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Birthday Fundraisers… A Piece of Cake!

This blog was written by Casey Carlos. Casey is based in Sheffield and volunteers for Dig Deep as the Events and Campaigns Assistant.

Do you feel inspired by Dig Deep’s work like I do and want to make a real difference to people’s lives? Or maybe you’re in need of a straightforward and stress-free way to ramp up your fundraising for the fast-approaching Mount Kilimanjaro climb? Well if your birthday is coming up, creating a birthday fundraiser may just be the answer to raise money to support Dig Deep’s work and get you one step closer to achieving your fundraising target. And like the treat we usually have on your birthday to celebrate, they’re super easy – you could say a piece of cake!

Don’t worry if your birthday isn’t coming up, you can create a fundraiser for any occasion. Whether it is an upcoming graduation, wedding, anniversary, birth or even retirement, you can just about pledge your presents for any event in life where loved ones give gifts. We live in an age of de-cluttering whereby the teachings of Marie Kondo and the KonMarie method have been popularised by her book, Netflix TV show and has even been turned into a comic or manga. So why receive unwanted or unused presents and instead “spark joy” through fundraising for an amazing cause?

The first time I came across birthday fundraisers in particular was when I interned as a Community Fundraising Intern at the charity Breast Cancer Care. People of all ages would set up fundraising pages where loved ones could donate money to the celebrant’s charity of choice instead of buying gifts. This was especially prevalent for the milestone birthdays, such as the 50th and 60th birthdays. I thought this was incredibly selfless and decided to embark on this idea myself for Dig Deep.

The easiest way to set up a fundraising page is via Facebook. About 1-2 weeks before your birthday, Facebook prompts you to create a birthday fundraiser for your charity of choice and it can be set up in literally a few clicks. Simply name the fundraiser, edit the description (not mandatory but it helps to personalise it and tell your story of why the cause is important to you, like with any fundraiser) and invite your friends to donate (again not mandatory but this helps to promote your page). Facebook’s default fundraising target is £100, but I thought I could do a bit better than that and bumped up my fundraising target to £200.

All set, I started to promote my fundraising page to my friends and family asking for donations. I posted on my fundraiser and shared it on my birthday event, stating: “I'm not asking for any presents or for you to buy me drinks this year - Please instead donate and help me reach my goal - every little helps! 💕☀ 🌈”

I was incredibly humbled and grateful for any donation, however large or small. Donations started to come through from when I created the page just under two weeks before my birthday. Even after my birthday my fundraising page continued to receive more donations. One amazingly generous donor donated £100 and I didn’t even speak to him about it nor am I close to him! This shows that Facebook is a great platform to channel your donations as it could potentially end up on the news feed of all your friends in your social network. And yes generous people who also want to make a difference do exist out there in this world!

I found that it really helped posting “Just £x amount could give…”, which I had taken from the Dig Deep website on the Donate page, as it makes it more tangible for donors to see how their donations can make an impact:

  • Just £25 could give a child a safe, hygienic toilet at their school

  • Just £50 could give three children access to clean drinking water at their school

  • Just £100 could give 30 children and their families life-changing health training

At the end of the fundraising period (which you can set when you create the fundraiser), I raised £400 for Dig Deep. I was absolutely thrilled as it was double my fundraising target, not to mention way more than I would actually get for my actual birthday(!) - but instead it is going to a much worthy cause instead of receiving gifts that I do not need and sadly may not ever use. Because I believe giving children and communities the gift of clean water and sanitation in order to break the cycle of poverty is far more important.

I personally believe that the older we get, receiving gifts becomes less and less important; although it sounds cliché, our family and friends’ presence is the best present we could ever wish for.

Happy birthday from me and happy fundraising!

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