When Ellie Papadopoulou saw the amazing work that Greek charity Healing Lesvos is doing to protect the island’s environment, she knew that she had to be a part of it. Instead of simply making a one-off donation, she realised that she could do more to help by setting a fundraising challenge for herself and asking for support.
As a keen runner, Ellie realised that her sport was the perfect way to make a difference and turned to online fundraising platform GivenGain to create her campaign and share Healing Lesvos’s story with the world. Her 19km trail run raised €400 to help Healing Lesvos safeguard the Mission Blue Avlaki Hope Spot https://mission-blue.org/2017/10/mission-blue-names-newest-hope-spot-off-lesvos-island-in-greece/ , a protected area nominated and championed by the charity, and that Healing Lesvos sees as critical to the health of oceans worldwide, and the revival of the local economy of the island.
Reaching out around the world
Ellie is one of millions of people combining their passion for running with their desire to make a difference, and online fundraising makes it easier than ever to do so.
With GivenGain, fundraisers can tap into a global network of generous people looking for good causes to support – no matter where they are in the world. Ellie’s campaign for a Greek charity resonated with people both inside and outside the country and received donations from Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In total, people in 194 different countries around the world have made donations through the platform since it first launched in 2001.
Success like that happens because online fundraising makes it uniquely easy to reach the biggest possible network. Users can create a GivenGain page and start accepting donations from the community in just a couple of minutes, or customise it further with text, images and video.
Once up and running, sharing a campaign with the world couldn’t be simpler. Fundraisers can post updates on their page to help keep the momentum going and then share them via e-mail and social media. Besides Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, fundraisers can also link their GivenGain accounts to running and fitness tracking platforms including Strava, Runkeeper and Zwift.
No events? No problem
At the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, charities worried that, with events cancelled, donations would dry up and services would have to be cut back during a time of global need.
But in fact, fundraising platforms like GivenGain have witnessed an outpouring of generosity as people give their time and money to help their favourite non-profits continue their vital work. April and May 2020 were consecutive record-breaking months for GivenGain in terms of donations, and the platform has been buzzing ever since as more fundraisers launch lockdown fundraising projects. In total, fundraisers raised 40% more money through GivenGain in 2020 than in 2019.
The rise of online generosity hasn’t just changed fundraising forever, it has also changed events. Mass events like the Athens Marathon couldn’t go ahead last year and might be restricted for some time to come, but dedicated fundraisers have found all kinds of ways to create a buzz and make a difference while staying safe and sticking to local lockdown rules.
Some online fundraisers have taken on amazing individual challenges, like Amelia Lourens, who raised more than €1,500 on GivenGain for orphans by running a 56km ultramarathon around her own garden. Others have taken part in a growing range of virtual races, including online versions of cancelled events as well as virtual-first options from events companies like VirtualRunners.
Online platforms have opened up fundraising to everyone. If you have an Internet connection, you can make a difference, no matter who you are or where you are.
To start your project, simply create a fundraiser account on GivenGain and choose a charity to fundraise for out of the thousands of registered non-profits on the platform (or contact [email protected] if your preferred charity doesn’t have a page yet!). Then click “Start fundraising” on their GivenGain page and share your project with your friends, family and supporters around the world. GivenGain supports fundraisers every step of the way with tips, advice and inspiration through regular e-mails and the GivenGain blog, and charities can also provide their own resources to help you make the biggest impact possible.
Whether it’s an online event, an in-person race or a solo run around your garden, make your next race more meaningful by making a difference for a charity you care about!