Running out of money

I'm not sure this is going to be a popular post, but it's something I've been mulling over for a while now, so thought it only fair to share.

And I'm a big fan of airing issues to shine a bit of light on them.

The London Marathon raises millions of pounds every year for charity, which is brilliant.

Yet it also traps thousands of people into a sort of charitable serfdom, and this year, many will be worrying about how they get out.

To raise all the millions of pounds for charity, thousands of people spend hours and hours and hours (and hours), training, raising money and generally putting their lives on hold for a few months for the sake of a Sunday in April.

That's the bit most people know.

However, for the many who don't get a place in the ballot but still want to run, the choice then is for a charity place.

These are usually called something like “Golden Bonds” and involve you having to promise to raise a specific minimum amount - usually £1,500 to £2,000 – in exchange for a guaranteed place.

As I understand it, the charities pay the organisers for these places. These are then "sold" to wannabe marathoners, who pledge to raise a specific sum to cover the cost of the place - plus any extras like pasta parties etc - and to guarantee a profit for the charity.

From checking a few forums it seems that if you don't raise this figure you'd have to top it up yourself if you don't raise it.

The fact is, it's hard to raise money too far in advance, and Jan and Feb are out as people are skint and race day is too far ahead. Add in the crunchiness of the economy, and the prospect of raising a couple of grand over seven or eight weeks becomes incredibly daunting.

That's probably why this year I'm still seeing lots of charities advertising they have places left – even with only two and a half months to go.

This year there's also the shadow of Lenny Henry looming over fundraising proceedings, so people who might haev been willing to donate might be feeling a bit tapped.

I understand the argument that if you can't raise the money you shouldn't agree to do it - and clearly a lot of people aren't given the number of spaces left - but in the late summer, with months to go before the big day, it seems an easily attainable target.

With a bit of of effort.

I consider myself lucky I don't have a charity place this time around as on top of the training, and working so I can pay for kit, I wouldn't want the added pressure of worrying about how I was going to raise up to £2,000 from cash-strapped friends, family and work mates.

I am running for a charity, but it's my own choice, and everything I raise is a bonus for them as it's not costing them anything.

I'm not railing against the charity places, just highlighting the fact that this year will be tough for those who volunteered to run - I'm glad I''m not one.

Anyone out there with a bond place worrying about this?

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