Neil Cutts is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Sarcoma UK
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Neil Cutts from Derby is in the top 1% of fundraisers on the JustGiving platform. We asked him to share just what’s he’s done that has supercharged his fundraising (as well as a spilling the tea on a couple of ideas that didn’t quite click!).

Ideas that worked:

  • The element of surprise: Instead of sending a ‘begging letter’, I sent local businesses a ‘CV’. This made my request more personal and really stood out!
  • Do your research: Before I made requests from businesses, I made sure I learned a little about them in advance. Businesses are more responsive when you show that you care enough to know a little about them.
  • Open your contacts: When you have already had some kind of contact with someone, it’s easier to ask. Artists, suppliers, local restaurants, if they know you, they are generally happy to give something.
  • Keep ‘em sweet. Say how great their products are; how you have used them; what you like about them and, if they give you something, promise to share this on social media. Businesses will appreciate the promotion.
  • Look beyond the obvious. Most people immediately think of pubs and shops when asking for donations or prizes. There are plenty of other businesses who might welcome some publicity. I’ve had gifts from security companies, golf clubs, hairdressers, aesthetic clinics, a cleaning company, the ones that are less likely to be contacted are more likely to give something.
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Be positive even when turned down or ignored. I must have contacted 1000+ companies, but fewer than 100 gave something. But that’s still 10%, so it’s a win in my opinion!
  • Move quickly! Start early with your friends. They may have other people raising money for the same event, so get in there first!

Neil Cutt's 'CV'

What didn’t work (but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you!)

  • I asked people to guess my finish time, but people didn’t really engage with it. Still, it brought in £30.
  • Big businesses just don’t seem to want to give. After being turned down by at least 50 big firms, I stopped asking.
  • Expensive raffle tickets. I had a family theatre voucher and sold tickets at £5 each. While I did raise over £100, I think I would have sold more but if they had been cheaper.


Neil is running the Virgin Money London Marathon in April. So far, he has raised £7,800 for Sarcoma UK.

What's worked for you? Share it on Team Sarcoma: Community on Facebook.