How Tamwed Ran a Pig Racing Fundraising Event

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How Tamwed Ran a Pig Racing Fundraising Event

Tamwed pig racing fundraising event


Small Charity Week case study #2: Pig racing

Tamwed's Oz Osborne explains how a novel fundraising event helped them draw a strong crowd.


Tamwed (Tamil Nadu/West Devon) was set up after the tsunami in 2004 to build links between communities in South India and South West England, and to support projects that benefit some of the most needy villagers in rural Tamil Nadu.

Last year, we found ourselves faced with a challenge: to raise funds to buy 12 bicycles for our health workers, so that they could more easily access remote villages to give people advice on diets, help villagers set up community vegetable and herb gardens, and identify anyone who may need medical treatment.


Swine and dine

In May 2013, we set up a fundraising and awareness-raising event in Devon, which we held in a converted chapel owned by one of our supporters. The event featured a South Indian meal - cooked by our committee members, many of whom have been to India - and a ‘pig race’, which involved participants placing bets on battery-operated toy pigs which then made their way erratically to the end of a race track.

Making use of all our contacts, we arranged to borrow the pig racing equipment from another organisation. We publicised the event on social media and on posters, attracting both new and existing supporters. The event was a sell-out; we even had to turn some applicants down due to limited space.


Starter’s orders

On the night, we dressed each of our ten pigs in a different racing colour (changed after each race so that good pigs that regularly won couldn’t be identified). Some pigs would go forwards, some would go backwards, and some would just fall over. It was a really fun, lighthearted activity that created a lot of giggles for our attendees.

Between the games, we delivered a short presentation on how donations are invested into projects that benefit some of the most isolated and marginalised of people, stressing that all money we raise goes directly to India and reminding people that £2 is equal to 200 Rupees, which amounts to many family’s daily income.

We raised £500 from ticket sales, bets on pigs and a raffle. Furthermore, two people from a local business who attended the event later pledged to contribute 50 per cent of the amount needed for the next year of our health project.

Several of those who were new to the organisation have since become active fundraisers and event organisers; some have even visited our projects. The event gained us several new, younger supporters, and with their input we’ve reorganised our website, and set up a Facebook page.


Bringing home the bacon

We think the novelty factor was one reason our event was so successful - pig racing isn’t your usual night out, and our attendees were mainly groups of friends who had made a fun evening of it.

It also helped that we were focused and specific in terms of what we were raising funds for. The target amount was enough to buy the specific items (in this case bicycles) needed to improve the delivery of the projects we support. This has greater appeal than just raising general funds, as it’s a more tangible goal for supporters.


Oz Osborne is secretary at Tamwed.

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