Over the past couple of years we have seen an increase in donations, which has enabled us to develop our Support Network thus far, and we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to raise funds for us. As one of our volunteers wrote in a recent guest post, every little bit helps and it doesn't take much to make a real difference, if everyone gets involved!
But we know it can be difficult sometimes to know just how you can help. What can you do that will make a difference? How can you fit it in around increasingly busy lives, around work and family commitments, and during a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet themselves?
Well, the answer is that there is a lot you can do. And most of it is really easy too. We've compiled a list of some of our favourites, which we hope get you started!
So how can you help?
- Consider setting up a monthly donation to PSS via direct debit. You can do this easily via Virgin Give Money. It does not have to be much – just £3 per month (the cost of a cup of coffee and a cake) will go a long way! In fact since we discussed this at our annual conference earlier this month, PSS has increased its monthly donations by £45 thanks to a handful of delegates setting up monthly donations.
- When shopping online, try and use systems such as Easy Fundraising and Give as You Live . These systems are so easy to use and do not cost you a penny! You simply sign up, choose PSS as your charity, and download a little widget. Every time you shop online at a participating store (you’ll be surprised at how many stores are involved in this), it will ask you if you wish to turn donations on… if you click yes, the store will donate a percentage of your total spend with them to PSS. This percentage varies between stores, most give around 1.5-2% but some give up to a staggering 8-15% and all at no extra cost to you!
- If you attend any local groups, or know of any independent local businesses, ask if they would be willing to have a donation pot for PSS. This means that when people visit and see the pot they may consider giving some of their spare change to charity. A local maternity clinic or ward may also consider having a donation pot.
- If you work, find out whether your employer would allow you to hold a fundraising event for PSS. Earlier this month we received over £600 from Home Loan Management in Skipton that was raised during such a fundraising drive. Many employers will also consider “match funding”, which means they will match whatever you raise, thereby doubling your donation. Large organisations such as supermarkets also often have fundraising initiatives that their employees can take part in, so it is always worth checking with your employer if there are opportunities available.
- Consider getting the whole family involved in some form of sponsorship. We’ve had supporters complete sponsored runs and walks, but we haven’t really seen many HG survivors (as in the children) taking part. People are often very generous when children decide to do a sponsored activity for charity, and so you could do a sponsored toddle with preschool aged children (perhaps with a local parents group) or a sponsored bike ride with older children who have just learned to ride unaided. We even know of someone whose 4 year old did his own “mini triathlon” last year for Sports Relief.
- Make the most of seasonal events… Christmas is coming up and that can be a great opportunity for fundraising ideas. You could hold a craft stall with Christmas gifts. Or if you don’t want to send Christmas cards this year, why not donate the money you would have spent on them to PSS – quite a few people choose to do this, it seems. Another fantastic idea was suggested at the conference by one of our delegates – why not set up a stand somewhere and offer to wrap Christmas presents for people in return for donations. It’s easy to come by cheap (or free) wrapping supplies – a lot of people have some leftovers they would be willing to donate or shops may donate some for a good cause. And with increasingly busy lives, a lot of people would happily pay a donation to get their gifts wrapped for them, saving them time in the run up to Christmas. Finding a place to do this may be difficult, but a local church hall or a drop off and pick up point at your child’s school or nursery may be an option too.
This list is far from exhaustive and there are plenty more ideas out there that you could use to fundraise for us. Why not see what other people are doing and see if it's something you'd like to try too?
As we've said before, every little bit really does help and we are grateful for each and every donation, no matter how small. And if you're planning a fundraising event, do let us know, as we can showcase it here on the blog for you.