Thinking outside the box

Brought to you by Volunteer News

Our fundraising volunteers play an absolutely crucial role and we simply couldn’t help so many people without them. With more people than ever facing cancer, every pound that’s raised for our vital services counts. So when it comes to fundraising, there’s never been a better time to be inventive.

To get the creative juices flowing, Volunteer News spent some time with a group in Wales who have been trialling some innovative approaches to fundraising. 

The Pontyclun and District Fundraising Group explained that by building relationships with local people, they are supporting and encouraging them to fundraise in fresh new ways.

‘It’s all about establishing a rapport with people in the community,’ explains Edwina from the group. ‘By chatting to people in local businesses you can empower them to come up with their own ideas.’

A cut above

Local hairdresser Bernie (pictured in her salon), came up with the idea of asking her customers to put any tips into a Macmillan collection box. As a brilliant hairdresser, she gets tips galore, so this thoughtful initiative has racked up a hair-raising £2,000. 

‘I hear clients talking about friends and relatives who have cancer and it’s good to know that I’m helping them in some way,’ says Bernie. ‘Putting tips into the Macmillan box makes them feel good too.’

If the shoe fits

Another brainwave came courtesy of Wayne (pictured top), the owner of the local shoe repair shop. Rather than charging his customers for minor jobs such as putting extra holes in belts, he started asking for donations to Macmillan instead. This simple idea is making a huge difference, and his fundraising total currently stands at more than £1,300.

‘It’s often difficult to know how much to charge customers for small jobs so I ask them to put a donation in the Macmillan box,’ Wayne explains. ‘It’s a simple way for me to do some small thing to help people, and it has a positive effect on me too.’

Bags of ideas

The Pontyclun and District Fundraising Group have found that another fruitful way to fundraise is by placing hand-made ‘token bags’ next to collection boxes in shops.

‘They’re sweet little fundraising items,’ says Edwina. ‘We make a small bag and pop in little tokens like a teddy bear for the days you need a hug, a shamrock for when you need luck, and a penny for when you’ve got no money. We took them to the local florist, and they’ve become so popular there that people are actually approaching us to request them as wedding favours! That’s really helped us to boost our fundraising income.’

Creating long-lasting alliances

Edwina believes that one of the secrets of creating great relationships with local businesses is showing them how much Macmillan appreciates their efforts. 

‘We create “Thank You” posters for each business, saying how much they’ve raised for Macmillan over a specific period of time,’ says Edwina. ‘It’s a tangible way of showing what they’ve achieved, as well as letting them and their customers know how much Macmillan appreciates them. We are so grateful, we want them to feel really proud of their efforts.’ 

Inspired to find some innovative fundraising ideas to try in your community? Take a look at The Little Book of 101 Big Ideas. From guessing the amount of chocolate bars in a fish tank to hosting a quiz night, you’re bound to find the perfect money-spinner.