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Paul Carter

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‘Running’ for charity – our 12 month challenge


The appetite for cake and bake sales has diminished and the shake of the collection tin makes everyone keep their heads down. It’s time to get running…

‘Going the extra mile’ may be an overused mantra for employee engagement but if your charity of the year campaign is stagnating, salvation can be found in people willing to go an extra 13 to 26 miles. If you don’t want to ask your chief executive and senior management team to do a sponsored parachute jump from a great height, it’s time to get running.

Forming a running team can put your charity partnership back on the news agenda. Baby boomers and X and Y generations coming together to show there’s no ‘I’ in team but only one ‘I’ in winner. The race is on to be number one!

A company that cares

Adopting a corporate charity promotes a commitment to corporate social responsibility, In an era where increased awareness of the growing inequality in the UK is coupled with the national obsession with measuring happiness and wellbeing.

As Tracy Chapman once sang, “You better run, run, run, run, run, run…talkin’ about a revolution”. It’s time to rise up against the post-recession hangover and run for a better tomorrow. 

The partnership may be between your company and the chosen charity, but HR is always responsible for making the campaign a success.

Picking the event

A marathon is a great fundraiser, but may be a step too far for office workers with busy lives, and many baulk at the registration fee and fundraising pledge. Split it down the middle. The half marathon is affordable, far enough to be a challenge and will attract runners who want to achieve personal best times, beat their colleagues or just finish with a smile on their face.

Road race or extreme obstacle course. North, south, east or west there will be an event to enter. Pick the event, form a team, then the race is on to get the fundraising thermometer moving in the right direction.

But who will win? Charity, of course.

Top tips for forming a running team

1. Anyone can join the team – You need a motivational team leader to attract runners from different areas of the business to avoid it being perceived as an exclusive event for head office. Reassure people that anyone can be a runner and remember they are not just running for the charity and work, they have their own goals to achieve as well. Also consider cycling, swimming, triathlon and IronMan events.

2. Schedule a team photo – With flexible working and busy diaries, it can be nigh on impossible to arrange a team photo. Get one in the diary fast or make a montage of mug shots.

3. Make it a race – Add a competitive edge to the race to make it more exciting for the team members and employees. This could be a competition between the fastest runners, different departments or even a race against competitors in your industry for bragging rights.

4. Bust the myths – The runners are not asking colleagues to pay for the run. The runners have to pay the entry fee and agree a fundraising pledge with the charity.  All donations go to the charity.

Follow my fundraising efforts

The Insolvency Service has raised around £70,000 for its adopted charities since 2008. Our running team has grown from two to 12 people in three years and we are running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 11 October to raise money for Together for Short Lives, a leading UK charity for children with life-threatening & life-limiting conditions. We will be racing against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills running team who are raising money for the disability charity Scope. Check out my team’s story by clicking here   

Top tips for charity of the year campaign

1. Our charity – Draw up a shortlist of charities for your employees to vote for. If you want their support, they need to pick the charity.

2. Don’t forget it’s a partnership – The charity needs to provide a communication and fundraising strategy to help you arrange events and raise awareness of the difference your company will make if it meets the fundraising target.

3. Charity network champions – You need contacts in every directorate and regional office to collate fundraising stories, get people involved in corporate events and manage local donations.

4. Don’t be workplace chuggers – People do not want to feel pressured into making donations in the office and may be suffering from donation fatigue. Get your comms right, show people you care and set up an online donation page. Those who want to donate will donate.

5. Keep track of donations – The various fundraising methods can make it hard to calculate the total funds raised. Ask your finance team to create a charity account for cash collections, cheques and personal donations. Having a team online fundraising account means any fundraising accounts can be linked to that page. 

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Paul Carter

HR Writer

Read more from Paul Carter

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