What's your view on fundraising?

loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
edited March 2012 in General Discussion
Many of us have raised some funds for charity as an adjunct to swims. This is a bloody expensive sport and costs are a limiting factor for most of us.

I was asked by a well-known commentator how much of this fundraised cash went to supporting swims and I could only say that In my experience in Ireland, most of the people who raised money for charity, gave 100% or very close to it of the funds to the chosen charity. (I've come across exceptions where people might have been stuck for an extra flight home or a delayed swim and they've used a small part to help defray costs, none of which exceptions do I have a problem with).

But I was talking to some other friends since, of whom one was also going to raise funds for charity deliberately to defray the cost of his own swim by taking the cost from that raised, another friend is completely against anyone looking for support, and there are people in between.

I'm not making any judgements, we all get to decide for ourselves, just curious on the range of options and opinions on this area.

And are there any recommendations or ideas on fundraising that anyone has used, successfully or otherwise? Has anyone been successful in getting sponsorship outside charity raising to help support costs, and if so, how did you achieve it?




  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited March 2012
    Seems like the honest thing to do is be upfront about whether 100% is going to the designated charity... or not. I don't necessarily see a problem with using some of the funds to defray some of the costs, but it does seem disingenuous if someone is "swimming for charity" but most of the funds are directed toward the costs of the swim itself. In the U.S. there are 501(c)(3)-registered charities... not sure what the rules & regulations are for those.
  • GordsGords Syracuse, UTCharter Member
    I have a very generous wealthy Father in law who is extremely supportive. It would take me twice as long to save enough money to go on these adventures. Feeling blessed.
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited March 2012
    @Gords I wish I had one of those! :)
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    Me too! I could use a friendly benefactor...

    I've only done one real fundraiserly type swim and everything donated went to the charity of choice (minus PayPal fees for money donated that way). I paid all the costs for the swim out of my pocket, I think that's the way it should go when it's advertised as a fundraiser. I feel it's ok if your costs are picked up by a sponsor or something of that sort, but I would feel weird about funding a personal expedition under the guise of it all being for charity.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    This new forum and this particular discussion thread is very timely as I'm contemplating my inter-island swim for summer 2013. I will raise money for Special Ops Warrior Foundation, but wasn't sure what people thought of fund-raising to help defray costs for airfare, boat rental, hotel, etc. Hmmm...this is getting me thinking...

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited March 2012
    Sounds like a great cause, Mike! I'm afraid there just aren't any generally accepted guidelines on stuff like this, which is why it's an important discussion to have. To me, the main thing is, however the funds are used, to be upfront & transparent about it.

    Also, if a swimmer does use some of the funds to defray swim costs (which is certainly understandable), taking a percentage cut seems more ethically sound than taking "the first X dollar amount" of whatever is donated.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Yeah, I'm thinking of 50% I pay my expenses, 50% help, then everything above and beyond goes to the charity. But what if i get so little nothing goes to charity? so now i'm trying to think of how to word it so that some money goes to charity...

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Just thinking aloud here...

    "First X dollars go to charity, after which Y% goes to charity and Z% goes to defraying costs" ...?
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Interesting. OK, for those of you out there who have done a charity swim, what kind of money were you able to raise for your charity?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    This raises another interesting issue: Should a swimmer disclose how much they raise for the designated charity? For example, I distinctly recall Forum Member @mmead reporting on the $$ raised for her Swim for Kids Sake. It's fantastic that she did this, but I'd say it's unusual among the marathon-slash-charitable swimming community.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    For the EC I raised about €2000, of which about 50% came from a charity link donation on my blog. Like a lot of people, I found it really difficult to ask. I got a couple surprise checks from people after the swim was over, whom I'd never asked.

    I have seen a few approaches that worked better. I'd recommend talking to the charity first because if they put a Press or Advertising person onto your swim, the effect can be huge, as they issue Press releases and can get you interviews with media especially radio and press. I have two friends who did this for EC and the effects were enormous, one multiplied what I raised by a factor of over 10x.

