I am figuratively and literally walking away from charity walking and The Happy Walk. I have nothing left, no kombi, no money, nothing because I sold everything for them, to keep walking so i could keep raising funds and awareness. I walk away starting from scratch. The fundraiser finished 2 weeks ago and they haven’t even said thank you.
If you have been following my walk to learn more about fundraising for your own walk, run or ride I suggest you choose a charity which can mutually support you through social media, their internal network of members and supporters, news media and on the ground. Strong and regular mutual support from your charity for long fundraising expeditions is essential otherwise it feels like you have sacrificed everything for a thankless cause.
Know what to expect from your charity. Let them know what you need before you choose them. If they can’t regularly and voluntarily check-in on your wellbeing, show some gratitude, support you through social media (more than twice in 4 years), at the very least, then be prepared to feel some ugly conflicting emotions from their lack of support.
I admit, it will take me a little while to get this bitter taste out of my mouth. I often regret wasting $70,000 of my personal funds on this 4yr fundraiser. I forget that thousands of lives have been changed directly through my walk, media interviews, roadside conversations, a yarn over the fence with farmers, small community schools, sitting in cafes chatting with groups of women, pub fundraisers. People have phoned and written to let me know I saved their lives just by listening to them. Raising only $20,300 was pretty devastating, I expected much more support for suicide prevention, but that number represents the costs of more than 800 crisis calls being answered by trained phone counsellors, potentially 800 more lives finding a reason to keep living. I just wish the charity i chose had shown me a little more support.
Lack of support from charities is a common issue for long distance and long duration fundraising. Many walkers change charities because of this. Several times I thought about it, did some research and wrote to other small grass-roots non-profits. I even considered changing the cause. Walking solo unassisted around Australia is one of the hardest things you can do but unless you have tried you can’t understand how important support from your charity is. They can’t grasp how much you need them.
This is something i will never do again.