Gillian Clason- Get active and Get fundraising!

06 January 2015
Gillian Clason with Emily and Emma from Children with Cancer UKs running team.
Gillian Clason has been ‘getting active’ for us for the last five years.
She tells us why and how – including her top tips for boosting your fundraising.

 Why I do it?

“I’ve been fundraising for Children with Cancer UK for five years - in memory of my friend's little boy, Henry. He was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of nine months and spent the majority of his short life in hospital. I always say that fundraising for Children with Cancer UK has put my obsession with exercise to good use!

What I’ve done?

I always say that fundraising for Children with Cancer UK has put my obsession with exercise to good use! To date I’ve completed eight marathons, fourteen half marathons, two kilomathons and numerous cycling challenges. My current fundraising total stands at £62,161. I always say that fundraising for Children with Cancer UK has put my obsession with exercise to good use!

Getting active – staying active!

People are always surprised to hear that I hated PE at school, as I’m now completely obsessed with exercise. I go to the gym every day and most days I’ll try to squeeze in two sessions.

I stay active partly to stay healthy and maintain my weight - but mostly I get a massive amount of enjoyment out of it and don’t feel right if I’ve missed a day. I even run daily when I’m on holiday, which most people think is just plain weird!

Motivation is the key to staying active

Because I run marathons and cycle for the charity, it’s easy to stay motivated.  Even on days when it’s dark and cold outside and most people want to stay tucked up in bed, I think of Henry.  I think of all the children and families I have met through the charity. That motivates me to get up and get going!

The more I’ve done, the more I want to continue. The sense of achievement when I reach the finish line spurs me on - it’s a feeling like no other.

Last month I was presented with a Golden running vest from Children with Cancer UK and awarded a local hero award by our local radio station. My friend secretly nominated me.  

Even though I don’t do any of this for praise, it encourages me to carry on when people recognise the time and commitment I put into raising money for Children with Cancer UK.  

Get fundraising  

I’m very dedicated to my fundraising efforts. I created a Virgin Money giving page at the beginning of each year and constantly share it on Facebook. As well as my personal Facebook page, I also have a specific one for my fundraising so I can keep people updated with activities I am doing.

But I’ve undertaken so many charity runs/cycles over the last five years, that it’s become increasingly difficult to get people to continue to sponsor me. So…

I find hosting events a fantastic way to raise money as people feel they are getting something in return for their money. I have organised three charity balls, numerous Zumbathons, afternoon teas and quiz nights. Holding events is definitely the way forward to continuously raising a lot of money.

My charity ball this year raised just under £5,000 and people got an evening full of entertainment. They felt they were getting something in return for helping me raise money. I’m constantly trying to think of new fundraising events to try and keep people interested and involved.

My most successful event so far has definitely been my charity ball this year. The first two years raised just over £4,000 but this year raised an amazing £4,805. It’s a lot of hard work, but when it raises that amount of money, it’s impossible not to do it again! I’ve already booked the next one for 2015.

Gillian’s top tips for boosting your fundraising

  • Host a Ball. This is a great way of fundraising as people feel like they’re getting something in return for their money.                                                            
  • Encourage others to get involved. I’ve organised a Great North Run team for the last two years with great success.
  • Get friends to donate instead of sending Christmas cards. A number of my friends have followed my lead this year.
  • Get people to be sponsored to attend events. For example my zumbathon, where people could either pay to attend or get sponsored.     Two of my attendees in September raised £300 each.
  • Keep people informed via social media so they are constantly reminded of what you’re doing.

What’s next?

2015 is another busy year for me; I’m taking part in the Boston Marathon, Edinburgh Marathon, my third RideLondon-Surrey 100 and my tenth Great North Run. I'll also be hosting my 4th Children with Cancer Ball, Zumbathons, afternoon tea and my first charity summer BBQ.

I will be absolutely ecstatic if my fundraising total could hit £70,000 in 2015 – I’m currently less than £8,000 away from this target. If I can achieve what I did in 2014, it’s definitely possible! This year’s aim was to hit £50,000, but early on in the year I had already accomplished that, and by the end of the year my total reached more than £60,000 -  which proves anything is possible!

Good luck with Getting active and Getting fundraising in 2015!

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