    One friend did a agreement with a local small scale philanthropist who would donate €1k to the swimmers for every €3k raised and the sponsor help with media. That one was a bit of luck though.

    Also, if that is what you want, you can probably agree some or all cost with the charity who can often set those costs off against tax (at least here they can). You're into that grey area of disclosure or not there, but that's your own and the charities decision.

    Another swimmer recomended to me to get a business card with your swim, blog and charity details on it, that you can hand out when it arise in conversation. It was a great idea, (that I also didn't do, I'm a slow learner).


  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Awesome ideas, thanks ls.

    Evan, any charity rules from SBCSA? I did a quick search on your site, and didn't come up with anything.

    I really like the idea of business cards. Since I'll be raising money for a military charity, I may/may be able to advertise amongst the military and government civilians, which might raise the stakes.

    IF, If I use any of the money to help defray costs, I wonder what people would think? Spit-balling it, I'm thinking no more than 50% of my costs...and I pay the other 50%, but would some people think that is too much? Not enough to the charity? Hmmm...lots to think about.

    Donal, did you use any of the money you raised to help pay for your crossing?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Personally, I prefer not to swim for charity - too much pressure, plus something a bit uncomfortable about people's charitable giving being contingent on performances of physical endurance. I also think that fundraising to cover costs is a very different thing to charitable fund-raising - I would say that these should be two separate pots that people can choose from, rather than one pot divided. But this is just my view.

    From a sociology research perspective, though, I am intrigued by popular assumptions that swims must (should?) be for charity - for example, when people's first response to hearing about a swim is "who are you doing it for?". There's a lot of data on this topic coming out of the research project in terms of motivations and justifications, and I'll be giving a paper on it at the Sport and Society conf in Cambridge this summer - I'm happy to share audio / text as and when, for those interested in one take on this issue.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Hey Karen, on a personal level, I agree. Lisa & I were in The White Horse last autumn, we were asked which charity we had swum for. We both answered, "for ourselves", and were looked at somewhat askance.

    Money I raised for charity, was only a distant secondary motivation, that arose because our coach requests it, and it also allowed others to take part in some way. I never felt any pressure from it though, since it was low key, anyone donating through the website could see that it was going to the charity.

    Mike, it all went to the charity (RNLI).


  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Evan, any charity rules from SBCSA? I did a quick search on your site, and didn't come up with anything.
    No rules that I'm aware of, Mike. To my knowledge, only NYC Swim has any sort of regulations about fundraising.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I hate asking people for money. I made an exception with 8 Bridges last year... to raise funds for Riverkeeper. RK as many of you know tests and logs the results of the water quality in the Hudson River. Additionally, they lobby for legislation to benefit the environment. No other non-profit could be more relevant to a 120 mile swim in the Hudson. Having said that... it was difficult to control the narrative, at times we were referred to as environmental activists who were swimming for a cause. Now to be clear, I am a swimmer, swimming to swim.
    There are, no doubt, a few charitable souls in this sport who are truly swimming only for the benefit of their chosen cause (and I do believe that I've met one or two) but I suspect that for the vast majority of swimmers, charity is an after thought... or dare I say a scheme to finance their pursuits.

    I've seen some business models that are pretty misleading about how to raise money and fund one's athletic activities... leaves a bad taste.....

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • AnneAnne La Jolla CA USACharter Member
    edited March 2012
    Agreed. I believe if you are raising money for a cause you should pay your swim expenses separately... honor your donors' good intentions and give all the donations to the charity. Using fundraising as a way to finance channel swims is tacky, in my opinion.
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    This has turned into quite an interesting and valuable thread.

    In principle, I absolutely agree with Dave & Anne. But I also think marathon swimming should not be an activity limited to those with disposable income or those with wealthy benefactors. What are the best practices for those with big dreams but small wallets?

