Saturday, 15 March 2014

Fundraising - Part 2 - How We Did It

This is the second part of my 3 part blog on fundraising.  Part 1 described our situation, how we came to fundraise and the challenges we faced.  I hope this post will be more positive and will give other families an idea of where to start as it describes what we did.

As soon as we decided to start fundraising we were directed to the charity Tree of Hope.  A close friend recommended the charity to us after it helped her family.  The charity offers a number of services to families like ours; details can be found here: and an excerpt from their mission statement is:
'Our mission is to transform the lives of sick children and empower families.
Tree of Hope offers hope to the families of sick and disabled children in the UK who need specialist medical surgery, treatment, therapy and equipment in order to free them from suffering, giving a better quality to their young lives'
We approached the charity via email regarding fundraising for the eye gaze computer and later for other therapy equipment. Within hours we were connected and Tree of hope quickly helped us to setup a JustGiving page dedicated to Macsen:  The charity assured us that any funds that we raise would be ring fenced for Macsen and would be used to buy his equipment when we need it.  

As all funds are managed by the charity including payments it gives donors and fundraisers the confidence that their money is being spent correctly.  The team at the charity are always helpful, supportive and have helped us throughout our journey.  Working with the charity also brought us other benefits:

* VAT exception - the charity have VAT exemption on most items
* Gift aid - donations can increase by 25% with giftaid using sites like JustGiving and VirginMoneyGiving 
* Opportunities - working with a registered charity opens up extra fundraising opportunities.  Large organisations normally require a charity number and like the safety of the overseeing charity commission 
* Experience and support - the charity has lots of experience of dealing with selling organisations and in some cases could influence discounts

Our amazing friends and family supported by Tree of Hope took the opportunity to help us and ran with it.  Without them we would not have achieved anywhere near what we have over the last 12 months!  Here are an example of some of the fundraising activities that were organised for Macsen:

* Kids fun day - our friend Hayley Beddows booked a community centre for a few hours during the school holidays, organised a tuck shop and raffle. A local company Sandcastle Entertainment also offered a free bouncy castle and entertainment. 
* School disco - our friend Jo Barrow organised a school disco after school one evening.  They charged for entry and the tuck shop.
* Macsen Rocks (Band and Auction Night) - 2 local bands: On Like Kong and The Shuffle played at our local rugby club where we auctioned a number of rare collectors items (
* Craft fair - 10 local crafters came together and paid for tables at our craft fair.  It was based in a community centre in Mumbles where there was very high tourist footfall ( 
* Curry night - our friend Natalie Mccombe organised an event at a local Indian restaurant where everyone paid a fixed sum and a proportion went to the charity (
* ASDA - we were selected as one of ASDA's community supported charities along with another Tree of Hope child.  We were included in the green token vote and shared 3 months worth of 5p carrier bag charges for a large superstore.
* Pub Fundraiser - A local group led by my cousin Corinne organised a charity night at local pub. They had singers, donations for dares and a raffle.
* 3 Peaks - Gene Morgan did a crazy 3 peach challenge to raise funds for Macsen
* Fighting for Macsen - My brother in law David Smith took part in a white collar boxing match and was sponsored by his friends and colleagues.
* Community Bike Ride - A local group came together for a mammoth cycle ride.  We hadn't met any of the riders before and even when they tragically lost a member of their team (Paul 'Jakey' Driscoll) they were very committed to helping our cause (

We also have some ongoing fundraising activities:
* The Killay Cooperative supermarket has a collection tin on each of its checkouts for the remainder or the year.
* Our friends Jo and Marc Barrow are running the Barcelona marathon in support of Macsen (
* Our neighbours Warren and Alex Mccombe (father and son) are planning a huge bike ride on Father's Day in support of Macsen (

My wife Lisa and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us through this time, whether it be fundraising, donating or any way else, you are amazing!  My next post will show what your donations have bought and how they are benefitting Macsen.

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