I’m Leanna Howe, the Supporter Care Officer at MRF. My role involves supporting anyone in the community who wants to defeat meningitis through fundraising.
The first thing I do in the morning is to check my emails. I have an email from a frequent fundraiser who wants some resources for an upcoming bake sale. We have a variety of resources that we can provide for anyone wishing to hold a fundraiser, including some cute cardboard cake stands, cake labels and mini MRF flags. I respond to the individual and thank them for their continued support. MRF has a wonderful community of frequent fundraisers, who have continued to support us throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Some of my favourite creative fundraisers have been a 13-year-old completing a ‘3 times table’ walk totalling 84km in a week; someone running as many miles as they can in a month…dressed as a storm trooper; a 12-year-old growing their hair for 3 years and having it chopped off and someone hosting a virtual gaming livestream.
I login to our database and get in touch with any supporters who are fundraising this week. If anyone chooses to fundraise for us, we like to ensure they are supported throughout the process. I set up reminders on our database to get in contact along the journey, to check in with how they are getting on, if they need any guidance or give them a boost in confidence to ask for donations. We have lots of fab real-life guides written by our fundraisers, as well as other resources on our fundraising hub, which I like to share to give supporters inspiration. We are constantly developing the fundraising hub, and adding new creative ways people have supported us (especially throughout the pandemic). I check in with how someone’s bake sale went, wish someone luck for their climb up Mount Snowdon, and congratulate a supporter for completing their 73-mile cycle ride.
We have many fundraising events listed on our website
, the majority of which are looked after by our Events Fundraiser Ellie. However, I look after skydives. I check my inbox and see that we have a new sign-up to take part in a skydive. I get in contact to discuss why they have chosen to skydive for us, to say thank you, and to give them answers to any questions they may have. This supporter is going to jump out of plane in memory of her Mother who sadly passed away from meningitis. With anyone that comes to us to fundraise, we always make sure that the well-being of the individual comes first. This is why I always let the individual know about our support service and helpline, so they know there is a place to go if they want to talk through their experience. All staff at MRF are helpline trained. This means no matter who picks up a query, they’ll know how to respond or pass along to the support team.
Someone calls the office and asks for some sponsorship forms for their upcoming Hadrian’s Wall walk. I love receiving these calls, as it means the community is starting to come back to fundraising after a year or so of coronavirus restrictions. The supporter on the phone has chosen to fundraise for MRF as their friends’ brother sadly passed away from meningitis years ago. They mention they have done lots of training already, and even climbed Mount Snowdon as part of it. I am constantly in awe of our supporter’s dedication to train for events. I offer some resources such as t-shirts, and banners to take with them for their challenge. I note down their email address and contact number so I can get in touch to wish them luck before the challenge.
I receive an email forwarded across from the helpline. It is from a lady wanting our bank details so they can donate money from a collection tin in their local social club. We get lots of requests for collection tins to put out in the local community to collect change. Collection tins are an easy way to fundraise, it just requires checking on it every few months and paying the money in. I respond to the enquiry with the paying in details, and ask if they would like a certificate sent out to their social club to thank them for the donation.
I hope this has shown you some of the many ways our supporters choose to fundraise for us, and what support they receive from the fundraising team. The organisation has achieved so much thanks to our fundraisers, and will continue to do so until meningitis is defeated.