Ed J
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The Milton Keynes Leukaemia Concerts

Ed J
Posted by
03 May 2014

A behind-the-scenes guide to the annual Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research concerts in Milton Keynes

Hi cyber-pals! Now that I have introduced myself, I would like to write about the main part of my fundraising experience. If it can be of any help or interest to you out there, then great. I have had a brilliant time since 2006 organising them and it's great having a bit of space on here to share my enthusiasm.

Maybe that is the best place to start - I chose to be involved in something that I love doing. My passion for running 26 miles past Cutty Sark or sitting in a bucket of baked beans is relatively low, but I love music and I love telling people what to do, so organising a concert seemed the perfect option!

The venue has always been my local, the pub of Shenley Leisure Centre in Milton Keynes. My band, Breathless, had already played there several times over the years and we had a bit of a following so we had a guaranteed audience, but I also had several people keen to volunteer to take part - whether it be announcing the acts, spinning records between the bands, selling raffle tickets and - latterly - selling cupcakes. I was also already on great terms with the mangement there and Shenley Leisure Centre have always been extremely supportive, financially and publicity-wise, of the concerts.

The decision was made to make the concerts free of charge, and rely on donations etc once inside. I feel this was a very important decision in that it attracted people to the event and created a good atmosphere. People were coming out to have a fun evening as well as a worthy evening, and the concerts have shown that this positive outlook has resulted in successful concerts. Since 2006 the annual concerts have accounted for over £20000 for the charity, and the same regulars have supported my other ventures too, like Beefy walks.

As the profile of the concerts has grown, it has become a much bigger enterprise. This last year has seen an official 24 page colour programme put together with my good friend and computer genius Jon Whiles which sold out at £2 a copy, and sporting memorabilia auction items which have gone for hundreds of pounds. I'm including this here not for any bragging or unsavoury motive, but to show that people are keen to get involved and help you - as friends are by their nature supportive and generous with their time, energy and talent. Being part of a team raising money to help save lives is just about as rewarding as it gets.

The most exciting thing, for me, with this year's concert though was the official 2014 Concert T shirt. Being a fan of the band Haircut 100, I had added their bass player Les Nemes on facebook (an internet site for people to look at videos of cats). It turned out that Les is also a talented artist who had a T Shirt design company, Monographics. I asked Les if he would sponsor the concert, and get his money back by designing a T shirt to sell. Les could not commit to sponsorship, but amazingly agreed to design a T shirt as a contribution! And then, more amazingly, by the end of the day had submitted 6 brilliant designs. We whittled these down to four, and I found a company called Garment Printing who would donate to LLR for every 50 shirts sold. Well, 100 shirts were sold, with approximately £7 per shirt going to LLR. Seriously, social media plays such a big part in getting the word on the street (or the information superhighway) and I am now friends with people all around the world who have shared or retweeted details about our concert in MK5.

This shows my strategy for the concert and advice to anybody new to fundraising. Put on a fun event and try to get as many people involved as possible, because they will then invite their friends. And always look for any extra things that can be sold for a profit - like programmes, cakes, T shirts that will boost sponsorship or raffle donations.

I have a brilliant time doing the concerts and I am sure you will all have similarly brilliant stories to tell, either now or in the future. Happy Fundraising - and next year, you're more than welcome at the concert!

Comments

Anonymous
06.05.2014

Great article as always Ed. You're an inspiration xx

06.05.2014

Couldn't agree more with Samantha - great blog! We're so fortunate to have supporters like you, Ed, and what you've done for the charity over the years has been extraordinary and has made a real difference to the lives of blood cancer patients. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous
06.05.2014

I cannot see what Samantha has written - has it been lost?

06.05.2014

Hi Ed,

The comment's still there on my screen. Try logging in and if that doesn't work get back in touch. To log in visit www.beatingbloodcancers.org.uk and hit the log in button in the right-hand corner.

Hope this helps,

Andy

Anonymous
09.05.2014

Great stuff Ed. Inspirational and thanks for letting me join in on a great journey. Top man.