Small Charity Week case study #5: Bucket Collections for MS-UK
MS-UK's opportunity to collect money in a shopping centre helped them raise awareness of the cause as well as gain more confidence in face-to-face fundraising.
MS-UK supports anyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis, including those who have been diagnosed, those being tested, their loved ones and professionals. With an annual income of around £600k, we offer unbiased advice and emotional support. In 2013, we successfully rebranded from MSRC to MS-UK, and this year we celebrate 21 years of supporting people.
During Small Charity Week last year, we won a prize draw for a one-day community fundraising license in Cambridge’s Grafton Centre. This provided us with a great opportunity to raise awareness of MS and MS-UK. We may have been around for 21 years, but we’re far from a household name. With just 11 staff, we’re a small team, and so to have the opportunity to promote our work with the public face to face is a rare luxury - yet it’s essential to get out there and meet people if we’re to help spread awareness. Our rebrand five months earlier had been well received among our current supporters, but our one-day fundraising licence was one of our first opportunities to showcase it to the general public.
To help draw the crowds on the day, the FSI kindly arranged for us to have a balloon modeller join us, while Vodafone (one of the Small Charity Week partners) gave us lots of big, helium balloons printed with our text code. We also organised a ‘guess how many bears in the box’ competition - joined by our 6ft MaScot, MaximuS.
We had a very successful day and spoke to many people, some with an MS connection, others just interested in what we do. The fact is, we can only help those people who know we’re here. This opportunity allowed us to reach out to people who need us, so that we can make a difference to their lives.
Building on success
Opportunity breeds opportunity, and having made ourselves known to the Grafton Centre managers, when the centre turned 30 later on that year we were invited along with several other charities to be part of the celebrations, and were able to do another collection on that day.
We would really like to build upon our experience of doing face-to-face fundraising, and the day we spent in the Grafton Centre has given us more confidence to go out and do more of this in future.
Sam Harper is a fundraiser at MS-UK