How to fundraise: five tips from a top fundraiser

Guni Suri is a Sense supporter who lives in Ealing. This year, he’s nominated for Fundraiser of the Year at the 2023 Sense Awards – and with good reason! He’s raised nearly £18,000 for Sense since 2018. 

Most recently, Guni took part in a nighttime hike to the peak of Snowdon and a 100-mile cycle, with just a week of rest in between. He raised £3,700 for those challenges. 

In the past, he’s also raised money for Sense by taking on a demanding 52-mile hike together with his beloved Shiba Inu, Stella. 

Are you thinking about taking on a sponsored event to raise some money for Sense? There’s no one better placed to give you advice than Guni. Here, he shares his top tips for attracting donations online in the build-up to a fundraising event. 

Guni Suri, in a Sense shirt and helmet, cycling in a sponsored ride surrounded by other cyclists.

1. Tell the story of your training on social media

You have to build up the story of your training on social media over time.

This helps people to feel like they’re coming on the journey with you. 

I don’t talk about Sense much in my posts in the beginning. I distract my followers from the final goal of raising money at first. If you put that out there too early, people can shy away. 

Guni Suri at the peak of Snowdon in the middle of the night, lit by torchlight in the darkness, arms raised in celebration.

I share little snippets of videos of me training to Facebook and so on, if I’m out trekking or cycling. It builds up over time. People feel almost like they’re training along with me. 

2. Post more frequently the closer you get to the challenge

Once people have seen all the effort I’ve been putting in over the months, I start ramping it up in the last two to three weeks before the challenge.

I’ll send out the fundraising page then. I don’t want to spam people, but I’ll post it and send it to people a few times.

That wakes people up. They realise, “Okay, he’s nearly there, he’s actually going to do it.” I remind them I’ve got five days to go, then three days to go.

On the day of an event I post as much as I’m able to as well, and I often see sponsors come in on the day.

Every day counts, you have to keep pushing until the end!

3. Don’t be afraid to emphasise how much effort you’re putting in 

This year, I took part in two challenges in the space of 10 days. 

I posted about the events separately to begin with, to space them out from each other.

“People might not know much about Sense and the valuable work they do, so I thought it was important to show my followers why I’m fundraising in the first place.”

Guni Suri, Fundraiser of the Year nominee at the Sense Awards 2023

But then as they got closer, I posted about them together, to show how much I was pushing myself to achieve them both. I wanted people to understand that I was doing not just one, but two events back-to-back.

Some people sponsored one event, but some people sponsored both. It’s worth the effort of really showing how much effort you’re putting in to achieve your goals. 

4. Tell people all about the cause you’re supporting

I found it really helpful to share some videos to my social media feeds about Sense and what they do. 

It warms people up, and shows people the reason why I’m doing all this. 

People might not know much about Sense and the valuable work they do, so I thought it was important to show my followers why I’m fundraising in the first place. 

5. Get your furry friends involved!

Guni Suri and his Shiba Inu, Stella, and a woman wearing sunglasses pose in a Sense photo frame at the end of the RidgeWalk Challenge.

I have two Shiba Inus, and it makes so much difference to both my training and my fundraising when they join me.

Especially when I’m doing trekking events, I’ll put it out there that the dogs are training with me, and I do pick up extra sponsorships. 

I think it’s because I’m doing good in two ways. Also, everybody loves photos of dogs on social media!

Next time, I’m even planning to get a basket for my bike so the dogs can join me on a sponsored bike ride.

Find out who’s won at the Sense Awards 2023

This year’s Sense Awards will take place on 23 November 2023.