Sponsorship with a Do-ifference

Posted by Charles Price Campaigner and shop volunteer, Manchester

2nd Jan 2013

Tough Mudder Birthday

I guess it was at some point in the middle of the summer we never had, that I decided to enter Tough Mudder; a mud-centric, water heavy 12 mile course strewn with troubling obstacles, all designed by our very own British Special Forces. I couldn't think of anything more fun for my 35th birthday party....and I had given it much consideration.

As with many of these undertakings, marathons and such like, there is the inevitable raising of money for a nominated charity. It wasn't so much that I felt this was tried, tested and rather old hat, but that I was looking to raise sponsorships without relying on hard cash; something new and innovative...

Sponsoring Actions not Money

After some research, I came across DoNation; a site that allows you to raise sponsorships, or pledges, through the actions, or omissions, of others and people donate by doing something green. For instance, you could reduce your food waste or walk to work. I chose 'cool cleaning'; washing my laundry at 30 degrees. If it might seem self defeating to sponsor yourself financially to reach a target, setting yourself a DoAction as part of your challenge does not.

Set on the Cholmondley Estate in two degree centigrade Cheshire, on the 17th November, I started and completed the Tough Mudder course. Here's a short video that gives you an idea of the grand time that was had doing Tough Mudder:

What did I achieve?

At the end of the day, I raised 11 pledges, with each pledge set over a two month period, and made potential savings in carbon emissions of 157 kg of C02.

Thanks to the statistics wizards at DoNation, that's equivalent to producing 1,963 bananas.

Three people pledged Tea Time. That's 19 kettles being boiled more efficiently every day; 1,159 kettles being boiled more efficiently over the two months.

The most substantial saving came from a friend who pledged to Eat Seasonably. She has been eating an extra 77 meals with seasonable local veg.

There are pros and cons, as it does require a sustained effort on the part of the person pledging as against just parting with a sum of money; then again, it doesn't require parting with cash, and in many instances, will result in a financial saving...and green bonus points!! Further, perhaps people don't see the same pathway from donor to charity to charitable recipient with this kind of sponsorship (and that flow or pathway is essentially the same for any charitable donation, be it with Oxfam, The MS Society, Shelter or any other charity). As a result, it may take a little more persuasion and explanation to get people to pledge and perhaps goes a way to explaining my only gaining 11 pledges; roughly 20% of the number of people I'd asked to make a DoNation.

Money or Action?

Money is still absolutely crucial for charitable organisations, for aid, for health care and education projects, for long term infrastructure and development programmes in the developing world, for cancer research and research in AIDS/HIV, for homelessness and housing issues and onwards.

Yet, there are still so many little things that we can do ourselves, say in the context of addressing climate change, in the comfort of our own homes; using less water for brewing tea, recycling, composting, not wasting food. So, financial donations to charities are vital, but take a look at DoNation's DoActions the next time you think about raising sponsorship from friends, colleagues and family, if only as an alternative ....

Blog post written by Charles Price

Campaigner and shop volunteer, Manchester

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