    I love Karen's idea of "separate pots" for swim funding and charity - and I think people actually would be happy to give to both. Advertising is another somewhat less-smarmy way of financing swims; at least it's honest. But it's probably only feasible for certain types of swims - those with local significance, or those that are unique or impressive enough to attract media attention.
  • AnneAnne La Jolla CA USACharter Member
    edited March 2012
    As long as a swimmer is up front about asking for and accepting help with swim expenses, then I say no problem with that. Many times friends, co-workers and family will offer to be a part of the adventure in that way. It's the guise of fundraising to pay for swims that gets to me.

    One way swimmers around here have gotten help with expenses is to sell tee shirts silk-screened with their personalized channel swim logo. It doesn't cost much to have them made up and people do enjoy buying and wearing them to support the swimmer and their efforts and adventures. Only problem is when too many at one 'swimming hole' do it during the same season...
  • lecumminslecummins Charter Member
    I think, as others have already mentioned, that it's really important that you're upfront with people about what you're doing with any money that you take from them. If you choose to use a certain percentage on your swim costs, then that's ok-as long as people don't think that the money is going directly to charity.

    What I did for my EC swim was that all of the money that was donated by people went straight to my three charities. I did however find that there were some people who asked specifically to donate towards my costs because they knew how expensive the swim was and I also got a small amount of sponsorship from companies. Altogether I got about €2,000 towards my costs, which I estimated were over €10,000 in total. And I raised €22,750 for my charities. I did have quite a few people telling me that I was mad not to cover my costs out of the money raised! But that wasn't the way I set out to do it, and I was glad to be able to give a decent amount to my charities.

    I will be fundraising again for my next swim-and solely for charity again. The way that I see it is that I'm doing the swim for me, it's my challenge. But I don't see why I can't allow a charity to benefit from it. It's always one of the first questions that people ask me when I say that I'm training: how can they donate towards it? If they're prepared to give a charity money through what I'm doing, then I don't see why I shouldn't facilitate that. The money I raised the last time was with very little effort really-it didn't take me a huge amount of time and I didn't feel that I was putting a big burden on people...mainly because most people came to me offering to help rather than the other way around. And it did give me that little bit of extra motivation on the day of my swim knowing that so many people had given money towards it and I didn't want to let them down...any extra motivating factor to get you across is a good one!
  • AnneAnne La Jolla CA USACharter Member
    edited March 2012
    Lisa, you make a very good point about that little bit of extra motivation. During my channel swimming days I experienced some incredible generosity from people in my life. Yes, they offered to help with my swim costs without my asking, too. When things got really tough on my channel swims I would remember their support and kindness and you're right, it was always easier to keep swimming than to let them down.
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    I am blessed with the ability to pay for my swimming myself. I laid out a budget for 3 years and made sure I had sufficient funds. I don't think there is anything wrong with looking for a sugar daddy or sugar mommy to help with the expenses. In mountaineering there is a long history of people raising money to pay for the expenses of an expedition. I think you just have to be clear what you are raising money for. I also do not think you have to raise money for a charity. It's up to you.
  • CliffCliff Member
    Good comments! Whatever your motivation for fundraising, be honest and transparent in all that you do. Always thank and tie off with your donors on final fundraising results. And don't forget to share your experience with a write-up and conversations of your swim adventure afterwards! That is all...
  • EileenBEileenB New York, NYGuest
    Wow, what a timely thread for me, personally--I've been wrestling with this question since last fall, when I was supposed to set up my web site to raise funds for my EC swim this coming June--I am one of those swimmers with big dreams and small wallets, and have been spending much too large a percentage of my (small) family's (small) income on my swims for quite a few years now--so I thought the perfect solution to get myself there (and ideally my crew too) would be to raise money for a cause I care about deeply and use part of the donations to help finance my doing it...but honestly, it has all felt just a little off, somehow, which may be why I have been incredibly slow about getting my information out there. I agree, Anne and Lisa, that if where the money is going is all up front than there really shouldn't be a problem, and some friends have told me that they'd actually rather their donations go directly to my swim funds rather than the charity--maybe it's just the asking for money at all, for any reason, that makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I'm still looking for that sugar daddy or sugar momma. Maybe I just want to swim and not worry about anything else...
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    I have been blessed to have my trips funded by my sponsor (Trustmont Financial Group) thus far, and DO NOT take this for granted!! I know almost all marathon swimmers are self-funded, and I respect and admire your dedication to the sport, and the financial committment you and your family are putting forth!
    I set up the Team Forever 501(c)3 to take in charitable donations via my website (www.darren-miller.com) which travel to a bank account, and then a check is written every month to the Forever Fund (co-founded) at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. 100% OF ALL DONATIONS go back to the Forever Fund, which helps ease the financial obligation for families who have sick children at the hospital.
    Pittsburgh is not use to marathon swimming, as I believe we have only had 2 other swimmers from this area to attempt the Channel. The media has been very supportive of my adventures, and we have been able to fund-raise some significant assets for the cause! When I speak to large groups about swimming with sharks in the middle of the night, they tend to pay attention!
    I believe if you want to get funded, it is possible, but you have to get lucky. I was not necessarily looking for a sponsor when I found mine, as I was just doing what I loved (swimming) and talking about the importance of volunteerism and dedication to helping those less fortunate. I was ready to self-fund the Ocean's Seven, but was blessed to find someone who wanted their name attached to the charitable journey!
    I recommend public speaking, and getting your name out into the media to help raise awareness for your cause, as you never know who will want to fix their name or business to what you are doing! Trust me, there are a lot of people out there with deep pockets who love adventure, and will support your journey... finding them is the hardest part.

