When Guess2Give got in touch with me to show me their site I was really impressed with their new charity fundraising idea. Guess2Give was founded by Mark Chandler and Tim Parkman, two keen sportsmen who were looking for a creative way to raise money for charity through the multiple triathlons they had lined up. Instead of asking for sponsorship for each one, they asked people to guess how long it would take them to complete each triathlon, for a donation, and the closest guess got some money back. What fun idea! Each guess costs £3 and 50p goes into the prize pot, with the rest going to the charity.
To promote their website, they have created a spoof film to highlight the challenges that charities face in the current economic environment. You can watch it here.
I was given the chance to interview the founders of Guess2Give and here is what they had to say.
Where did the idea for Guess2Give come from?
Co-founder Mark Chandler: I was working at Marie Curie at the time, and had signed up to do three triathlons in 2009 before undertaking the ultimate challenge, Ironman Zurich in July 2010. I wanted to fundraise for all four events but knew I would only get one hit wit
h traditional online sponsorship. I needed a more engaging way of raising money and came up with the idea of a sweepstake, asking my colleagues, friends and family to guess how long it would take to complete each triathlon, with the competitive element that they could win some money back! I managed to raise an extra £300+ for the charity in three triathlons, and for each event one of my mates won a cash prize. When I talked the idea through with Tim (Co-Founder), we quickly realised that making fundraising ‘competitive’ would resonate with lots of people and so decided to launch Guess2Give.
Can you give some examples different types of sweepstakes?
It’s a new spin on an age-old idea that charities have been using for years – guessing the number of sweets in a jar to win the jar of sweets – so it’s easy for people to understand and part of the British culture. Guess2Give simply takes it online.
Some examples of sweepstakes’ that have been setup so far on G2G: guess how much weight will be lost by a specific date; guess how many hoops will be scored by a basketball team from a total of 3000 shots; guess the total length of time played by 2 Swansea players over 4 Premiership matches; guess the number of steps made walking the Great Wall of China/ Kilimanjaro; guess the distance a paper plane will fly.
Fundraising has become increasingly challenging in recent years, for charities and for individuals faced with growing minimum sponsorship pledges. 78% of larger charities are feeling the impact of the downturn and 28% are anticipating a drop in funds (Source: Third Sector, 13 July 2010). In the current challenging economic conditions, the need to maintain or increase funding income remains the principal worry for charities. Also during the economic downturn from 2007, voluntary income received by the 1,000 biggest charities has fallen more than a fifth from £11.2bn to £8.7bn – CAF
We are particularly excited by how Guess2Give can help charities engage with a completely new demographic. You might be aware of the challenges that charities face engaging with younger people, particularly young men. Pretty much every charity, big or small, has a demographic of their donors which is mainly female and over 40. A huge issue for the sector moving forward is to try and encourage younger people to give. In fact the male under 35 market is hardly tapped into at all. Guess2Give’s demographic of users bucks this trend, with over 70% under the age of 40.
In addition, more people are taking part in events and asking their friends and family for sponsorship and it’s not possible to sponsor everyone who asks. Now, people can support a wider number of fundraiser’s who take part in challenges whilst having a bit of fun, and maybe even winning a few quid.
How important do you think it is to come up with creative methods of donation?
It is hugely important for the sector to be innovative. In fact the Government officially recognised that there was a problem with fundraising fatigue in its ‘Giving White Paper’ published by the Cabinet Office in May 2011. Guess2Give has subsequently been given a grant by NESTAs ‘Innovation in Giving’ Fund which is there to support organisations pushing the boundaries of the fundraising sector.
The days of people only using paper sponsorship forms is gone as people are much more mobile and have networks that extend beyond their local areas. Fundraising now needs to be able to access those wider networks in a variety of ways to ensure charities can meet the growing demands for their services.
Do you think that fundraising on an ‘individual’ scale is as important as big national campaigns?
I don’t think it’s a case of one being more or less important. The point is that in the current climate charities are having to be more creative with their fundraising, and are having to look beyond traditional fundraising sources. This is fairly major shift in culture for a sector that has remained static pretty much since the introduction of JustGiving. Guess2Give is at the heart of this change and we believe we offer a new and important revenue stream to charities, and what is more, without fees or set up costs for each organisation.
A large amount of fundraising is done within personal networks by people who have been affected by a cause. Mobilising and motivating those personal networks is essential to raising funds for charities and Guess2Give offers people another way to do that.
What do you think about ‘chuggers’ and their role fundraising?
We don’t have anything against chuggers. It is up to each charity to decide whether or how to employ this practise. Our launch video lampooned chuggers but our intention was only to highlight that there is another way to fundraise.
How might charity fundraising continue to change in the future?
I do not pretend to be able to read the tea leaves better than anyone else but it seems clear that innovation must increase if the sector is to avoid stagnating. The simple fact is that charities, and individuals, are struggling to fundraise, and the more exciting and innovative platforms exist to help them the better.