Last weekend, my daughters and I took part in a 24 hour swimathon to raise money for MS. The event was held at their school, and our team was captained by their swimming teacher. It was the first sponsored event for charity that our daughters had taken part in. Our elder daughter was a full team member and so had her own sponsorship webpage - the link for which she emailed to family and friends who very kindly sponsored her. In all she raised $150 for MS.
There are so many charities out there all of whom are vying for our attention and money. We are constantly asked to donate - through phone calls, door knockers, letters, and events. We were watching Celebrity Apprentice on TV last week, where the contestants complete challenges with the aim of raising money for charity. The chairman on the show, Mark Bouris, told the contestants that it is extremely hard nowadays to raise money for charity. This is so true. Nobody can or wants to give to every charity that asks for money. So how do people choose who or what to donate to?
In our case this weekend, it was the event and location that was the motivation behind our participation. Our elder daughter was excited about swimming in the middle of the night! She loves swimming, and to have the opportunity to swim so much, with her friends and to stay in a tent right next to the pool was more than enough incentive! Our younger daughter was excited too about taking part in the relay swim events that our team organised so the younger kids could also participate.
So far as the raising money goes. Our older daughter sent her webpage link to family and friends herself, and those who did sponsor her - I believe did so because it was she who asked and was participating, not because of what the particular charity was. I know I would do the same for family and friends if they asked the same of me.
The charity fundraising was not the focus of the weekend for many who took part. There were teams of swimmers who were aiming to beat records of the distance they could swim in the 24 hours and there were those kids excited about camping out and staying up overnight. But to join in the event, everyone had to pay a fee or 'donation', and that together with sponsorship money did raise a sizeable amount of money. I think this is definitely the way to raise money for charities - giving people an opportunity to get something out of their donation - whether it be a fun weekend event, or a free t-shirt. You have to be creative these days to get people to part with their money. Finding a way to raise money for charity that is fun is essential, and I think this event definitely counted as lots of fun!
In terms of what our daughters got out of the weekend. A lot of fun, great exercise and an amazing experience. But it was also a way to introduce them to charities and raising money for those less fortunate. To have a sporting event to raise money I think is an excellent way to remind us how lucky we are. We are physically able to join in a 24 hour swimathon; although we may be exhausted at the end - we can still do it. Many of the people we are raising money for by participating in these events do not have the opportunity or the ability to do such a thing. I think that this kind of event serves as a reminder to us of what we're capable of doing, and to not take things for granted.
We try to teach our daughters to be the best people that they can be, to do things to the best of their abilities. By taking part in the swimathon this weekend - they really made the most of their swimming talents and physical ability. And thanks to their own personal efforts, and donations, they have helped in a small way to allow someone with MS to live their life to the full too, though therapy sessions, medication and support.
This swimathon is an annual event now at our school, and I'm sure we will now become regular participants, and so regular donators to the MS cause.
Are there any events you or your kids have participated in to raise money for charity? What do you think these events can teach our kids?