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    This has been an extremely valuable discussion for me to follow, as a swim organizer and fundraiser. I run a struggling sports, fitness and recreation center (and pool) in a beautiful but financially "challenged" area of northern Vermont. Kingdom Swim is a major fundraiser for our center and our Healthy Changes Initiative for people suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Here's how we approach the issues you have been discussing.

    We set our fees so that we will cover our costs and raise some money regardless of any additional fundraising by our swimmers (It's a 50-50 breakdown). We tell our swimmers that, at the outset. We try to make it very clear to those who are joining us that they should feel under no pressure to participate in additional fundraising. Any supplemental fundraising by our swimmers goes entirely to support our center and our Healthy Changes Initiative.

    Long and the short of it. My own experience says, if you are raising money to cover your costs for an English Channell crossing, say so. If 50% of funds raised go to cover the costs of your swim and 50% to charity, say so. Don't be fearful of transparency. And make it fun. A person raising money for Kingdom Swim this year, Christpher Lake is using his face book and every now and then he says something like, "The next $25 or more donation gets to select my profile picture for the next week." That kind of thing. It's been fun (and profitable for us) to watch his progress. And, find out ways to give your donors something in return. Like they do on public radio and TV. For $75 you get a mug. That kind of thing. We call one of our "thank you" gifts the most outrageiously priced $150 sweatshirt they're ever going to get. But it is a way to say thank you that folks appreciate. And they love them. Marcia Cleveland sells a T-Shirt with a logo that says "Real Swimmers Swim Naked" Now that's a thank you!!

    Don't know whether any of this helps. Hope so.

  • FrancoFranco Chestertown, MDCharter Member
    That is my favorite sweatshirt!

    I hate asking friends/family for donations regardless of the cause. I always cover charity requirement myself. It does get expensive and prohibitive from trying certain events. I really like Phil's approach where you have a large selection of overpriced items so that you can make a donation. Maybe a little selfish to get something back but certainly eases the pain.
  • jmcjmc Member
    As a newcomer to marathon swimming, I haven't raised any money through swimming yet, but I've done other fundraisers before.

    Surely the most important thing is that people know exactly where their money is going - I couldn't disagree more with people using charity money to defray costs. I'd only ever use money to cover costs if it was donated specifically for that reason.

