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Each year I organise Altrincham VS Cancer, an annual fundraiser for The Christie in Manchester.

We’re 11 events in now and as a collective community effort have raised over £50,000.

Set up because my best friend lost both his friends to cancer and I wanted to do something in their memory. I then went on to lose my best friend to cancer in 2021. It’s safe to say this isn’t just a business ticking a CSR box. It’s personal.

In those 11 years there have highs and lows and I’m taking a look at these in this blog “Can I be honest? 12 Things I’d Like Everyone To Know About Charity Fundraising”

You feel like you’re failing on a daily basis

3 weeks ago, I felt like a total failure.

It happens every February about a week and a half into the month.

I look at how much has been raised and I mentally beat myself up.

At the time we’d raised £2000 and it still felt like failure.

In my business if we won a £2000 client or won £2000 order for a client it would reason to celebrate.

When it’s fundraising for charity, it often feels like failure as no figure is ever enough.

You often feel that nobody is listening

29 posts.

Thousands of views.

Hundreds of likes.


You can often feel your shouting into the ether and nobody is truly listening.

Are people tuned out of charity posts?
Do they just do a performative like to acknowledge and then move onto a meme about a Kardashian?
Do they actually care about this supermassive thing that impact us all – rich or poor, black or white, male or female, young or old?

Sometimes it feels pretty lonely and that you’re speaking and nobody is listening.

Other Areas Of Your Life Will Suffer

Every year my business has its worst month in April.

And I’ve made every excuse in the book – not making time for blogging, start of the financial year. School Holidays often being the main excuse (even though the 6 weeks Summer break it’s business as usual)

But I came to the realisation this year that it’s a month of fundraising in February where I take my eye off my own business. The impact is felt 2 months later.

I can take the loss, so I’m definitely not here begging for work.

But understand something will give if you take on a big charity campaign – it might be family time, other activities, fitness. There are only 24 hours in the day and we don’t all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce.

Sometimes The Media Will Be Silent

When we raised £10,000 … some press outlets were silent
When we raised £25,000 … some press outlets were silent
When we raised £50,000 … some press outlets were silent

Don’t get me wrong – there are some fantastic journalists who’ve given the fundraising amazing coverage year in year out.

But in 2024 it’s important to understand.

Good deeds get unnoticed by the press – whilst bad news gets column inches.
Some press outlets are just pay to play – no coverage unless you pay.

You Won’t Always Perform Better Than The Year Before

My mindset is one of continual growth.

And one year we’re going to raise less than the year before.

At the moment everything is being totalled up for this years fundraising and it’s going to be borderline if we beat last years fundraising or not.

It’s inevitable that one year in the future we’ll drop the ball.

Something is better than nothing though.

Big Ambitions and Not Enough Time

I’m going to be setting out our ambitions for Altrincham VS Cancer in the near future.

I know the 10 things that would make a massive difference.

As much as I have a clear idea of areas of growth for the fundraising I keep coming back to the same thing.

Big Ambitions and Not Enough Time.

I’m an owner managed business, which means any time taken out to fundraise is taken out of the business.

If I was a lady who lunched or a rich retiree I could do so much more.

Sometimes You’ll Feel Like Giving Up

October 6th 2021.

That’s the date I lost my best friend to cancer.

I’ve never said this publicly, but the fundraiser nearly didn’t happen in 2022.

I was lost. It was hard enough getting up in the morning and being functional without even considering rounding up the troops and fundraising.

I had to force myself to send the email, to get the venue on board, to face up the event that was too close to home.

I felt like giving up, but the one thing that kept me going was that I didn’t want anyone else to go through what my best friend or those around him had gone through.

When you have a powerful why like A cancer free future it keeps you going through tough times.

Altrincham VS Cancer 2018

You See The Best Of People

From businesses to supermarkets to schools to individuals.

When you’re fundraising, you see the absolute best in people.

People who selflessly give their own time and money to help others.

Over the 11 years of fundraising it’s been an absolute pleasure to know these people that come together for a greater cause.

I always say the great and good get involved in this and that is an understatement.

Every Donation Counts, No Matter How Small

£5 makes a big difference.

If every single person that follows us on Social Media donated £5 it would be a £350,000 fundraiser.

We’ve had a pandemic and cost of living crisis over the past 4 years, so I’m aware that people might have less disposable income than pre-2020.

Be aware that your donations of £5 / £10 / £20 add up.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to make a difference.

Big Charities Exist Because Of Big Issues

Big Charities Exist Because Of Big Issues.

With 1 in 2 people impacted by cancer it’s understandable that The Christie is one of the biggest charities.

A charity that supports so many people, needs to be this big.

And they face the same issues as other charities during the pandemic – less funding, less support and so on.

We need to support charities that make an impact to those loved ones around us.

Sharing Personal Stories Drives Donations

This is my story.

Oct 6th 2021 was the worst day of my life.

I lost my best friend to cancer.

I’d known Mark for over 20 years and he was the kindest nicest human being in the world ever.

Cancer took him.

Cancer left a hole.

Cancer destroys everything.

That’s why this Altrincham VS Cancer is more than just a business organising a fundraiser.

It’s personal.

I continue to organise this fundraiser for The Christie because I don’t want anyone else to face that huge sense of loss.

I’ll drop the Justgiving link below, but whatever you can afford please do donate.

If it saves one person going through the horror of cancer it’s worth it.

Repeatable Ideas Work

Make it easy for yourself.

If something works – repeat.

The format of our main event has always been 28 runners taking to the treadmills at Puregym to do 5k

It works. Participants enjoy it. It raises money each year.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

If this blog feels relatable or helpful

Please donate to Altrincham VS Cancer here

Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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