The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. – How I wish this quote didn’t reflect traits of my character, unfortunately, it does.

Who doesn’t love coming into work on a Monday morning to hear your manager has set up a gruelling 48 mile fundraising campaign in order to raise funds for the company’s charity partners – NSPCC Northern Ireland. I was leaning towards participating BUT waited for someone else to take one for the team until I heard “Are you sure you would be able to do this, it is 48 miles?” *characteristic traits kicking in.*

Putting my pride aside I knew the significance of this campaign and the difference we could potentially make for hundreds of children and young adults across Northern Ireland so all in all that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to endure those 48 miles.

Having worked with the NSPCC for over a year now I’ve seen and experienced the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from a fundraising perspective to ensure there are enough funds and donations generated to ensure capacity for calls to be answered around the clock from NSPCC & Childline’s selfless volunteers.

Since COVID-19, NSPCC NI have lost a huge fraction of their funding. With big events cancelled such as the London, Belfast and Edinburgh Marathon which was estimated to bring in over one million pounds in sponsorship not only this, but the charity also saw their volunteer numbers drop drastically by 30% following the pandemic. Large investments were needed to provide IT equipment for volunteers to work from home in order to meet rising levels of enquiries from vulnerable children and young adults who were ultimately ‘trapped with their abuser.’

Before I began creating the brief for this campaign, I wanted to delve deeper into the spine-chilling statement ‘trapped with their abuser’ in order to really emphasise on the urgency of this campaign that we were promoting. 48 miles meant nothing and everything at the same time and that is where ‘The Power of 4’ was created.

  • 4 Participants.
  • 4 Miles every 4 hours.
  • £4.00 for NSPCC volunteers to answer a child’s call for help.

Everyone will agree with me when I say Covid-19 has affected all of us in one way or another, most people will have been affected financially to the point in which charitable donations fell to the bottom of their ‘must do\must pay’ list, understandably so. I knew this was going to be a barrier that we would have to knock down, how? = CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS VIA QR CODE COLLABORATING WITH JUST GIVING.

Cash Card is king, especially during lockdown where everything has been done within a click of a button, QR codes are somewhat new to us and recently been introduced to nearly half of all restaurant and cafe menus across the UK so we’re slowly becoming very familiarised with the concept.

PR events that we would have hosted in our efforts to increase donations as a pre-cursor to an event in the past were no more…thanks Covid-19. Taking this in my stride, I knew ultimately that if there was ever a time to heavily convert and promote to cashless donations, that time was now.

We set up a Just Giving page and went from there, we got ‘The Power of 4’ t-shirts embroidered with an unmissable QR code in an attempt to entice passers-by to contribute. £4.00 for NSPCC volunteers to answer a child’s call for help was highlighted in everything that we did. As we were asking for £4.00 as a starting point it was important that we considered people’s financial positions were, to no surprise the correlation did not add up – the less we asked for, the more people chose to give. A good strategy to use as it eliminates the aspect of expecting people to give a higher amount than what they are comfortable with, leaving them to only negotiate with themselves.

The generosity of local businesses across Belfast was so overwhelmingly beautiful, seeing people come together and contribute different items was very much appreciated by our team who went out and informed them of our campaign. I know I said above we went cashless; however, we didn’t go 100% as all of the items donated by Taboo Donuts, Lidl NI and many more generous companies had to be put to good use and realistically if you work in Belfast or any other city for that matter following lunch hour nearly everyone has a pounds change lying about somewhere = RAFFLE.

Alongside our promotions as Charity Partners, NSPCC NI were also re-sharing and promoting our campaign to their audiences. Our promotional efforts got the attention of some key people who we wanted to reach out to, you can see below prominent campaign features which really boosted exposure levels.  

  • Having NSPCC NI Fundraising Manager on as a podcast guest.
  • Having David Tait, NSPCC ambassador who climbed Mount Everest five times in aid of the NSPCC and raised over £1,000,000 send us a video message of support.
  • NSPCC Trustee Lady Brenda McLaughlin write us a letter of achievement post event.
  • Full coverage on the ‘Love Belfast’ site in promoting of the event.

Ultimately, I can confidently say…I will never run 48 miles in 2.5 days ever again (and have not ran since) but the tremendous feeling of achievement is something I’ll probably remember for a long time. The blood, sweat and tears (no joke) were all worth it in the end up, not only did we exceed our £5,000 target and end up raising £10,282 but our efforts will see over 2,000 additional calls being answered when children are in their time of need and that’s the only thing that matters.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to help out a charity that’s close to your heart, everything is appreciated and nothing is too little.

Domilia Timonyte is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram and LinkedIn.

One thought on “Fundraising through a Pandemic – The Power of 4

  1. Such a brilliant read Domilia, you done an amazing job, a challenge not for the faint hearted! I do remember asking you how the 4am run had went – the 4th keg of the challenge and you said “not too bad”!! Having such little sleep and rest in between legs of the challenge – running/yomping every 4 hours.. you all deserved to smash your fundraising target, but you did much more than that. The # oowerof4 team have raised enough money to support over 2500 children this Christmas and for that, for you, we are extremely grateful. Many thanks for having the tenacity and character traits that you do – without people like you we couldn’t do the work we do at NSPCC NI. Thanks, Joanne x

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