What's your view on fundraising?



  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    Hi, I'm UK based and wasn't aware that you could take donations to cover your costs? Is that really true? It seems morally wrong to me.

    I covered all the costs of my swim last year. As it closer to the swim date people kept asking me "who are you fundraising for?", so I thought it would be a good idea to nominate a local hospice. All the donations went straight to the local hospice.

    However, I'm broke now, so if I plan any more stunts swims then I need to find a corporate sponsor.

    Could the 2007 spike be related to David Walliams' Channel swim?
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    I doubt that either of cases mentioned by @loneswimmer were externally motivated by the charity funding as such - the talking up suggests something much more self-oriented. 6 minutes is a fantastically arbitrary goal!

    Going back to the discussion about swimming as pleasure / swimming for charity, one of my reservations is that swimming for charity changes the public representations of the sport to focus on suffering. Doing endurance sport for charity is essentially trading personal suffering for donations; if it were utterly pleasurable, then no-one would donate. This means that outward-facing websites and swim stories tend to emphasise risk and suffering and de-emphasise pleasure. Of course the risk and suffering are there at times, but that's not the whole story by any means.
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2014
    @ForeverSwim talked briefly on this issue during the recent SERC marathon swimming discussion organized by @Sharko. He is fortunate enough to have a separate sponsor, so 100% of donations to the Forever Fund go to charity.

    Thought it was a topic worth revisiting.
  • swimchica623swimchica623 Member
    edited May 2014
    My two cents....because my current situation sums up EVERYTHING here...
    Main point: I am dedicating my August 2014 Catalina swim to the Navy Seals Foundation.
    Motivation for THIS charity: I would have never guessed I would have picked Navy Seals in a million years. But when I registered to swim in the 3rd annual event in 2012 (actually had to pull out due to asthmatic complications from a cold...not good for a sub-60 degree non wetsuit swim!) the connections from reaching out to get permission to swim "naked" allowed me to redefined myself as a swimmer and found the best group of marathon and open water swimmers anyone could ever ask for. At the fifth event, I met JC Malick. The Navy Seals have already given so much to the country, and then without even trying to, provided me my future family...both in the swimming and literal sense. I didn't overshoot my fundraising resources with the Frogman 5Ks, but I want to give back so much more. So why not dedicate my first cold channel swim to them?
    My Method: I used gofundme for raising money for Tampa Bay. It was a difficult decision, but many people just gave a little bit of money, and that money added up. It is the difference between crowdfunding, where you use social media to reach a lot of people so no one is stretched, but everyone fees like they have contributed to something cool, and traditional fundraising. My current fundraising goal for Navy Seals/Catalina is $6000. If I met that goal, all donations would be 50% to the swim, 50% to the Navy Seals. The more money raised, the more money to the Navy Seals.
    Other fundraising: I don't JUST beg friends for money. I also beg companies for money! In exchange for shamelessly endorsing how amazingly awesome their products are, small companies give me support for swims. So if I seem to have a fanatical obsession with Surf-Fur Parkas, Amy's Organic Kitchen, and hopefully one more on the way...that's why.
    The pressure: I feel increased pressure when I get support from friends and companies, and the more support I get, the more I feel it...but it is a positive pressure. It reminds me of when I was swimming on a relay when I was younger or that time in college when the win for the confrence championship came down to the very last 400 free relay...and we were tied...and I was the last to go. I swam my best time and it was FUN. The support reminds me that I am swimming for other people whenever I feel too tired for a 5AM workout or to swim that last mile.

    IN conclusion.....I can't support my own swims 100%. I am a teacher in Florida. Check the news...we don't make much money. But I understand the addiction, so if someone were in my situation, I'd give them $10 or $20.

    () .....just in case anyone is interested :D

    Edited by (Donal)
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Personally, I don't believe in asking friends/family to give me money for my swims. It is my decision to do them and therefore I am solely responsible. I spent a huge portion of my retirement nest egg to do the swims I have done. Using a charity as a means of raising funds for a swim (especially those who have done it without stating this purpose - you know who you are...) is simply wrong. I will never donate to a swimmer's charity unless 100% of the money goes directly to the charity and there is no way any of it can be used by the swimmer. Where there is a will there is a way even if it means delaying a swim a year or two while money is set aside to pay for it. More power to those who are able to secure a sponsor and of that I am jealous.
  • No (successful, legitimate) charity has 100% of their donations going directly to the benefactors. You need to pay the people that make the charity run and raise awareness by doing things that raise awareness. The way swimmers can raise money, too, is similar....the only drawback is that we do become middlemen. I'm 28...I'm ahead of the game by having ANYTHING saved for retirement, and the little savings I do have cannot be touched for swimming. But I can keep swimming, and hope to inspire others to swim, raise awareness of people doing great things, and funnel some money into causes (I've done all three of these things). I can say with absolute certainty I've given more than I've received, although I've received an awful lot of support. As long as I continue to give more than I receive, I have a hard time seeing that it is "simply wrong".
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    Moderators--not quite sure whether this post is right for this particular forum, but I've noticed in the inspiration thread that some members raise funds for various charities and causes. I'm considering doing something similar, and I just want to get some input on how you've gone about this. I see some use such sites as "justgiving" or the like and others also (or instead?) have their own websites with a link to donate.

