"Supporting the Sussex Beacon is a whole social experience rather than a one-day challenge”, Rosie Hemming.
Due to an ever-increasing number of charities offering plenty of unique sporting activities to encourage people to fundraise for their causes, competition over how to recruit new supporters is high among voluntary organisations. Charities need to find innovative ways to attract new supporters, which has also been the case for The Sussex Beacon, Brighton’s biggest HIV charity that supports people living with HIV. The Sussex Beacon has its own dedicated team of charity supporters known as ‘Team Beacon’. This group name originally referred to the sign-up process for participants who fundraised for the charity by taking part in sporting events. Over recent years, Team Beacon has evolved enormously, thanks to the charity’s designated Challenge Events Fundraiser, Rosie Hemming. Rosie joined The Sussex Beacon charity in 2015 after studying a Law degree at the University of Winchester. Before starting her postgraduate degree in Human Rights, she completed a summer internship at The Sussex Beacon when her current position as Challenge Events Fundraiser became available. Rosie successfully applied for this role and has been a crucial member of The Sussex Beacon’s fundraising team ever since. Her position as Challenge Events Fundraiser is immensely varied, requires a lot of creativity and ‘thinking outside the box’, and is key for recruiting and supporting the charity’s dedicated members of ‘Team Beacon’.
A lot has changed since Rosie proactively transformed the supporter journey from its early days. Over the last three years, Team Beacon members have been gradually introduced to different perks and incentives, as well as a personalised Facebook group, organised team meet ups, training tips, help with fundraising, and competitions. These initiatives aim to increase numbers, team morale and engagement between Team Beacon members and the charity. Much time and effort continue to go into recruiting new participants to take part in various challenge events that are organised by, or in support of, The Sussex Beacon. This includes the annual Brighton Half Marathon, as well as other hiking, cycling, swimming, zip line and abseil challenges. Another important running event is the iconic London Marathon, for which The Sussex Beacon is excited to be able to offer 9 charity running places in 2019.
Having grown significantly in numbers over the last few years, Team Beacon has also become more diverse and features members of all backgrounds and abilities. Among this year’s runners was Great British Bake Off’s Howard Middleton, who ran his first ever half marathon for The Sussex Beacon, alongside various established and first-time running enthusiasts. For the 2019 Grand Brighton Half Marathon, the charity is proud to also be represented by staff members of its Inpatient Unit, many of whom are new to running and look forward to supporting the Beacon through this immensely physical challenge.
Bill Puddicombe, the Sussex Beacon’s Executive Director, says: “The concept of Team Beacon is win-win. Our fantastic team members provide essential support to the charity and enjoy varied challenges and social experiences throughout the year”.
It is especially rewarding for Rosie and the fundraising team to witness new runners becoming long-term supporters. “The aspiration for Team Beacon is to encourage more and more people to host their own events, fundraise self-sufficiently as well as within their own groups, and to overall enjoy being part of this community”, Rosie adds. The concept of ‘Team Beacon’ has expanded again this year, and now involves everyone who is behind and supporting The Sussex Beacon. “This includes our staff members, volunteers, fundraisers, and supporters – we all work together to support our charity and ensure it continues to flourish”, explains Rosie. This is an exciting opportunity to bring together all supporters of the charity, from those who fundraise through organising bake sales, grow beards for our charity or open up their homes and gardens for events, to those who partake in physical challenges, who all make equally valuable and important contributions to the continuing services of The Sussex Beacon.
© Bettina Zenz