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3 Fundraising Lessons from Brew Monday

28 January, 2020

Blue Monday, which fell on 20 January this year, is referred to by some as the most depressing day of the year. However, in recent years, the Samaritans charity has taken over the concept of Blue Monday to tackle depression and loneliness in a productive way with Brew Monday, a campaign designed to encourage people to have a chat over a cup of tea.

It’s a critical issue – every day, 16 people on average take their life in the UK and Ireland; Samaritans often receives 600 calls an hour for help. The Brew Monday campaign helps people connect with others over a warming cuppa and positive conversation that can help us feel better, especially around Blue Monday when the days are long, cold and grey. In this post, we share a few best practices from Brew Monday that might be helpful as you plan your own 2020 charitable campaigns.

1) Lesson One: Do something! Seek active solutions and share your story everywhere.

A notable aspect of Brew Monday is that rather than just highlighting a day to recognise depression, the campaign provides an actual solution. The campaign’s mission is to help people overcome depression and loneliness by encouraging them to spend time together and experience the benefits of companionship, a friendly ear and community support. 

By building off an existing awareness day, Brew Monday also extends the visibility of the campaign to a broad audience. What awareness day or holiday could you leverage for your charitable campaign? A few ideas include National Storytelling Week and Student Volunteering Week (February), Valentine’s Day (14 February) or even National Bed Month (March) from the Sleep Council. (This website is a helpful starting place to see just some of these many UK-specific awareness days in 2020.)

2) Lesson Two: Brew your way! Flexibility leads to greater fundraising.

While the Samaritans charity has been around for 60 years, Brew Monday is a relatively new campaign (and just one of many), although it’s one that’s seen tremendous success in its short tenure. One reason for this success is the many ways people can take part in it. While the campaign encourages people to get together for a cup of tea in January or February, they can do so at any time. Further, Brew Monday is a simple, achievable concept that’s easy to execute at work, home or, really anywhere, with little planning and investment, but lots of support.

Credit: Samaritans

For people who wish to support the campaign via a donation, Samaritans makes it easy to do so online. Other ways to get involved include becoming a listening volunteer, helping the team answer calls or by lending skill sets in things like marketing or helping out at a charity shop. This leaves it up to your supporters to pitch in when – and how – they want. It’s a sustainable, effective way to raise as much money as possible and to keep your supporters engaged over the long term. 

The Samaritans website offers several creative ideas to support the larger cause, from classic 5K runs to charity dog shows to workplace bake sales. Related to Brew Monday, Samaritans even runs an award-winning listener scheme to engage an especially vital community of people – those currently serving time in prisons. People in prison are up to ten times more likely to take their own lives. Samaritans trains prisoners to provide emotional support to other prisoners as a “Listener”. Ask yourself: What vital but underserved communities could my charity serve through our next campaign?

3) Lesson Three: Make it easy! Provide all the necessary tools.

Samaritans provides Brew Monday hosts everything they need for a successful event. This includes a free fundraising kit with ideas and tips, posters and leaflets. The Samaritan’s website is clear and easy to navigate; it showcases consistent branding and graphics and it offers several creative ways to get involved, for both individuals or groups. Supporters and others are encouraged to use the #BrewMonday hashtag on any related posts.

In fact, this brings up another best practice that Samaritans and Brew Monday really nails; not only does it offer digital platforms for volunteers and supporters, but also to everyone they’re trying to help. The charity is currently developing an IM service for people that prefer to reach out for help that way (versus a phone call), and is also in partnerships with big players like Google and Facebook. In what ways could your charity leverage technology to reach more people? What like-minded businesses could you reach out to and collaborate with?

We hope this post inspires you and your charity with a few creative fundraising ideas for your own 2020 campaigns, whether it’s a first-time event or a classic fundraiser in need of a refresh. The Brew Monday campaign shows us several ways to succeed: Offer practical solutions to critical problems, provide flexibility for busy people who want to support your cause and give them the tools, resources and encouragement they need to get involved and keep coming back for more. 

What campaigns do you have planned this year? What are your own fundraising goals? We’d love to hear more and share a few tips of our own, perhaps together over a cup of tea!

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