Over the past year, a record number of staff, students and friends took part in University events to fundraise for their favourite causes. And 2017 looks set to continue the trend with the launch of Fundraise Your Way.
It was 2016's Leap Day that inspired the University's efforts to engage staff, students and wider communities in fundraising, encouraging everyone to use the extra day to do something impactful.
The result was a year of charitable activity that saw bake sales, abseiling challenges, marathons and river swims raise over £265,000 in total.
Kerry Mackay, who runs the community fundraising activity at the University, was overwhelmed by the response.
"It was really inspiring to see so many people get involved and fundraise for the University project they care about most," she says. "Many of them had no previous connection to us but were moved by the great work being carried out by our projects and centres. People fundraised for everything from motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis research to British Sign Language and the Dick Vet."
One event that made the headlines was the Big Leap bake sale, which saw staff, students and volunteers from across the University come together to bake and sell 18,195 baked goods. That’s more than the Guinness World Record for such an event, though the University's result has not been ratified.
The cakes sales and donations raised more than £9,000 for 37 great causes in and around Edinburgh.
Other events included abseiling 141 feet down the side of David Hume Tower in George Square. Geraldine Giannopoulos was one of those to sign up for the daunting challenge, raising funds for the University's Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre.
"The abseil felt like a proper challenge for me," she says. "And this was definitely reflected in the generous donations and words of encouragement I received from family and friends."
Pauline Ward, who works in the University's EDINA team, really threw herself into the spirit of the initiative by taking part in both the bake sale and the Edinburgh 10k run.
"I was delighted to be able to raise money for the University," she says. "I chose to support the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease to show my support for my friend Gordon Aikman who was living with this awful disease."
Student George Warren, who has worked partt-time for the University, decided it was time he walked on fire, and says that witnessing how donations positively impact opportunities for students made him want to contribute.
I have seen the huge impact that the donations made to the University has for students, the wider local community and also globally. I have friends who rely on bursaries to study at this great institution, and I have been part of societies that have benefited immensely from the grants provided by the Edinburgh Fund. By working with the fundraising team at the University, I have also witnessed the pioneering research that is enabled by donations, and in so doing have met some of its wonderful supporters. As such, the possibility to raise some money, in an innovative and also fun way, appealed hugely to me, in conjunction with the knowledge that everything I raised would go to the cause and would make a real difference.
Following the success of these and many other events, the University is continuing to encourage everyone, including you, to fundraise for the cause they care about most through the Fundraise Your Way initiative.
You can turn almost any hobby, occasion or challenge into a fundraising activity. From once-in-a-lifetime challenges to small informal events there are countless ways to raise money for your chosen area of the University. Whether you are sporty, creative, entrepreneurial or just up for a challenge, your contribution and commitment can make a real difference.
There’s a variety of University centres and projects you can support. All the money raised is processed through the University of Edinburgh Development Trust (registered charity SC004307), ensuring that 100% of the money goes directly to the cause and is put to use straight away.
The University can help support your endeavours, too. Our fundraising pack includes information about taking part in organised events, setting up your own events and advice from Kerry.
This Halloween, we are organising a firewalk in Old College Quad. Imagine how impressed your friends, family and colleagues will be when they see you walk across 20 feet of hot coals - and all in the name of charity. Click the link below to register your place and support the cause you care about most.