I wrote an opinion piece for Third Sector last week, about a great example of events fundraising in Scotland.
In case you didn’t read about it, I thought I’d share it with you here.
In the summer of 2008, Scope and Capability Scotland joined forces to run the ‘Beyond Boundaries: Ben Nevis Challenge’.
The aim was to raise awareness of their work whilst forging new corporate partnerships.
TV presenter Ken Hames, who in the BBC’s Beyond Boundaries programme led groups of disabled people on treks around the world, approached Scope to suggest a race between teams of able-bodied people led by wheelchair users.
Hames offered to recruit the teams at his motivational training courses.
With a modest budget of £20,000, the organisers not only had to promote the event and arrange for professional marshals to be stationed at points along the route, they also had to commission special wheelchairs for the team leaders.
Eight teams of seven people set off at 15-minute intervals, starting at 6am. Each team aimed to raise £10,000, to be split between Scope and Capability. Two failed to complete the race, but still reached their target, with the event generating net income of £60,000.
Extensive print, radio and TV coverage was secured and participants posted videos on YouTube, including the following:
This is surely events fundraising at its best – partnership between charities, hard work behind the scenes, celebrity involvement and endorsement, several teams, corporate partnership and a tough challenge. But most of all, this was a great idea; and it is this spirit of innovation that drives all good fundraising.
Responding to Ken Hames’ suggestion and harnessing his enthusiasm as they did, the organising team were on the right track from the start. Getting his involvement in recruiting teams was inspired.
However, the success – and that pretty well sums up £60k net income – was only possible because of the fundraising teams’ willingness and ability to work collaboratively. Such collaboration is rare, but the public loves to see it and both organisations will have been seen in a positive light as a result.
The media attention ensured multiple objectives were met: income was boosted, awareness was raised and wider staff morale must have been lifted. And most importantly, by involving wheelchair users in the event, its overall value would have been immense – everyone involved on the day, and people who read or heard about it, will have been given a lasting impression of how able people with disabilities are.
Events teams at Scope and Capability Scotland – you deserve a raise!