It's great that you are doing The Fireflies Tour. It's an amazing and life changing experience, but it’s very important not to lose sight of why we ride – to raise as much money as possible for blood cancer research and treatment.
It is non-negotiable that you have to raise – or donate yourself – at least £2000 before the end of the year. There is no doubt that it is easier to raise this money before or during the ride. It will be hard to get anyone’s attention two months after you’re home.
The conduit for fundraising will be your www.virginmoneygiving.com page. Make this work for you. Too many people write one sentence saying something like “I’m cycling over the Alps to raise money for leukaemia” and are disappointed when their friends only donate £5 - or nothing at all. It needs to sound a lot more difficult and more important than a 5K fun run around your local park.
It’s important to convey how hard the ride is, perhaps giving some statistics about the distance you’ll have to ride each day, number of climbs, metres you’ll climb, calories you’ll burn etc.
If you are riding for or in memory of a friend or family member, you may want to mention this as well.
Here is a Fundraising guide from Bloodwise
And here are three useful pages explaining the word that Bloodwise does, information that will be invaluable when you describing how the money raised will be used, as well as more fundraising suggestions:
Here are some Fireflies videos that you might want to embed into your page:
Here is an example of a fundraising page. The charity has changed since this was written, but it shows how you are able to insert images, video and of course relevant text to create a compelling message.
Getting donors to your fundraising page
You will have to bring people’s attention to your page. It’s best to start with emails, personalising them if practical/possible. Here is one from 2012. Again, the charity has changed, but the content remains relevant:
When I was on one of last year's steep, endless climbs up a cold mountain in the pouring rain, I asked someone that if I ever I started talking about it, to remind me that I was never EVER going to do the Fireflies tour over the Alps again.
Well, that person wasn't around when I decided I should have one last push and at the same time try and raise some more money for Bloodwise. Bloodwise stop people dying of blood cancer, make patients' lives better and stop people getting blood cancer in the first place.
The money I raise will support research efforts funded by Bloodwise to find out why people get blood cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to beat it once someone has blood cancer. Some of the funds Bloodwise receives also support people who have blood cancer, to help them live longer and continue to have normal lives.
There are currently 220 research projects funded by Bloodwise. For example, last year £9.5 million was invested in clinical trials and the research that supports trials of new treatments for blood cancer, better more targeted treatments will help beat blood cancer. Another example - in 2004 Bloodwise started funding a unique project called HMRN - a network that monitors the more than 2,000 people diagnosed with blood cancer in Yorkshire every year, looking at all aspects of their treatment, background and living with cancer experience - information that is helping improve blood cancer survival rates and patients’ quality of life in the UK and beyond.
I've been trying to train as much as possible. I've cycled 2400 miles since last summer, recently spending a week in Lanzarote battling 40km/h headwinds, including a day riding 150km of the Ironman route. I'm now doing a two hour spinning class twice a week as well as a long ride every weekend - recently London to Brighton and back. I've lost five kilos and hope to lose a couple more; I'm trying to carry as little excess baggage as possible up the mountains.
This Google Earth animation of the Col du Galibier, one of last year's climbs, shows what an average climb looks like. If it looks long and steep on a computer screen, it's a lot worse at the end of a long day in fog and rain. Here's a video shot the day we climbed Galibier last year. The weather was so bad we had to abandon the descent into the village at the other side and take shelter from the freezing downpour.
The Tour starts at the shore of Lake Geneva and finishes, 7 days, 1000km, and around 27000 metres of cycling up mountains, in Cannes at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. As usual we won't know the day's route until the evening before.
I will again do my best to write a blog and post photos after each day's ride, internet access and exhaustion allowing. When we arrive in Cannes on day 7, I will officially be a Fireflies veteran, and will be anointed with a pair of fairy wings to prove it. That will mark the point where I let a new generation of Fireflies get over the Alps. For a couple of years at least.
P.S. All the ride costs and expenses are paid by me, every penny donated goes to Leuka.
If it's appropriate - if if you're employer allows it - you can add a link to your email signature. You can also add an image with text to your Facebook/Twitter banners and your email signature. If you would like help personalising an image with the correct font/logos and your fundraising URL, contact email@example.com
Once you have your fundraising page, it might be a good time to start posting links to it via Facebook and/or Twitter, perhaps with images of training, or images from the Dropbox folder (please credit @maxburnett if you do this).
If you post Fireflies relating tweets, please use the #@FirefliesTour hashtag. In this way your tweet will be viewed by a wider audience.
If it's appropriate - i.e. if you're employer allows it - you can add a link to your email signature.
For £25 you can order 200 minicards to hand out to friends, colleagues, acquaintences. Small, but effective.
Sell stuff, hold events, raise money
Over the years Fireflies have sold cycling posters, T-shirts, Fireflies chocolate and branded bike accessories to help reach their fundraising goals. Others have had a sponsored leg wax, head shave, organised bake sales, music events, etc. If you've got an expertise, monetise!