    I'm sure there are equivalent services in other countries, but in the UK www.justgiving.com is probably the most popular fundraising method - the money goes directly to the bank account of the chosen charity so there's never any confusion about what the money is being used for. (Shameless self-promo alert): this is my team's page for a fundraiser we did last summer: http://www.justgiving.com/readytomongol/

    English Channel solo aspirant - July 2013:
    http://againsttheti.de - http://twitter.com/jasonmconnor

  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    I never considered fundraising with a swim until the option occurred with my entry into MIMS. Given my long term relationship with a non-profit in Arizona, I felt it wasn't a bad opportunity to raise money. It's been a surprise to me that people are interested in contributing but they are interested -- not only in the charity but the uniqueness of open water swimming. I'm the guy that couldn't sell a box of Girl Scout Cookies to weight watcher dropouts. Then there is the line of "self-promotion" vs. actually doing a good deed. I figured if people thought I was self promoting but it ended up raising money for a cause -- so be it. That being said, it will be awhile before I fundraise again -- probably headed back off the grid for awhile until next summer.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Remembered this thread when I read this in the paper the other day - an interesting take on charity sport...
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    It seems better for me, to have a sponsor cover costs and shortfalls paid for by the swimmer, and all other donations to go to charity.

    I raised £500 from a sponsor who also donated £150 of product to give away and £150 in clothing. This was for my Ice Mile swim. The costs were about the same in petrol and hotel and fees according to my original plan to swim on the UK. except ultimately I had to travel to Slovenia to do it and that cost me flights and hotel etc ( but I got a holiday too) but I paid that part myself.

    I received donations of around £300 for the charity.

    The trouble is the next swim costs a lot more, so I am now seeking a sponsor to cover the costs (a title sponsor) plus smaller donations from other businesses.

    In this way, I will seek to cover all the costs of my swimming, including petrol and training costs.

    Doing this demands I give a good payback and return for the sponsors. Giving free lectures at their events, going on their stands at trade exhibitions, wearing their t shirts and getting publicity into their trade press, their logo on my website and flyers. Their product on display in my shop.

    Then there are family and friends who also want to share, who may give me a few £s to help me (as opposed to helping the charity).Maybe one day, these donations will cover a swim in full and even go towards the next swim.

    At the same time as all of this, the charity is also given some effort in raising both funds and awareness to their cause . These donations are especially for the charity are also sought.

    The thing is, we are swimmers, and it is tough to learn how to raise funds. But I think we can raise a few hundred £s , impress our sponsors and then up the stakes and do it again.

    You can see my efforts at www.haydnwelch.co.uk to see how I try to give a good return to my last sponsor. Ice-Watch and awareness to my charity CoppaFeel.org and my first lecture is in three days time "Swimming with Ice"

    I will seek more charitable donations there, but will also be paid £50 for speaking which will go towards my next swim.

    Maybe one day, I will find a sponsor for another swim, but need £30,000 for it. Any body interested in supporting it?
  • mauprietomauprieto New Orleans, LAMember
    Interesting discussion. Next July, our 4 person team (Swim 4 Good) will be attempting to swim the Strait of Gibraltar to raise money for Worldreader.org, a non-profit that is working to bring books and promote reading in developing countries through mobile technology. Our objective is to raise $100.000, and so far we have raised around $33.000. 100% of the money we raise goes to this 501(c)(3) non-profit. The only way to donate is online and directly to worldreader, so we are never in a position where we are receiving money ourselves.

    Like many comments in this thread, I think that different formulas are valid as long as you are upfront with where the donations are going. As a swimmer, I would be very happy to donate to another swimmer's cause knowing that part of what I am giving will go to help that swimmer pay for the expenses of a swim that will fulfill his/her dreams. But I would like to know in advance.

    Also, I think that it's important to know how the charity will use that money. i.e. is 100% of the donations being used for the charity's cause (in our case, buy e-readers and books to take to kids), or are part of those donations being used to pay for the charity employees' salaries? I prefer that the donations that reach the charity be used to fund the cause instead of partly funding the overhead.

    An advantage of swimming for a charity is that it raises the commitment to the task. It makes the training more bearable and it gives you a solid feeling that there is no turning back from attempting your objective. I think it could give you an additional motivation and boost of energy when your mind or body is failing.

