My Ovacome
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How do you get a whole town helping raise funds?

I am seeking ideas please. Am part of mahoosive fundraising drive for my town and its knackered old chemo suite and cancer centre where lots of people sit in reception type chairs along the corridors having chemo. Not remotely comfortable... Plus lots of other work to do... Total remodelling needed. No wellness factor/whole life support at all at the mo. It is totally inadequate for the demands placed on it today -- let alone in future, in a town which is constantly expanding.

It's not just OC obviously, but think you ladies might have some great thoughts.

The scale of this -- we need £half million in 6 months and £5million in all -- means thinking BIG.

My idea is to some how get whole town involved - but HOW?

Please put thinking caps on for me? As soon as I end my chemo in new year I will be starting on this properly and need to get my head around it...

Thank you in advance for what I'm sure will be some great random stuff! All ideas welcome, small as well as huge! From little acorns...



Worth remembering I am in PR so can write, find media contacts, do online stuff, publicise etc - but you have to have content for any campaign!

26 Replies

Dear Sue

I'm horrified you have to sit in the corridors in your hospital to have chemotherapy. I looked up where you live but no location.

My first thought was that it needs a sustained regular event over a finite period - a year? - to get the message across but probably starting after the Christmas spending glut this year and work towards a major event next Christmas. Start by identifying some movers and shakers in the town to sit on the organising group. Ask your local printer if he'd do a deal on headed notepaper and blank flyers which will be used to advertise events within your annual fundraising campaign.

You clearly need to raise awareness of this dreadful situation in your local hospital. Unfortunately nobody sees cancer treatment centres until they get the disease. I'm tempted to say get a photographer in to take photos of all people using the facilities who give their permission, sitting in the chair with the pump in the corridor, and put a first name to the photo to make it personal. Get a display in the town centre centre and/or hospital car park, art gallery, town hall, etc, and borrow an actual chair and pump. Get some posters up which explain what is needed. All this to try and make 'cancer' everyone's cancer. Perhaps add statistics about the number of people who will need this service in your town and list the types of cancers treated in the hospital. I think it would be a very graphic and shocking way of raising awareness but it might make people donate. Have collecting boxes at the exhibition site. Add a book where people can sign a petition to the local health board/MP to lobby for better facilities, and ask for email addresses so they can be contacted to assist with further initiatives running in the town for a 12 month period.

Have an annual calendar of town events to follow. Coffee Mornings, Garden Open Events, Walkathon, Half Marathon etc. to be run by residents in the town - different events perhaps once a month so there's something that everyone can join in with at least once in the year. Visit local clubs such as WI, Round Table, and schools, etc. to ask if they will take part in a year-long fund-raising campaign and what they can do to help. Ask whoever puts on your community firework display next November will make it in aid of the town's cancer fund. Identify a few good speakers as clubs are likely to need a persuasive talk to galvanise their members.

There are good opportunities to fundraise at Christmas. I saw a great fund-raising idea in Manchester. They had a Christmas tree with lights powered by an exercise bike and the aim was to keep the tree lit up for the whole 12 days of Christmas. It raised a lot of money in sponsorship.

All easier to put on paper or on a blog than to actually do - but I do think something like this is achievable if you get the right mix of people on the organising group to start with, headed paper/flyers to brand each event as your event, and do something that everyone in the town can become involved with.

I can only wish you luck with the venture. It's an exciting challenge for a PRChick! I hope there are lots of ideas on your blog as I know Ovacome are also looking at fundraising ideas for March and it would be good to pool ideas and learn from one another.

Best of luck with it Sue!!!!!! love Annie


Wonderful rich starting thoughts for me, thank you! It's Slough by the way.... Big place... The problem is scale of demand rising and rising,

Not going to comment on ideas at moment, as don't want to throw my interference into the creative process here! But def good stuff xxxx


What a wonderful idea, so important for patients.

Just jotting down some ideas here:

Do you have any contacts with Ricky Gervaise ... He is very linked to Slough in a lot of minds. Does he have anyone close who has had a cancer scare....or try Chris Evans?

