Keep them short

Aim for no more than 500 words if possible.

Subject lines and titles to make people click

Don’t give your email subject line like ‘update’ or ‘news from me’ as these don’t make people want to open them. Draw them in with something eye-catching that gives them a taster of the month you’ve had. Things like ‘when dogs knock you down’ suggest a comedy moment, while something like ‘blisters and bluster’ hints at physical and weather challenges.

Make people laugh with an anecdote or two about your running – and if you’ve never trained for a marathon before we can promise you that you’ll have lots of anecdotes by the end of it!

It can be hard to talk about personal experiences, but sharing your stories can help other people understand what you – or the person you’re running for – has been through. If you’ve been treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit, share some of what it felt like and how we supported you. Only talk about things you or anyone connected to your story feels comfortable sharing, and don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. It will help people understand why your marathon is so important.

@loublou29's Instagram storytelling

How to bring your training to life

Take people on the journey of your training and help them experience what you’re experiencing. For example:

  • Tell them that since your last update a month ago you have run 97 miles.
  • Tell them that four weeks ago you slipped over on frosty pavements but this morning you saw the first daffodils in your local park.
  • Tell them how amazing it felt the first time your long run went into double figures.

Encourage people to give big and give more

The most important bit of your blog or email update is the fundraising ask. Make it powerful, make it appeal to people’s emotions and think about how you can encourage them give a little more. For example, many people may think they’ll donate £20 but if you tell them £25 pays for an hour of a Youth Support Coordinator they may well add another £5.

Think of ways to connect the ask back to some of the numbers above so it puts the money people are giving and the miles you are running into perspective. You could set challenges for your friends and family, for example meeting certain target by a certain time or date. Example fundraising asks could be:

  • I couldn’t have got through my cancer without my Youth Support Coordinator. Every £25 you donate will pay for an hour of their time so other teenagers can get the same support.
  • Teenage Cancer Trust asked me to raise £2,000 but I want to raise £1 for every teenager and young adult diagnosed with cancer each year. Will you help me get to £2,582?
  • I may be running the miles but it’s your support that’s making a difference. Thank you! So far you’ve helped me raise almost £3000. Can we get there by the end of the weekend?

Choose your timing

There are certain times that work really well for sending updates that encourage people to give more. For example, payday when people are feeling are a little flush, or Monday morning, which Virgin Money Giving stats show is when most donations are made.