    In terms of what has helped to raise money so far, here are some of my modest learnings:
    - Be proactive. It is very difficult to raise money by passively waiting for people to click on the "donate" link of your blog. Every $ raised costs significant time and effort.
    - Easier to get money for a cause that will use 100% of the donations flow directly to the charity’s cause (instead of paying for its employees).
    - Easier to get donations for a cause that you firmly believe in and have been involved with in the past. It gives credibility to your motivation.
    - Helps to be more than one person doing the fundraising. It multiplies the networks, families and friends that you can tap onto.
    - If you are having a birthday, organizing a party at your house, or whatever event where people normally bring a gift to, ask people to donate to your cause instead of bringing a bottle of wine or such.
    - Similarly, your kids can “donate” their birthday to this cause. Instead of birthday presents, have people give money to the cause. Your kids will learn an important lesson of giving and they will feel like they are part of your swim.
    - Try to get corporate sponsors who can help by giving you material that you could sell, with the proceeds going to the charity.
    - Try to get the support of a celeb. But that’s damn hard.
  • JbetleyJbetley UKMember
    I guess the answer depends on how much disposable income you have to some extent. I will attempt the EC next year, and will cover all expenses out of my own pocket. Any money I raise will go in full to my charity, Great Ormond St Children's Hospital. And that is because I am lucky enough to have that income. If I didn't have that disposable income, I would either have to save and do it later, find a rich benefactor/sponsor, or take it out of the sponsorship.

    I have no huge issue about this sort of thing. I have a friend who got a 3 week trekking holiday in Peru for which they had to raise a certain amount of money, which is, in my opinion, far less legitimate than putting yourself through2 years of training before attempting the EC!
  • Here are some more fundrasing ideas
    - For any fundraising - think big and beyond your inner circle.
    - Many Int'l Corportations often match donations when employees donate to a cause. It's an easy way to double a donation.
    - Lots of businesses have a budget for social good. Do some research and approach them.
    - Make stickers or a flyers that local businesses can display when they support your cause, then they get to show customers what they support. It's good for their image.
    - Ask friends to help you fundraise, we all know that it's a lot easier to ask for money for someone else than it is for ourselves.
  • I joined this forum in hopes of getting knowledge for my first foray into marathon swimming in an upcoming charity swim. I plan on fully funding the swim through donations and sponsors. This is a local swim of 25 miles and I’m confident that I can get a volunteer boat, captain and support crew. My hope is to have corporate sponsors pick up the additional costs of fuel and such. I have organized many events (races, golf outings, etc.) that fed charitable entities while using portions of the proceeds to fund the event itself. I don’t have the disposable income to donate cash to the charities that I like to help so I give my time. Everyone reading this knows the commitment involved in training for these feats. I spend more time with the YMCA lifeguard than my kids. Maybe the difference is that I am swimming for the cause. The personal accomplishment is in helping the charity and raising awareness. Just my 2 cents.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    If you say you are raising funds for a charity then 100% of the money should go to that charity. If you intend to use even $1 towards you own ecpenses that is wrong and you have mislead those who have donated.
    I personally do not like asking friends and family for doantions of any sort. If I decide to do a swim then it is my responsibility to pay for it - I would never ask someone to give me money for my swims (not saying I would not take it if I had a wealthy benefactor enter my life).
    I did raise money for charity when I did MIMS. I kept the list of donars and anytime I see someone on that list raising money for a chairty I donate an equal amount to their cause as a way to show my respect for the money they donated to my cause.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    edited March 2013
    well, I'm fund-raising now for my my channel swim relay... The laws in the UK stipulate that a minimum of 20% of the funds raised need to go to the charity. Well, I think that is way to low... The only 'costs' I will be deducting from the funds raised, will be for the costs of setting up the website (around £40 ) and for any prizes I might buy to entice ppl to buy raffle tickets. so this would be less than 10% of the money I hope to raise ie 90% of the money is going to charity... however, I suppose I am lucky in that I have a decent job and make a little bit of money.. not everyone is in that position... so the question to ask, really is what benefits the charity? If someone less well off does a swim, but has to use most of the funds to help get to/from and pay for the event but at the same time makes ppl aware of the charity and possible encourages other people to do swims for charity, is it really that wrong? I suppose as long as you are open about it and the ppl donating are aware then it's all good...
  • One way of approaching it, especially with military charities (I've heard in the UK) is that if you raise money for the charity, they will offset say 10%- so to pay for a $2000 swim, you must raise $20,000. It's a lot of 0's but can be done. It helps if you have a reason to go for a charity- I swam to raise awareness of ME since I was in a wheel chair with it as a kid, but couldn't swim 'for' a charity as I needed to raise the money to pay for it. I handed out posters, flyers and talked the hind leg off a donkey about ME and people did donate to help me swim - some were specific about what they wanted their money to go towards - child care, accommodation- that gave rise to people beign able to give in kind- was given bags of energy bars and goodies for the crew...this all helps. Nobody suggested their money HAD to go to the charity, but I gave them the option. If there was any left over, I would have donated 100% of it, but as most of us are, was reticent to ask outright for money.
  • stevenc616stevenc616 Member
    edited March 2013
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. If you think that when you give money to ANY charity that 100% of your donation goes to research, awareness, relief then you have been severly misled. As defined by the government, only 65% has to go to the cause. If the charity themselves had fundraiser don't you think that they would have to pay for the expenses? If I had to pay for all the costs myself, the charities would get nothing because I can't afford to do it. Thank you but I'll continue to raise money for the charities that I support. They are very delighted and that is all that matters to me.
  • stevenc616stevenc616 Member
    edited March 2013
    Apologies if the tone of my last comment offended anyone. In my defense, I'm passionate about what I do. Please understand that for me it is the best way to help.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    I must admit I've never really understood the whole association of charity fundraising with endurance sports. I do swims for my own fun and enjoyment, and asking someone to donate to a charity while I do a swim makes as much sense (to me) as asking someone to donate to a charity while I go to Vegas.

