Volunteers’ Week is a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. It takes place 1-7 June every year and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
In the first of a series of posts marking the contribution made by volunteers to Narcolepsy UK, our Fundraiser Christine Allen pays tribute to our wonderful volunteer fundraisers:
From making crafts to garnering prizes for raffles, to organising musical evenings, to walks on a cold January day, to walking up mountains … cycling up mountains and even jumping out of planes to skydive … it seems there is nothing our wonderful volunteers won’t consider in their drive to raise funds for Narcolepsy UK.
Each and every one of the myriad fundraising events that our volunteer fundraisers organise across the UK is an essential contribution to our overall fundraising strategy. Charities, like Narcolepsy UK, rely on a combination of grants, donations and community fundraising. Many of the grants can only be spent on specific things. For example, last year our conference in Newbury was part-funded by Big Lottery Fund England – the money that Big Lottery awarded us for this could only spent on conference costs.
Such grants are, of course, essential, but it is also important that the charity has funds that it can spend freely. For example, we may receive a call to our helpline from someone who needs us to support them with an employment tribunal. All such activities incur a cost for the charity (for example, travel, postage, printing, telephone costs) and this where the importance of unrestricted funds really comes into play. Everything we do costs money but we are not able to get grants to cover all of our costs. For example, it is difficult to secure grants to cover things like insurance costs or accountancy costs but these things are essential expenditure – we cannot run the charity without them.
Community fundraising is so important because it brings in unrestricted funds that allow us to meet the general overheads of the charity and gives us money in the bank to meet unexpected costs, such as an overnight dash down to Devon to support one member of our community at her Treatment Decision Review Panel. Such essential support is only made possible when we have unrestricted funds available.
There are so many ways we can help raise funds for our community. Here are some ideas:
Saving the stamps from your mail, asking your child’s school to save stamps;
Organising a coffee and cake morning;
Sponsored activities, such as, cycle challenges, shaving your hair off ...;
Bingo night with donated prizes;
Charity car wash;
Guess the weight of the cake.
Those are just a few ideas, but, if you’d like to learn more about organising a community fundraising activity, please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Chris Allen, Fundraiser