Find out how to take on the TCS London Marathon for charity 
 
Dave The Running Telephone

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26-02-2024
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Dave the Running Telephone Shares his Top Fundraising Tips

Dave Lock, otherwise known as the Samaritans Running Telephone, has run the London Marathon for 24 consecutive years and has raised more than £54,000 for our Charity of the Year, Samaritans.

He will be joining you on the Start Line in April, so if you happen to see a giant green Samaritans telephone on the route, remember to say hello! It’s safe to say Dave is a fundraising pro, so we asked him for his top tips to help you reach your target.

1) Know where your donations are going

You might be fundraising because you have lived experience of the cause you are supporting. You might be fundraising in memory of a loved one. It might be a cause you have always believed in and now is your time to act. Whatever your motivation, make sure people know the reason behind your passion and what your fundraising aims to achieve.

“The better you know your charity and its mission the better position you are in to explain why it’s important to raise funds,” says Dave.

“Research your charity - what is its mission and objectives? You should know all the important facts and stats and be able to articulate what your donations can deliver, such as five pounds for Samaritans is five pounds to answer a call for help that could save a life.”

Dave says it is important to keep your charity up to date on your progress. If you have hit a fundraising wall, they can give you advice. They might also have a fundraising toolkit for you.

On your lunch break today, head to your charity’s website and learn a new stat about their work.

2) Train in your charity vest 

Two of Dave’s fundraising mantras are, ‘Stand out from the crowd’ and, ‘If you make it easy for people to donate, they will’. This next tip is the perfect example of that.

Dave says: “Always stand out when training by wearing your charity vest. Get your name and a QR code for your fundraising page printed on your vest. If you encounter people on your run, you can get your message across.”

If you haven’t already, create a QR code for your Enthuse page. Check out Enthuse’s support guide on how to do this here.

3) Incentivise donations

Dave says don’t be daunted by your fundraising target, view it as a badge of honour.“Start by setting a high target for your Enthuse page,” he says. “It shows the passion and commitment for your charity because your cause is so important to you. Break it down. If you are raising £2,000, that is two hundred ten pounds you need! It just helps make it manageable.”You can also be savvy by incentivising donations and timing your requests to maximise the chance of people donating. Engage with potential donors positively and enthusiastically, if you can get them laughing and smiling they are more likely to donate.

“Set a performance-based target such as if I run it [the marathon] under five hours you’ll double the donation,” Dave says. “Time your sponsorship requests around payday and always say thank you in person or via a quick call, be genuine in your thanks by showing how much you value their donation and the difference it will make to your charity. When people donate it’s a great thing they are doing and be sensitive because not everyone can afford £50.”

Look at the amount you have left to fundraise and make it manageable. How many tenners is it? And how could you fundraise that?

5) If you don’t ask, you don’t get 

Think about how you can spread your message further than just your immediate circle. Dave takes every opportunity to speak about fundraising, he also gives school talks on Samaritans and if the teachers are able to they will donate.

“Approach the local radio station and tell them about your TCS London Marathon journey, ask local shops if you can put a flyer up. Ask if you can put a poster up in your gym,” Dave says.

Create a list of five people you could call or email in your local area to shout about your TCS London Marathon story.

6) Post pictures and milestone updates

The contact list on your phone is invaluable and so are your social media channels to maximise your fundraising. If you need a hand with social, your charity's fundraising team can help you. Dave says repeat messaging is important: “Don’t just post your link on social media and think that’s done. You need to keep posting every week along with updates of training. It’s important to be open and honest if you are struggling about fundraising - people will help you!”

And don’t be afraid to reach out to people on a one-to-one basis. “Make it personal and speak to people face to face. Run through your phone, get in touch with your contact list,” Dave says.

Call a favour in. Scroll through your contacts on your phone and call one person you have yet to speak to. See if they can help you by donating or spreading your message through their channels.

7) Ask your employer about match funding

You’ve told everyone you are running the TCS London Marathon, but have you told your employer? Some companies match your donations to your chosen charity. It’s called match funding and Enthuse tells you everything you need to know about it here.

But Dave says even if they don’t offer match funding, there are plenty of other ways your employer can help you. He says: “Can you do a bake sale in the foyer? Can they put you up on the staff intranet? Could you add your Enthuse page to your email signature?”

Make sure you’ve told your employer that you are fundraising. Have you sent out a company-wide email with your fundraising link? You’ll be surprised at how generous people can be.
Crowd support for Samaritans at the TCS London Marathon

Use your ballot place to join #TeamSamaritans