    It seems that there is some weird misconception in folks minds that doing a swim or running a marathon involves some kind of sacrifice or hardship on the part of the participant. I'm sure for some folk that might actually be true (e.g. they are doing the event as part of some kind of masochistic bucket list), but I enjoy the training and I enjoy the doing the swim I have trained for.

    If someone wants to leverage the publics misguided understanding of why we swim and raise money for a charity, that's great, but I personally would be very uncomfortable with the idea of using any portion of the funds raised to defray expenses not directly associated with the fund raising effort. That is tantamount to asking someone to subsidize my next plasma TV purchase (i.e. if only I was not blowing all my spare change on swimming trips I'd surely have a brand spanking new 60" plasma TV).

    Now I am lucky enough to have the discretionary income to spend on the swims that I want to do, and I am more interested in swimming than watching TV, but I can understand that is not true for everyone.

    If there is a need to defray costs though it does seem that sponsors are the way to go, simply because they are more likely to ask the hard questions about where their money is going.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2013
    dc_in_sf wrote:
    I do swims for my own fun and enjoyment, and asking someone to donate to a charity while I do a swim makes as much sense (to me) as asking someone to donate to a charity while I go to Vegas.
    I’m going to put this on a t-shirt! (but I have no interest in Vegas)

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    stevenc616 wrote:
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. If you think that when you give money to ANY charity that 100% of your donation goes to research, awareness, relief then you have been severly misled. As defined by the government, only 65% has to go to the cause. If the charity themselves had fundraiser don't you think that they would have to pay for the expenses? If I had to pay for all the costs myself, the charities would get nothing because I can't afford to do it. Thank you but I'll continue to raise money for the charities that I support. They are very delighted and that is all that matters to me.
    The problem is most people (hopefully you do not fall into this category) who raise money for charity and use some of the donated funds for themselves are not upfront about the fact they will use a portion for their expenses. This is simply wrong and there can be no excuse for it at all.
    Yes, I think we all know that any charitable donation is watered down within the charitable foundation itself and we accept this when making the donation. If I ever donated to an athlete who advertsies all money raised will go to their designated charity and then found out after the fact this person kept a portion for themselves I would consider that person to be dishonest and a fraud.
    If an person cannot afford to pay their own expenses then they need to find sponsors, a benefactor or rethink their dreams but not raise money for charity and then take a protion for themselves unless they have stated that is what they are doing in big bold letters that cannot be missed.

