For Revd Hannah Hupfield, fundraising has looked like... spending every single night in October sleeping in a cold, damp, and draughty tent in her back garden, but in her own words, "I loved every minute of it".
In the summer months of this year, Hannah was thinking about ways to raise money for St Thomas Church in High Lane where she is the vicar. She wanted to do something a bit different that would in Hannah's words, "Be a bit different", and so she came up with the idea of camping in her back garden for a month. But it was summer when the nights are warm and sleeping in the great outdoors might be seen as a leisurely pursuit by many, and not much of a challenge to potential sponsors. And so she decided to wait until October to begin her fundraising challenge, a time of year that is typically wet and windy, not the kind of conditions that are conducive to a good night's sleep or waking up dry.
Hannah recently completed her camp-out, raising over £2000 from generous donations, "and the money is still coming in" says Hannah, "Fundraising is a challenge that all churches face and there's no doubt that it can be difficult and there's always the next thing to raise money for. It's not easy, but there's a positive side to fundraising. It's a way to engage with our parishioners and unite us toward a shared goal which opens a dialogue about how donations are used to help and serve people in the community."
Hannah's recent money-raising endeavor is a little different from the norm, which has resulted in her making connections with members of the community whom she had never spoken to before, including someone at the local pub who couldn't quite understand why she would choose to spend a month under canvas in October, which gave Hannah a great opportunity to communicate what the church does and why it needs to fundraise.
Hannah's story is unique in one way but not in other ways. The diocese is blessed with hundreds just like her, facing the daily challenge of how to raise money to fix the toilet, provide coffee mornings, run youth events, and fix the roof. There are few who would say it's easy or something that they look forward to, but ask them if they feel it's rewarding and worthwhile and you might just be met with the response, "What can we do next?"