Also, The Lions are good to ask for fundraising income. They do a lot of local charities.

Does Macmillan have any grant money via their survivorship programme?

Have you tried asking your local MP? He/she may know of a source of charitable grants.

All the best. It's a grand scale of work you're undertaking, but if you start with something small, publicise it with lots of emotional stuff in the local press, who knows where you can go?

Love Wendy xx


The key will be getting some self-sustaining momentum I guess... because bake sales won't cut it alone for sure. Can't stand Ricky G but I'll go for it if needed! Grants is the key word that leapt out here to me -- wondering now re the health lottery now too -- def worth checking! Thanks Wendy, that's really helpful




I would suggest approaching any large employers in the area too, when I worked in Slough I remember the large chocolate company (I won't mention names, but I'm sure you know who I mean), if they are still there, maybe you could get some fundraising assistance from them.(it is around 18 years since I worked in slough so I don't know if they are still there)

The company I worked for, until they closed down the shop last year, used to have a notice board in our staff room, all decorated for Christmas messages, the idea being we put the money we would have spent on cards at work into a box, which was sent to the local hospital baby unit. This worked very well, even for a small company of less than 20 people. xxxx


I know the one! Good idea re workplaces too... Thank you!



An excellent idea re workplaces. I know there is a big growth in corporate charitable giving and it's just a matter of asking these companies - particularly the technology companies, of which I think there are a number in the Slough area. x


I was going to make a couple of suggestions but I think Annie is brilliant and has more ideas than I could ever have thought of. Anyway my two ideas are ;

1) PENNY POTS. Tell as many people as you can to wash out a coffee jar write a label on it saying Penny Pot and each time you come back from the shops look in your purse / pocket and see if you have any 1p 2p and 5p put them in the jar for say six months and then count them up. It does not sound a lot but if you get a few hundred people doing it I am sure you could raise a fair bit, and nobody likes having a purse full of pennies.

2) HEALTHY FOOD COOK BOOK. This could be ready for say the summer when we all want to look slim and fit in our swimsuit. Ask people to send in a healthy recipes and any slimming tips get them all together and ask your local printer if he could print them in some sort of book form and sell them to the town maybe through your Library of at Marathon Days. Everyone loves a cookery book and if its healthy even better.

Good Luck with the fund raising keep us informed

Love Babs x x


Hmm. As other half is a chef I'm tuned in to this sort of thing...

and Berkshire has quite a few celeb chefs wonder if a slough anti cancer cookbook with sexier title might work. Eat for health is a gooood theme, thank you. Could do the crossing cultural barriers angle on this too...


Lots of nice curry recipes maybe x


Definitely -- maybe cutting back on the ghee! We have an amazing cultural mix here and everyone needs to eat healthier - this definitely has potential Babs!


Would the celeb chefs and you do have quite a few contribute their own recipes in the manner of The ready Steady Cook Book.

Would your O.H. be able to ask them as one chef to another :)

H.F.W. has joined with my gp down here with healthy eating diet app. according to the hospice nurse.

At the RDE hospital in Exeter which I attend there is group called FORCE which raises a tremendous amount of money for everyone affected by cancer. they have just raised enough money for an extension to their building. google them you might get some ideas.

Good luck

love Marlyn xxx


You never know its worth a ask... Will do re Exeter, thanks! People who have been there done that may have good advice... :) this Marlyn




Fine one to try and give advice. Can't even spell my own name. :)

love Marilyn xxx


Hi Sue

Lots of helpful stuff above but I've found getting other women's groups on side really useful. The W.I. are magnificent at organising all manner of things, not just serving tea & cakes - although that worked really well and they have helped me raise well over £2000 in the last 2 years. Mother's Union, breast-feeding clubs/cafes, Ladies' Circle & Rotary are all potential helpmates in this war. 6th form in local schools, guides, St.John's Ambulance, knitting/crochet groups and the local female reporter if you have one. Needs some sort of "mission statement" prepared, with take-home leaflets etc. but you are ideally placed (in PR) to sort all that out.

