Three years of recession have made the fundraising environment particularly tough. We just got a rejection from a funder today for an excellent AKU research project. The problem was that they received 40 applications, but were only giving out three grants. That’s less than 10% success rate… And they used to be a soft funder – one with a high rate of success. We got another rejection earlier this week from a trust – no explanation apart from the fact they are oversubscribed.
So what are we going to do?
Step up our fundraising.
That’s right, rather than feel all sorry for ourselves, we’re going to increase our attempts at raising funds for our work. It’s the only way to do it. So we’re going to keep on writing the applications, learning from our mistakes, and hopefully, we’ll bite soon.
In fact, there was a ray of hope a couple of weeks ago when a British trust gave us £9,000 towards our AKU research and said that they would give more if they were happy with the results. We’re also making good headway with a pharma company for a small grant.
Nevertheless, it got me thinking about how we can mobilise our patients and their networks to raise funds. And I think this is something all rare disease groups should be doing. So here’s our plan:
1. We’re going to ring up two AKU patients every day for the next two months. We’re going to update them on our work, find out how they’re doing, and then ask them if they’d like to join our fundraising efforts. For instance, we have places for the London 10k run in July, which is an excellent opportunity to get people to fundraise. I’m sure some patients will have friends and family who’d be interested.
2. We’re going to aim to get 10 people to raise £1,000. That’s £10,000. Not a huge amount, but it can go a long way in a small organisation like ours.
3. After the event, we’re going to ask those 10 people each to recruit three more people for the next event. That will enable us to grow our numbers year on year and turn this into a more sizable fundraising movement.
Why don’t you do the same for your patient group? Let me know how it goes.
I did a 10k Military Run on Saturday to raise funds for the AKU Society. Have a look at these pics…
It wasn’t actually as bad as it looks, thanks to a bit of training beforehand. And, believe it or not, it was fun. Overall, I managed to raise just over £1,300, which isn’t bad.
The challenge for rare disease groups is that we’re often asking for money from the same people: our friends and family. They’re very generous if you approach them once or twice a year – as I do. However, if you need to raise more funds, then you’ll need to widen your pool of people who do sponsored events for you. This year, we’ve had two such events so far: a parachute jump by an AKU supporter, which raised £1,500, and my 10k run. It would be great if we could have someone doing something every week. If we had an average fundraising of £1,000/event, that would be £52,000/year.
So that’s what we’re going to work on: getting more friends, family and other supporters to do more sponsored events. It’s fun, it raises awareness about the disease, and it brings in crucial funding.