See how we adapted a 5k fun run to raise money remotely
Author: Formus Professional Software | Nov 2021
As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, we have been reflecting on our organisation’s charity involvement and events of the last year or so.
As a business it has been remarkable to witness the genuine positivity and determination of staff throughout the complications of the pandemic, to continue to support charities no matter what.
Rather than stopping altogether because we can’t hold the usual bake sale, we have now realised that it is possible for corporations to continue to support charities creatively.
We are all finding new ways to be supportive, have fun and stay safe!
Raising Money for Charity Remotely
Around this time last year, on November the 5th 2020, a second national lockdown came into force in England, rendering public fundraising events and gatherings impossible once again.
In this same month Formus Professional Software (FormusPro), had planned a sponsored public event to raise money for Anthony Nolan – one of the world’s leading stem cell research and transplant charities.
“We were all set to hold the event publicly, in conjunction with Halo Leisure Centre and the Hereford Racecourse.
The plan was a 5k, fancy dress fun run around the track in early November 2020.
Of course, we knew there was the possibility of another lockdown but planning for the best-case scenario felt like the way to go. When the news came in, we had to think on our feet.
Image credit: Eric Bond/EGPAF
Like millions of other people in their work and not-so-social lives, rather than give up, we adapted.
It was important for us to do this as a company. It was as much for our team morale and internal connectivity as it was to raise as much as possible for Anthony Nolan.
As a business FormusPro were all now working from home, so the solution seemed simple; why not run from home as well? And so, the remote run was born. “
Jenny Wickett, Marketing Manager at Formus Professional Software
Running a Virtual Team 5k Event
It wasn’t difficult to switch things to a remote run once we had set the date. The hardest part was raising awareness and gathering donations when the impact of a physical event could no longer be the main point of interest.
The new remote fun run was simple. The team set a date and time and synchronised their start time. JustGiving pages were set up, emails sent out and social media pages were flooded.
Live photos and GPS tracking information were sent to social media as it took place.
And so, on a cold but bright November morning, with smartwatches on wrists and fancy-dress costumes in place, we all set off from our respective homes to run individual 5Ks, as much as a team as was possible.
"As someone who does hardly any exercise, the prospect of facing 5k in the cold, dressed in an inflatable horse costume was a bit daunting to say the least!
Once I got out on to the streets, the beeps of car horns and the comments from passers-by spurred me on, along with the knowledge that we were raising a great amount for Anthony Nolan.
Even though we couldn’t be together on the day, knowing that the rest of the team were enjoying the same challenge at the same time was great motivation, and the photos that were shared afterwards gave us all a good laugh!”
Simon Bridgewater, Software Consultant (and fun runner) at Formus Professional Software
Using JustGiving as a Team Within a Business
The most important difference between running a creative public event and going remote are the methods in which you gather attention and collect the donations.
We were already using JustGiving to collect individual sponsorship but as we could no longer use collection buckets alongside, we discovered that JustGiving would have to be our only method of collecting donations.
If you have ever tried to set up a team/group page on JustGiving you will find that it’s not the most straightforward of tasks. The options exist, but it takes a little while to set up.
As a very busy organisation, we found it time-efficient to have our marketing department take care of most of the setup.
This gave staff the freedom to personalise their profiles but saved them time on filling out all the generic details of the event.
To follow the steps we used, take a look at the our guide on How to Set up JustGiving Team Pages for Your Business.
Most charity fundraising events pin themselves upon being very physical but this one turned out to be just as successful without having the venue or spectators.
In holding the 5k fun run remotely we found ourselves saving time and effort in avoiding the extended health and safety requirements of a public event and we didn’t have to produce posters, flyers, or banners ether!
The total raised, thanks to all the generous sponsors, came to £1,699.
“We are so grateful to everyone who took part and supported the FormusPro 5K run.
The team have raised an incredible £1,699 for Anthony Nolan.
It costs £40 to add each new donor to the Anthony Nolan register, so the funds raised will enable us to recruit more potential stem cell donors, any one of whom could give a second chance of life to someone with blood cancer.”
Gemma Parker, Community Fundraising Manager at Anthony Nolan
“Hopefully in the coming years we will all be able to run together and share the experience, rather than running remotely, but as remote experiences go, it was still pretty special!”
Jenny Wickett Marketing Manager at Formus Professional Software
About The Charity Anthony Nolan
The charity is named after Anthony Nolan, a little boy who was born in 1971 with a rare condition called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. The only cure was a bone marrow transplant which depended on finding a suitable match, which at the time was very difficult to obtain. So, Anthony’s mother, Shirley, set up a bone marrow register based at Westminster Children’s Hospital where Anthony was a patient.
Fifty years later Anthony Nolan is one of the world’s leading stem cell transplant charities and a founder member of a worldwide register of donors. They now have over 850,000 donors on their register and continue to forge ahead in funding stem cell research.
Anthony Nolan was Formus Professional Software's first client, back in 2012 – a relationship which lives on to this day with continued support and development within their systems as well as supporting them as fundraisers.
Find out why and how software helps save lives at Anthony Nolan.
Want to see the photos?
FormusPro is a software company, so we are naturally office dwellers but in aid of such a good cause, we challenged ourselves to go outside and exercise for a full 5k!... Yes, even in November weather! Yuck!
Did I mention it was in fancy dress?
See us running, jogging, skipping, or hopping our way across 5k in aid of Anthony Nolan.