  • HaydnHaydn Member
    I agree with DC that most of us do the swims because it is our sport, not to raise money for charity. But when doing our swims, it does seem a little cheap not to use our swims to benefit others by raising money for them or awareness to their cause. Some charities receive thousands in this way.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    edited March 2013
    I think it goes back to openness and honesty. If the person fund-raising says upfront where the money is going, and stays true to that, then the person who donates, does so with full awareness. Fundraising in the UK is a massive 'industry' and inyone who thinks people aren't making some kind of money out of it are only fooling themselves. I know because I was offered the role running a major charity from South Africa in the UK and the 'package' was fairly decent. Where do you think that money comes from?? and how is it different to when someone is a professional fundraiser and earns commission for their fundraising and an amateur fundraiser that does an event and uses a portion of that amount to help themselves take part? If a person raises £4000 for a charity but has to use £1000 to take part/expenses, the charity still gets £3000 which it would not have received had the person not done the event. :)
  • oxooxo Guest
    edited March 2013
    Fundraising in the UK is a massive 'industry'
    Oddly or not, the UK does seem to be an outlier in the nonGladwellian sense. The graph and map below are for 'google search trend' worldwide. But seening how only th UK is colored in the map, a gigantic proportion of those searches must have come from the UK. At least, that is my reading of it. I'm not sure what 2007ish event sparked the UK surge.

    [url="http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=swimming charity%2C swim charity&cmpt=q"]http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=swimming charity%2C swim charity&cmpt=q[/url]


    and 'charity' alone:


  • oxooxo Guest
    edited March 2013
    If a person raises £4000 for a charity but has to use £1000 to take part/expenses, the charity still gets £3000 which it would not have received had the person not done the event. :)
    Possibly. What portion of the £4000 was merely redirected away from the donors' regular charities and towards the swimmer's charity? In other words, if a donor has an annual budget for for their contributions, as they ought, then soliciting from that donor merely redistributes the funds. Earnest question. I don't know the answer.

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember
    edited March 2013
    One of the more prominent OW swimming / charity groups in the US is the Night Train Swimmers, based in San Francisco.

    Here is what their webpage says regarding how donations are used:
    Night Train Swimmer’s Administrative Expenses do not exceed 15%. 85% of all contributions go directly to the charities we support.
    In addition to the other suggestions above, I think swimmers who wish to be truly transparent about how their donors' money is being spent should specify exactly what "administrative expenses" mean.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    In 2011 there was a 6 minute English Channel "attempt" by a Central American swimmer. Accident, I wondered?

    I was back in Dover with @LisaCummins on the least tide of that season on crew (we got weathered out) and advising another. There was one poor day and a bunch of swimmers went out on a call, only one had any experience, a mix of solos and relays. One solo swimmer, whose name I won't give, was talking it up on the pontoon (it was an unusual early evening start) about how he was now a real Channel swimmer. He was big time and elite. (His words, not mine).

    Conditions were poor, we didn't expect anyone to make it (they didn't), I'd advised another guy I knew against going out.

    Anyhoo. The guy who was doing all the talking up, was out of the water at 50 minutes. I was told afterwards that he had a contract with the charity he'd been fundraising for and in order to have his costs covered, he had to swim a minimum of ... 50 minutes. It turned out, that this had also been the case for the 6-minute swimmer mentioned at the start.

    Therefore contrary to most of us, these people (as @SwimForever says) were extrinsically motivated, by the charity funding, not by the swim as most of us are.


  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2013
    Therefore contrary to most of us, these people (as @SwimForever says) were extrinsically motivated, by the charity funding, not by the swim as most of us are.
    In these two cases.... it sucks that these slots were reserved by folks who weren't serious about the swim...

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

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