Earlier this month we spoke with Katie who shared her fundraising ‘top tips, worries and challenges’ with us after taking part in Parachute for PAPYRUS.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the fundraising challenge that you took part in?

Hello! My name’s Katie and I live in Cheshire with my cocker spaniel, George, who, yes – I adore.

To challenge myself, I decided to take part in Parachute for PAPYRUS in 2022. Being afraid of heights, and admittedly, not the best flyer, I thought this would be a challenge of a lifetime and to be able to raise funds for a charity that meant so much to me was a complete added bonus.

What inspired you to want to fundraise? And why did you choose Parachute for PAPYRUS?

A close friend of mine died by suicide in 2013, and although it gets easier, you never forget. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about Julie and so with that, I always knew I wanted to take part in some fundraising in her memory, but for a while I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. You always hear of people taking part in marathons and hikes, but it’s safe to say I’m certainly no runner. Then, I saw Parachute for PAPYRUS advertised on social media, and I thought, that’s it! That’s the challenge I need to do.

Getting started

What fundraising strategies or tactics did you find most effective in reaching your goals?

There were a few different tactics that I thought worked well. The first was taking part in the challenge with my mum, auntie, and cousin – this way we were all in it together, to support each other and fundraise as a team. We had to fundraise £395 each, which initially, I panicked about. We chose to do this as a collective and set a goal of £1,580 between the four of us, this seemed less daunting and completely achievable.

What information did you find useful to include on your fundraising page?

I opted to set up a JustGiving team page, this allowed us to join our fundraising pages together to reach our shared goal. On my page I found it helpful and important to include a little about me and why I had chosen to take part in the challenge. I found that friends and family engaged with this well.

Your journey

Did you find people engaged with your page and donated, if not, how did you challenge this?

Generally, I found that people engaged with my fundraising page, I made sure to tell most people that I came in to contact with, whether this be friends, family, work colleagues. I found that people showed real interest and I think because I was so afraid of the challenge, this helped my supporters to stay engaged.

How did you ensure you reached your fundraising target?

Having a joint fundraising page with family members helped; my cousin and auntie did bake sales at their workplace, and this really helped to boost our funds.

How did you go about building a network of supporters for your fundraising efforts?

For me, I found social media played a huge part in building my network of supporters. My social media pages are usually private, but I knew that if I wanted to raise as much as I could I needed to change them to be viewable to everyone and so I changed my settings to ‘public’ whilst my challenge was ongoing. This enabled other individuals to be able to share my posts too, which led to more donations, which I was very grateful for.

Can you share any tips for engaging friends, family, and the community to support your cause?

By picking a challenge that I knew I was going to struggle with helped, people were then interested to see how I would get on and wanted to donate to show their support. Being as open and honest as possible is something that I also think was important.

Fundraising can be tough at times; how did you ensure you looked after yourself throughout all your hard work/ what self-care elements did you include?

I think the best advice I could give for this would be to not worry about the challenge. I’m a natural worrier and overthinker, so on paper, this sounds a lot easier than it actually was. I tried to ‘switch off’ at times, whether this was when I had got home in the evenings, or even if I was out with friends on a weekend. I tried to not think about my fundraising so that I had time to gather my thoughts and not overthink about the fact that in a few months I was going to be skydiving from 15,000ft.

Challenges and obstacles

Fundraising often comes with its share of challenges. Can you share some of the obstacles you faced during your fundraising journey?

I think for me, once I had asked my friends and family to donate, I felt that I had exhausted all my avenues with my fundraising, and I was still quite a way off reaching my goal. However, that’s where social media played a huge part for me. My friends and family were able to share my posts. Once they had done this, I noticed a spike in my donations as more were coming in from people that I didn’t know. I was so grateful as I was now receiving support from all sorts of directions.

How did you overcome these challenges, both in terms of fundraising and personal motivation?

I think staying positive helped me. I knew that my supporters would be really interested to know about PAPYRUS and about the work that they did and so I made sure to post about the charity across my social media so that people knew about their work and their helpline, HOPELINE247. I reminded myself about why I was doing the challenge, it was for Julie, and no matter how afraid I was of the challenge, this was a good enough reason to remain motivated.

The challenge

Did you enjoy your skydive? Would you recommend it to other potential fundraisers?

I absolutely loved my skydive and can honestly say that it was one of the best things that I have ever done.  The adrenaline and the thrill I got from the day wasn’t like anything I have previously experienced, and it gave me a real sense of accomplishment. I would recommend it to anyone, I was also really proud of my mum, aunt and cousin for taking part with me.

Did you find your fundraising rewarding?

I found fundraising super rewarding. Knowing that the money that I was raising would make a real difference to people who contacted PAPYRUS was something that I was so fulfilled by.

What were some of the most memorable moments or milestones during your fundraising journey or event? And can you share an achievement that made the experience worthwhile?

For me, the challenge itself will always be the most memorable. I think it sounds strange, but after completing the skydive I felt that I could accomplish anything and that if I could freefall from a plane, I could stop worrying about daft day to day things. I think it’s important to also mention here that the instructor you skydive with makes you feel so calm and at ease, they really do add to the experience.

Advice for prospective fundraisers/closing thoughts

What advice would you give to individuals who are considering fundraising for PAPYRUS but may be hesitant to start?

I’d say, do it. Whatever your reservations, the experience is worth it. You can speak with the PAPYRUS fundraising team before hand and they can offer you some great advice, whether this be on deciding what challenge it is you want to take part in, how to set up your fundraising page, and they even have ideas on how to boost your fundraising with their toolkit, which I found so helpful.

Would you take part in any fundraising in the future? / Do you have any future plans or ideas for continuing your support of PAPYRUS or other charitable causes?

I would certainly fundraise in the future; PAPYRUS is a charity that means a lot to me and so I think if I were to fundraise again, I would continue to do it for them.  I don’t have anything planned for the future as of yet, but I did see they now offer wing-walking, so who knows! Maybe, this could be my next adventure.

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