The C-bomb

James Radford and Carl Villiers fundraising for WCRF

James RadfordJames Radford is a long-time supporter of World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). He ran the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon for us and this year the Great North Run. Here he shares some of his top tips for raising money for charity.

I’m James and I’ve lost three members of my family to bowel cancer: my nan, mum and aunt. After my wedding day – not having my mum there to enjoy it was heart wrenching – I decided that I didn’t want anyone else to endure what I have been through with this unforgiving disease. So, I decided to run the London Marathon for WCRF and formed ‘The Beard & The Twiglet’ (AKA me and my friend Carl Villiers).

How to fundraise

Do I have the answer to the holy grail of fundraising? No I don’t, but one thing I do know is that you have to give people something nowadays and people like a disco, they love to party and fancy dress is always a winner! And if you have a personal connection to cancer then don’t be frightened to share your story. People love an emotional connection with the person they are watching or talking to. If you feel the emotion don’t hide it, tug at people’s heart strings.

I guess you need to think big. Do something to maximise the number of people, because the more people involved the more donations you’ll get. Unfortunately, the whole nature of solo fundraising means you have to up your game every time. So maybe get a small team together; friends, family, work colleagues.

Utilising social media

The best way of getting donations is on social media, it’s the biggest asset you have. Most people are on Facebook or Twitter, so when you’re doing something tell them about it. Sadly, we are a generation glued to our phones, so exploit it! Think about the times of day you’re posting and catch people when they are most likely to be active online.

For example: during the week before 9am when people are having breakfast, lunchtime when people are on breaks at work, or after 5pm when people are getting in from work or commuting are ideal. Friday nights are a great time to catch people too, as so many of us stay in to watch TV but will always get our phones out at some point to order a takeaway and scroll through Facebook, so post a donations pitch!

Weekends anytime on a Saturday and Sunday are a good time to post something too. But always keep posting stuff; if you have 5 minutes post and update on how your training is going and always include your donations link – people don’t want to have to search for it. Mine’s here if you would like to donate to my efforts!

Live feeds when you’re training are a brilliant way to get donations, people like to see your pain and sweat.

Get involved with the charity you are fundraising for, share your story with them, and include them in your social media posts so they can share this with their followers. They’ll most likely have more followers than you and they can reach more of their supporters.

The Beard and the Twiglet

Carl and I dreamt up the ‘Treadmill Challenge’ last year and we’ve been going around asking public places, like superstores, if we can hold it there (a big thank you to store manager Matthew Checkley for his continued support). People always have loose change when shopping, but nobody likes a person shaking a bucket so you have to work for that loose change!

Another important point is always know your charity. People will ask you questions about who you are raising money for and what they do so be sure to have the answers. We built a display board with the answers on so people could see for themselves while we ran like crazy on treadmills.

We have found that raffles at charity nights are always a winner; people like the thrill of a game of chance so don’t be afraid to ask somebody or businesses for prizes, if they say, “No I can’t help you mate,” that’s fine move on to the next person. When we organised a raffle, we must have walked around every shop and business trying to get something for nothing, but it was all worth it in the end.

• To sponsor James for his Great North Run you can donate here.

Thank you to Narce Media for creating the video.