Many of you will know that I hit my £3000 fundraising target on Saturday. I still haven’t really got my head around it, it still feels rather surreal. I’ve been thinking about the challenge and working on it for over a year now, and at times it has felt like a black cloud hanging over my head. If I’m honest the target felt so unachievable that I never thought I’d reach it. I’m very grateful to all of you who have helped me to get this far, for every pound and every word of encouragement. Without your help I would not have got off the starting blocks, in a way this achievement belongs to everyone who gave anything. We did it together. If anything this experience has taught me just how many wonderfully kind and generous people I have in my life. Thank you!
It seems only apt now to take a moment to look back on the journey up to this point. The challenge has taught me so much that I didn’t expect to learn. Something I discovered pretty early on was that you have to get your heart in the right place first. When you’re working for a charity and living on a limited budget, it’s easy to get stingy with your money. To hold on to it with closed fists, because you don’t have much of it. But that’s not the heart of fundraising. If you can’t find a spirit of generosity within yourself, then how can you expect other people to support you? I found that it was important for me to take the opportunity to support other people in their fundraising, even if at times it felt counter-productive.
The biggest thing you learn whilst fundraising is that it can be really hard work. I think the perception is that because it isn’t your money then you care less. But I know that for me because I had been given the target and had known and accepted it when I signed up for the internship, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to raise it or do my very best to get there. I am someone who finds it difficult to ask people for money, I can always think of a dozen different reasons why a particular person might not be able to give. It was important to me that I didn’t damage the friendships I have in order to hit my target, but there had to be some balance, the softly softly approach wasn’t always going to work. There were times, when I felt stuck and like I wasn’t getting anywhere, when it felt rather demoralising. There were also times when I found myself praying that God could just provide it overnight for me. Then you would have a week where it seemed that money came in from unexpected places, and on those days fundraising was a joy.
I decided at the very beginning that I had to play to my strengths, not anyone else’s. Only at the time, I probably wasn’t fully aware what those strengths were. I started off aiming to sew my way to my target, and then as time went on, it became clear that actually it was my words that would help me get there. That writing was a gift I could use and enjoy. So I suppose I owe a lot to my fundraising target for helping me to rediscover my love of writing. This blog has been an enormous help to me, and it’s been very moving to hear that other people have valued it too.
Ultimately fundraising, like many other things, can be an exercise in trust. Trusting in God’s provision but also in His timing. Maybe things did not happen in the way I would have planned or expected. But looking back I cannot deny that God’s timing was good. Somehow before I started I expected He would make me work for every penny, like he was standing on the sidelines willing me to fail. But that is not how God is. In reality He is the God who likes to give good gifts to His children, who lavishes grace upon us, grace that we cannot earn or deserve. I’ve seen more of God’s love through the love of everyone who has supported me. Maybe I’m now a little closer ‘to have power, together with all the Saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge‘ (Ephesians 3:18-19). And that knowledge is worth far more than three thousand pounds.
So thankyou very for joining me on this journey so far. If any of you would still like to support me, then I will keep the JustGiving page open, any money will still go to CAP to support the wonderful work they do. But this will probably be the end of my active fundraising, I need some time to rest and rediscover my free time. However, I plan on continuing to blog and keeping you up to date with how this year is going. I wait with excitement, and some anticipation, to see what else God has in store for me!