Amazing support in extraordinary times.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, every one of our income streams was under threat. We suffered an immediate and significant downturn in fundraising, and had to act fast to secure the future of our vital work.
We were forced to cancel our schedule of fundraising events but, in their place, we created Covid-safe virtual fundraisers and developed new regular giving opportunities. Our supporters showed incredible loyalty and generosity, and we welcomed new people into #TeamKidney.
Thanks to you, and the hard work of the charity’s fundraising team, we adapted to the new normal. We ended the year below our fundraising target, but in a stronger position than we’d feared.
Seamus Kelleher, picture right, raised over £3,800 by cycling his peloton bike for 26 hours non-stop.
New ways to raise funds
With the disruption to face-to-face fundraising, our nation of givers adapted and moved online to donate to causes close to their hearts. We used emerging digital platforms such as Tiltify to make it ever easier for people to raise money, and our supporters asked friends and family to donate through Facebook’s birthday fundraisers, raising £135,000.
Overall, our online donations increased by 66% compared to the previous year.
Walking became so important to people during lockdown, yet our flagship annual Bridges Walks couldn’t take place. Instead, supporters signed up to complete their own ‘My Bridges’ challenge.
Linda Cole, who had been due to complete the Bridges Walk in London with her two nieces, decided to run 70 miles in 7 days, raising over £500.
We joined the week-long 2.6 challenge. Launched on the 26 April, it marked the day the cancelled London Marathon 2020 should have taken place – an event that generates millions for UK charities every year. We asked supporters to dream up Covid-safe activities around the numbers 2.6 or 26.
In October we launched an online lottery; a fun new way for people to give a regular gift. For a £1 weekly entry, players have the chance to win cash prizes between £5 and £10,000. By the end of the financial year, over 700 people were supporting us this way.
As the end of the year approached, we asked people to ‘Step into Christmas’ with 12,000 steps a day for 12 days in December, to raise £120.
Liz Lightstone, a kidney doctor and one of our trustees, raised over £15,000 by doing 12,000 steps a day for 12 days, just months after a double knee replacement!
And as we welcomed in the new year, we recognised the 850 million people living with kidney disease worldwide by launching the #850Challenge. It challenges people to raise funds by walking, running or cycling 850 miles or kilometres in 2021.
Soon after trustee and kidney patient David Prosser’s daughter Lucy had donated her kidney to him, the family pledged to complete 850 miles in 2021, with their fundraising total reaching £3,000 and still rising!
We are incredibly grateful to everyone who began or continued to support us over the past year, at a time when we needed you most. Our supporters quickly adapted to donate and raise funds in new ways, whether through virtual events or giving on social media. Predictions of a catastrophic downturn in legacy income did not materialise for us, and we are grateful to all those who chose to remember us in their Will.
Finally, we always appreciate the time and effort invested by our growing team of volunteers. Last year we congratulated two – celebrity ambassador actor Nina Wadia, and Swaran (Judy) Chowdhury – on being named on the New Year Honours List. Nina, who received an OBE for services to entertainment and charity, began raising awareness for us after her mum died of polycystic kidney disease.
Judy – who received the British Empire Medal – was our first volunteer peer educator in Scotland, talking to South Asian communities about kidney disease and organ donation.
We’d like to say thanks to Nina and Judy for their amazing contributions, and to Andy Cole who worked so closely with us during this tough year to launch the Andy Cole Fund.
What supporters are helping to fund
Kidney patient Kudz Munongi, is one of a group of newly appointed community ambassadors, who are supporting others and raising awareness for the charity and our research.
Farah Latif received a Training Fellowship to investigate how to protect patients from a particular virus after a kidney transplant.
Joint David Kerr fellowship
Professor Will Herrington and his colleagues at the University of Oxford, used genetics to show obesity can increase the chances of someone developing kidney disease.