Louise's fundraising tips

Louise has taken part in the Aspire Channel Swim every year since 2016, to date raising over £1,855.  As this year’s Swim started, she was already in the top 10 on the leaderboard, having raised almost £500.

Fundraising is tricky

To ask family, friends, acquaintances to tip up for yet another good cause, especially when there are so many out there. This is where Aspire comes into its own by allowing participants to make it easier to fundraise by building the JustGiving page from the start and combining personal input to capture people’s interest. ‘Your Story’ is a great introductory piece on the JustGiving page and a gentle way of asking people to donate.

I never over promise how much I might fundraise by typing in a huge amount because you don’t want people to feel obliged to give silly amounts of money. I know £25 needs to be raised to cover the medal, hat, registration etc so I say start off with an attainable amount, and if it’s not clocking up, you can always donate a little yourself as well!  But the £5 and £10 donations do mount up.  People give what they can afford and it’s important to accept whatever is offered with grace and thanks. Some people will give you money when they see you and say to put it on the sponsor form. I prefer the amount to go straight on my JustGiving page so that those people can see Aspire has received it immediately. It’s about keeping them involved from the start.

Louise 3 Aspire Medals 2018 Crop

I never ‘ask’ for donations

I extol Aspire’s virtues’ the work they do, the people they support and the many ways they encourage participation, such as the actual Channel Swims, other open water swims etc, which are all fascinating and relevant.  Each year I just keep trying to make more ‘noise’ knowing that there are so many other causes out there, and other swims too. Every little helps and I’ll just do my best.

I also explain to my supporters why I continue my support for Aspire. Who knows what’s in store for us? Accidents happen. People are born with limited mobility and I believe this world should be accessible to all of us no matter what our physical abilities are or how we’ve ended up with them.  

The fact that Aspire tells me that doing an activity I love can generate funds to help people achieve independence is awesome!

I keep it personal

I tell people about my dad, who died in 2016; how he taught me to swim as a young girl and how he broke his back in his 50s but never had the support of a charity like Aspire.  The story is true and human, never mawkish or over sentimental. People like human interest stories.

I know some very generous people; £250 of the amount I’ve raised so far is from two individuals. Family members who are delighted that I’m so healthy and getting fitter as well as being aware of my reasons for swimming. And this is my secret with all the other people, I may never meet but who are my Facebook pals. They like my story about my dad, Aspire and the fact that I’m determined not to snuff it…yet!

And my own secret weapon? 

Last year, I used vintage photos in my Swim Update Facebook posts pretending these odd bathing beauties are some distant female relative with swimming or sporting prowess from back in the day. I make them a little cheeky in tone, risqué but never rude and my friends, family like them and look out for them.  When I post updates I include my JustGiving link. A great amount of money is often down to my friends taking to a fictitious Great Aunt Fanny or Chastity Brown!  It’s silly but amusing and keeps people watching. That’s why this year’s moustache/French theme is inspired because I’m already using it on posts to thank people, and once I get the challenge well under way, I’ll break out the ‘family albums’ again.

Do something that makes the Challenge unique to you

Utilise a personal aspect. I decided to do it differently this year, to up my game and did a 5 hour swim one Saturday. My friends and family knew I entered the water at 8.00am and climbed out at 1pm. Something different and unique (perhaps odd!) for a 53 year old woman, but it’s something most people wouldn’t contemplate doing.

Most people haven’t swum 22 minutes in the pool at any one time let alone 22 miles, so it’s about contextualising what a massive challenge and commitment it is. I’ll be doing a couple more big swims to up my mile count. And if all else fails, I’ll threaten to pose naked for a swim calendar clad in nothing but my Aspire hat and medal if they don’t cough up some money! 😊

Decide what makes your challenge personal to you and yours!

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