow City Mission from my hometown and Kids Club Kampala): I would raise £2,015 for each, a total of £4,030 and would journal my year of running in a weblog to inform supporters of my progress and encourage others to contribute. My 67 blogs can be accessed in my journal at www.2015miles.co.uk.

For many of my runs, I wore the black KCK T-shirt and felt great pride as I somehow connected with the fantastic work that is developing in Uganda. During my running year we had the privilege to host an “evening with Samuel Wambayo” and many of my supporters came to our house to learn directly of the project as well as hear from Olivia and Corrie. I certainly was inspired by what I heard to finish the course that I had set myself.

I completed my challenge in mid-December 2015 and was delighted to be joined by supporters to cross the finish line at my local 5k parkrun event – a special moment. When my final fundraising tally was calculated (and including Gift Aid) I had raised almost £11,000 in total of which £5,000 was for Kids Club Kampala.

Corrie asked me if I would share something about my running year and give some suggestions to anyone who might be considering a fundraising challenge for Kids Club Kampala – so here goes:

-          Stretch Yourself

If a fundraising proposition is to attract willing support then people need to be impressed with what is proposed and that it represents a significant challenge. Growing a moustache and asking for money is simply not good enough in my opinion (well, for guys anyway). Take time to think up something that would be an impressive achievement.

-          Consider Longer Challenges

Having a year-long project is a bit extreme but there are advantages if you can take on something that lasts longer than a moment, or a day, or even a week. The longer time period allows you to build awareness, generate more support and develop a fundraising campaign.

-          Do Something You Enjoy

I would have taken on my 2015 miles challenge last year even if it had not been a charity project – because I enjoy running and was physically and mentally ready to face it. For longer challenges it is good to construct the project around something you enjoy doing. All the motivation you can get may be required so doing something that you hate may not end in success.

-          Try To Include Others

On my website I created a page called “Fellowship of the Run” where others could sign up to join me for a mile or more of my 2015 miles. I also invited people to join me on runs through social media. To round off the year, I ran my first marathon distance of 26.2 miles on Christmas Eve. Two of my supporters offered to run with me for part of the route which was a fantastic help to me when I hit “the wall.” Including others in your project will help you and also spread the word about KCK through these supporters.

-          Use Give.Net for Contributions

Both of 2015 miles charities has their fundraising website agencies who have ready-made templates to suit your project with opportunities to upload updates, photographs of your challenge and links to your own blog. The sites will provide you with a tally of how close you are getting to your fundraising target which is good to check as the contributions start to come in. Using Kids Club Kampala’s fundraising website also means that you do not need to handle any money or keep track of cash – just ask people to access your site at Give.Net.

My best wishes to anyone who is thinking of a fundraising challenge. May God bless you as you dedicate your efforts to such a worthy cause. As for me, I am transitioning from a runner into an athlete (which is one who trains and competes in his or her sport). Though not for money, I will wear my black KCK T-shirt for some forthcoming middle and long-distance events in 2016 – which will put a real spring in my step. So my vegi-tale goes from couch potato to spring onion! While I can, I will run and be thankful to God for it.

Want to take on a challenge like Graeme? Click here to find out more and contact us.