Good luck. Anything you can pass back to the rest of us fundraiser/awareness raiser types gratefully received.

Jennie (ROCC - Oxfordshire)


Thanks Jenny a v good idea... Tapping into existing networks as a principle. Am member of various biz ones and planned to muse on those but never crossed path with WI and they can certainly be formidable. Remember am not only raising for OC here but the community has a problem as a whole... Will certainly feed back any ideas I come across into Ovacome anyway -- have a few more specific ones brewing in any case. All new to me -- have done sponsorship campaigns but not fundraising before! Loving all this fresh thinking




Don't under-estimate the WI - particularly with Ovaria Cancer. The WI in Ammaford raised £11k for Ovarian Action Action. I was asked to receive the cheque and was gutted it wasn't for Ovacome. I took along my BEAT cards anyway which I always do if I receive a cheque on behalf of another Ovarian Cancer charity. xxxx


Flipping 'eck! They are so ON the list! :)


Well with my callous fundraiser's hat on I'd recommend targetting them 'cos they're the right age for copping this dratted disease so more likely to know someone with it and be sympathetic. Lions are good fundraisers too - and the Round Table or Ladies Circle.

I'm looking to set up a competition with the Merched y Wawr - that' the Welsh Language WI - to translate the BEAT message into Welsh and have started doing some talks to the English WI hoping they might take an interest in fund-raising for us.

Years ago I was involved in a whole town initiative to fundraise and establish a festival. It was a fascinating experience and we put the success down to the right collection of people on the organising group. The meetings were so interesting - always helped along with some drinks and nibbles - that we really looked forward to them.

Ah, you're taking me back over 30 years. xxxx love Annie


Hmmm. Festival for Life....


Love the new photo Sue - very glamorous!

The festival was the brainchild of a friend. We lived in a tawdry old Victorian town that time had passed by. My friend suggested one night in the pub that we needed something to bring it to life and celebrate its Victorian history - so the festival was born with the assistance of some beer goggles.

It's out-run its sell-by date but limps on even now in one form or another. It gave us much fun over a number of years and saw some great performances by high-profile bands, actors, comedians, etc. who would usually not have considered a gig in such a backwater.

Now Slough is rather different - but I think the principles are similar.

xxxxx love Annie


Bought a great e-book on the zen of fundraising to get me in the zone. V clever man. I will maybe do a review of the book/ share any great tips that apply to ovacome's own fundraising challenges, useful? There seem to be loads of books on fundraising but most are horrendously expensive I was horrified... Sharing ideas clearly vital (avoiding copyright infringement, naturally ;) )



Do you still have a proper local weekly newspaper? If you do, try to get them to adopt your cause. Are you already a group? Ask the paper to run an article looking for more people to get involved with fundraising with you, or to start a group if it's just you. It's the sort of thing pubs, schools, churches and random people out there in the community will run raffles and bike rides for once they know about you. Once you're in with the newspaper keep feeding them news of forthcoming events, and jolly pictures afterwards of how wonderful it was. The occasional sob story also helps. Get people to write to the letters page saying how shocked they are at the facilities - and someone else to write a couple of weeks later.

Is there already at the hospital a hospital support group registered as a charity which would let you 'borrow' there charitable status? They might be able to offer other help as well.

Goog luck - and enjoy the new friends you're going to make.

Love xChristine


Also worth getting in touch with Midwife Gill as she was talking about starting a support group and lives in the area. xxx


Ooh thanks I will. My mindmap of ideas for this is getting ginormous now... And my list of 'ask for advice' people.


We do -- best way in is at newspaper group level I think as looking for support for ads across E Berkshire, as well as editorial route in! You're totally right about it being the link to all the small groups that might help - if they only knew. Social will play a role too

I think I will enjoy this too -- I get a bit jaded working on heavy business campaigns, whereas this actually MEANS something.




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