Today marks the start of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018. On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing an eating disorder seek help. However, the sooner someone gets treatment, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.
During Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, is asking supporters to wear their brightest and boldest socks to help Sock It to Eating Disorders. Supporters can take a photo in their wackiest socks and post it on their social media accounts to join Beat’s #SockItToEatingDisorders campaign.
We recently contacted Andrea Auburn, Community Fundraising Officer at Beat to learn more about the charity’s work and how they create effective fundraising campaigns.
Can you briefly describe Beat and what it does?
Beat is the UK’s eating disorders charity, with a vision to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders. We provide support to sufferers and their loved ones through our free helplines, online groups, and one-to-one chat, as well as campaign for better, faster treatment and understanding for those affected.
What is your role within Beat?
I work closely with our fundraisers – amazing individuals all over the UK who walk, run, bake, cycle, skydive and more to help us continue our vital work. I absolutely love hearing people’s reasons for supporting the charity – often fundraising is a really positive way for someone to celebrate their own recovery or a loved one’s, and support others going through similar experiences.
How can supporters get involved in Eating Disorders Awareness Week?
This year we’re focusing on the long waiting time between developing symptoms and seeking help – over a year on average. We’re asking supporters to share a message of hope for anyone affected using #WhyWait on social media, sign our petitions for faster, more effective treatment and join Sock It to Eating Disorders, our annual fundraising campaign. Simply wear your brightest, boldest socks, take a Sock It selfie and donate by texting ‘SOCK18 £3’ to 70070.
What are some of the ways you use merchandise as part of your fundraising strategy?
We send a range of resources to our fundraisers to give them confidence and show that they are part of #TeamBeat. We have also started offering wedding favours in response to demand, which have proven successful so far.
What are some of the most effective types of merchandise for fundraising?
Our T-shirts, running vests, wristbands and pin badges are really popular ways for people to support our work. Since our rebrand in 2017, our new designs are more popular than ever.
What advice would you offer other charities looking to incorporate merchandise as part of their fundraising?
Know your supporters – we often get requests for certain items so we’re always on the lookout for what we could offer in future. Keep an eye on the Rocket Charities catalogue for new ideas too!
To learn more about Beat or get involved with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, please visit www.beateatingdisorders.co.uk.