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A half-marathon, not a sprint – the role charities can play in your business

Since lockdown restrictions eased a few months back, I’ve found myself making the most of my time. Taking up any social event I’ve been invited to and visiting friends and family at any given moment.

Lockdown was hard for everyone, but it helped me realise I wasn’t spending my time wisely, doing the things I wanted with the people I wanted to do them with.

In the past few months I’ve surfed, celebrated birthdays in person, took part in Tough Mudder, saw a show in London, attended a wedding and had my first experience of the famous Cavern Club.

Not long after getting back from Liverpool, I was posed with the question:

“Do you want to do a half marathon?”

I laughed and politely declined, as I think the majority of people would. We’ve been cooped up for the best part of a year and a half. “Lockdown weight” is a thing, right?

Fast forward several drinks in ‘Spoons later and I’d signed myself up.

On November 14th I’ll be taking part in Run Alton Towers Half Marathon. That’s 21 and a bit kilometres around the village of Alton. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to help raise awareness and donations for a charity.

I’ve signed up, I’m committed now. Where do I start when it comes to supporting a charity?

Firstly, you need to decide which charity you’d like to support. We find it’s best to support local charities or ones that you or a family member have had close contact with.

For example, the charity I’ve chosen to support is Lymphoma Action. They’re the UK’s only charity dedicated to lymphoma, the fifth most common cancer.

Last year our family friend Sophie was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s, which then spread to her bone marrow, causing her to become stage 4.

Lymphoma Action has been fantastic for Sophie and her family, providing booklets and information on the disease itself. They hold a forum page that allows people to ask questions and is a space for anyone with the same cancer to share their story and journey so far.

For patients, family and partners who find it hard to cope with the disease, they also facilitate counsellors and nurses who can help with any concerns and questions.

Choosing a local charity, or one that’s close to you helps provide a larger impact, compared to working with nationwide charities.

For example, a £100 donation to your local food bank could provide four families food for a week, whereas for a larger charity, that amount can get lost. People like to know how their donations are being used.

Lymphoma Action has broken down how donations help them, so £35 could help to:

  • Provide one hour of support via our helpline service, which is free to anyone living in the UK and provides a vital listening ear and safe space to ask questions
  • Produce and distribute two packs of award-winning information to someone newly diagnosed with lymphoma to help them understand their disease and the support available
  • Create and send 45 copies of Lymphoma Matters magazine, which includes personal stories, medical opinion pieces and the latest updates on lymphoma.

Not sure who to support?

Create a shortlist of charities and hold a poll allowing clients to vote for their preferred charity.

Ask your colleagues or clients for their preferred charity suggestions. You can then whittle the list down to around six to eight charities and hold a poll.

Keep the poll open for around a month, allowing time for everyone to vote.

Once the votes are in you can share which charity had the most votes. It’s a great opportunity to spread the word on social media to gain interest.

I’ve chosen my charity – what’s next?

Next, you need to decide how you’re going to fundraise for your chosen charity. It might be through client referrals (for example £50 per referral that turns into an initial meeting) or through events throughout the year, bake sales, charity walks or even half marathons…

Set yourself a target and aim for it

For example, your aim may be to raise £1,000 within the year. However you decide to raise funds, you need to let people know about it. Share your goal with everyone. Ask clients, family, friends and colleagues for their help.

I set myself a JustGiving page up, with the following information:

  • Who I am (Ellie)
  • What I’m doing (running a half marathon)
  • What my goal is (to raise £250)
  • Which charity I’m supporting (Lymphoma Action)
  • Why I’ve chosen that charity (Sophie’s story to give context).

I then shared the link with friends, family, and work colleagues.

You can also get in touch with your chosen charity and ask them to share your link, to help raise awareness.

Lymphoma Action has been in touch with me and are happy to share.

Keep people in the know

Once you hit a milestone, share your progress! It’s a way to celebrate small wins and thank clients who’ve donated/referred people to you.

It’s also great to remind clients about the work you’re doing to support local charities and how their contributions are helping too.

Not long to go

Incredibly, I’ve now exceeded my goal of £250. Donations are up to £300 with just under a month to go!

I’m currently halfway through my training plan. I’ve given myself eight weeks to prep for this half marathon, which is crazy. But knowing I’m raising money for a great cause and the supportive messages I’ve been receiving all help me to keep pushing myself.

If you’d like to support Lymphoma Action with me, please click here to donate any amount you can.

Hopefully, this has helped you understand how to support a good cause. If you want to start supporting a charity, we can help. Get in touch with us at or call 0115 8965 300.

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