How PR and media relations helped a charity fundraising challenge

How PR helped a unique fundraising challenge

Earlier this year, a friend of Unhooked told us about a charity challenge they were about to undertake for an incredible cause. Dave Hine was training to run ten marathons in ten days, in a mission to raise money for life-changing medical treatment for his cousin Maddy Boardman. Maddy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 17 and now, aged 41 and a mother of three children, Maddy’s condition has started to deteriorate. There is currently no known treatment or medication available in the UK, but a life-changing medical treatment called HSCT is available at a clinic in Mexico. The family were aiming to raise £50,000 for Maddy to travel to the clinic and begin the treatment.

Dave and Phil ran 10 marathons in 10 days across 10 counties to raise money money for specialist MS treatment for Maddy

Dave and Phil ran 10 marathons in 10 days across 10 counties to raise money money for specialist MS treatment for Maddy

Charity PR: The challenge and fundraising brief

Maddy’s husband Phil committed to running ten marathons in ten days, accompanied by family and friends, including Dave. Starting out in Cornwall on 20th May, they would run across a number of counties before ending the challenge in the family’s hometown of Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, on 29th May. When we heard about the challenge, we jumped at the chance to offer to help them raise awareness among their local communities, as well as drumming up support from anyone who was able to donate funds to help them reach their ambitious target.

How PR and media relations can help charity fundraising
Charity fundraising PR helped to raise vital donations

The power of PR to support fundraising challenges

To start activity, we began by speaking to the family and gathering information for a press release that brought the challenge to life and explained why it was so important. We built a media list, identifying target media who might be interested in the story. Given the distance the team were running and the different towns and cities they were passing, we identified plenty of local contacts who might be interested in catching the team as they were running through each location. 

We established a media relations strategy, ringing and emailing a variety of contacts and telling them about the story and welcoming any coverage they might be able to generate that would help to raise vital funds. We arranged interviews with journalists and the family, including a filming segment with the local BBC TV station, Spotlight. 

We sent the press release and images to our target media and this resulted in press coverage ahead of the first marathon, which was a great boost to the team during their training. As the runs got underway, we continued our media relations and this resulted in a steady stream of press coverage throughout the challenge. 

Media coverage and interviews for a charity challenge helped to raise donations and boost fundraising

Fundraising PR and media coverage

We generated media coverage across local newspapers, websites, broadcast and offline channels before, during and after the challenge. From BBC Radio Berkshire and MSN News to BBC One’s Spotlight show and BBC Online, we were able to secure coverage across a wide variety of mediums. Phil and the team were interviewed for TV, as well as live on the radio, helping to raise awareness of this incredible family as they raced while temperatures in the UK rose during a mini heatwave. 

As the media coverage came in, so too did the donations. The team were getting closer to their target with each day of the challenge, helping to spur them and bringing out crowds of supporters along the way. From £5 contributions to anonymous donations of more than £1,000, every pound raised helped to keep the team going.

By the end of the challenge, the family had smashed their target and the total now stands at £58,641, raising enough money for Maddy to undergo the treatment.

“The PR team worked tirelessly behind the scenes getting the word out and arranging interviews to fit around the 'ten marathons in ten days' event. The coverage resulted in an upsurge in interest and ultimately had a dramatic impact on our fundraising efforts. In turn this kept morale high and helped the runners to keep going.”


Fundraising PR and media relations
Charity fundraising PR and media coverage

Charity PR is a specialism here at Unhooked, and we understand the important role that media coverage can play in helping to achieve your goals and raise public support and funding. From one-off charity events to crisis management and ongoing media relations support, we provide a suite of PR services that are bespoke to your organisation’s needs. Get in touch today to find out more.

For more information about Maddy’s fundraising mission, visit the Go Fund page.  

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