    But what are some other fundraising strategies you've used? I have fund raised for a couple different charities in connection w/ different races, and I don't want to keep "hitting up" friends. And I kind of want it to be an ongoing thing, rather than connected with any one race (although I'd want to find ways to designate funds to go to a race's charity if I participate). My thought is that funds should go to the charity rather than to pay for my training and travel (as in such ventures as Team in Training). My thought is that I want to give back in some way--I love to swim and run... and I'm grateful for the health and the money to be able to do these things. I'm not sure yet which charity ... so many good ones from which to choose! ... I'd want it to be an organization that isn't top heavy with overhead/administrative expenses and where more money goes to those most needing it.

    So any advice/tips appreciated. Thanks for the great collective energy here!
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited March 2015
    Hi @dpm50, it's a fine question. I merged your question with this old thread.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    Thanks, whatever helps!
  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member
    I work for a big hospital in Northern New England.

    If I am still working here when I am ready for the expensive ambitious swims, certainly the idea of contacting Marketing and seeing what can be arranged for me to do a fundraiser in connection with it is on my mind.

    However, sports activities as medical research fundraisers is Big Business in the US and I confess to getting cynical enough about it, and what the charities are about when they go to expensive lengths to protect the "brand" that I do not know how comfortable I will be with that.

    Let's just say I'm also getting a bit Scroogelike with the savings account as an alternative that makes me feel better about myself and my pride.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    NoelFigart, I hear you on the overzealous protection of brands! Komen Foundation in particular seems to be all about not wanting other organizations to use the words "for the cure," which strikes me as just silly. And I'm leaning toward the less "visible" charities, the unsung ones that put more energy into actually helping those they purport to help and don't spend the big dollars on advertising. I also want to be sure the charity gets the $ rather than using it to fund my training, travel, entry fees and such, as with Team in Training and the other giants (although I will say a triathlete friend coaches swimming as a volunteer for TnT and is himself a cancer survivor, so I don't want to dismiss the value of such groups, just that they're not the direction I'd wan to take).
  • msathletemsathlete Victoria, British Colubia, CanadaMember
    I have been very fortunate with my swims in Cowichan Lake. This year will be my third swim in the lake and each year there is close to 100 volunteers. In the past we have received sponsorship from the local Country Grocer in the form of food for our volunteers as well as free campsites for crew members during the course of the swim. All boats (power and kayak) are donated. Medical equipment is also donated and a medical team volunteers.

    It seems to work better when you ask for things rather than money. I think one of the keys is to get to know your community and let people volunteer where they want to and can. Not everyone wants to open water swim so volunteering for other people's swims is a great way for them to be a part of it.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    Various comments and opinions over at the Ego thread reminded me of the summer of 2012, when I became disillusioned with Fundraising Swims. This photo was my last attempt to get money from friends and family as a pass through to some charity, the low point of my ask, and the beginning of a better, more openly selfish me.



    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    HAHA! Where do I send my donation?

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • BUMP

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    If I asked friends to buy me three pizzas and then didn't finish a single slice, I'd feel like a dork.


    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • pavlicovpavlicov NYC USASenior Member
    edited August 2016

    I met a swimmer who decided to fundraise 1mil from his (rather wealthy) friends and companies he worked with, and the money went all to a respectable charity. He asked everyone to donate only little before the swim and majority after he completes successfully(!) the swim so he is motivated. None of the money went to finance the swim. I was very happy to contribute.

    My 75 year old cycling friend, a retired high school math teacher, picks a charity for every 100mi bike ride she does and then she hits her old friends who have money and don't do much sports anymore. She pays her registration fee and all other expenses with the rides herself. As she says, she will ride anyway and if it can bring some good to someone, then why not. When I like the charity she picks, I contribute.

    I met a swimmer who started some sort of "fund me" page to help raise money to cover their (proper noun not used for de-identification purposes) registration fee and other expenses. I did not contribute. I don't think I need to support someone else's hobbies or maybe I just don't have enough information of the person's case.

    I also met a swimmer who is planning an outrageously long, 'adventurous' swim even though 'their' swimming resume is rather slim. They claim that once they get everything set up, they plan to fundraise from sponsors about 5mil. But in order to approach the sponsors, they already fundraise for the initial 'setting up boat and stuff' amount.

    I think all above examples are different from each other and it is hard to have general opinion. Even cases that we might not like, usually have more intricate details and maybe if we knew all of them, we would change our opinions. I do not like the categorical statements I read sometimes.

    And before we decide to have some strong opinions anyway, I invite you to consider one more case:

    I also have friends who fundraise to finance their 'self-inflicted' upcoming life style changes and they don't contribute anything from their fundraising to any charities (most of them don't even pay taxes of their fundraising). They just ask people to get them stuff because they decided to make a lifestyle change that they technically cannot afford to support using their own means. So they organize baby showers, bridal showers, etc. I fail to see the difference between this case and some of the cases above.

    Nothing is black and white. But whatever you do, make sure you declare it a world record!

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