The cost of a Golden Bond

Been thinking about running for a charity at London, and have found out recently that FLM charge the charities £250+ for each golden bond! No wonder the charities are asking people to pledge a large amount - technically the first £250 you raise will not be going to your chosen charity at all. Why do FLM consider it necessary to charge so much? surely the charities could have their own "ballot system" instead of forking out so much. I appreciate that some charities will consider that its a good investment for the money that they get back, but I still think FLM are charging an extortionate amount. What do you think?


  • they need to cover their costs somehow... presumably if they didn't do this they'd have to bung up the via-ballot entry fee by hundreds of pounds
  • more annoying is the fact that the gangs of charity people who always try to mug you on covent garden to sign up for direct debits arent volunteers (as i used to assume) but students who get paid for doing it

    i am know much happier telling them to eff off than i used to be
  • I think they get paid 7 per hour.

    All the keys are typing something different.

    Bill its not just 250. Charities have to commit to that for 5 years. And I think take on a minimum of 5 GB places.
  • i heard £9 or £7 too Sam... what a rip off the first person they get evry hour is just paying their salary! nothing to the charity
  • I also get pestered by these people whenever we go shopping - I believe the term for them is "chuggers" (charity/muggers combination!)
    One charity that I do konw employs this type of person is the RNLI although it apprently states on their jacket that they are not volunteers or something like that. Anyway, back to the golden bond issue and with what sam panther has said and if my maths is right then the FLM,itself a "charity" is making 6 grand a time from other charities! how come? surely FLM gets enough money from the regular runners who enter as well as those who bequeath their entry. There's also sponsorship as well. How can FLM justify the charges? It sucks.I also think that getting people to give monry or sponsor you to run is getting harder and harder (we've had people knocking on our door asking us to sponsor their dad/mum etc). I think one of the best ideas recently was the guy in the diving suit - something a bit different from the norm. I also think that the current system of golden bond costs may be unfair to smaller charities who cannot stump up the initial outlay. Maybe I'm losing the point here...has the London Marathon evolved from a race to a carnival/ fancy dress run with club runners as an add on?
    enough of my ranting!
  • p.s. sorry about the spelling!
  • Bill S, club runners don't come into it. I thought it was an elite race followed by a Disneyland parade :)
  • nice one!!!
  • OK here's my two pennyworth - the charities seriously wouldn't pay £250 a place if it didn't work for them and it clearly does, so much so there's a three year waiting lists for charities trying to buy extra places or new charities trying to get their first ones. Most of the charities we work with who have GB places are desparate to buy more places.

    From a return on investment view it's really a very good ROI. (I totally agree with you all about the chuggers - but that's purely personal and I work in Soho so get accosted by them more times than I care to mention ;-( )

    Back to return on investment - the charity spends £250 and gets back on average £1,600 (often more). Look at charities doing TV advertising and they will be very, very, lucky to get back a return of two to one.

    With the chuggers they don't even get the return back in the first year!

    There's an old but relevant article in The Guardian about the Gold Bond system if you want to find out more about it.

    Free sponsorship webpages for the London Marathon.
  • Hi, ive been trying to get a charity place and its been a complete nightmare.Ive just done a half marathon and out of my own good will i have raised about 300pound for a chosen charity.I already had the place but i wanted to help someone in the process.Ive now been back to this charity and they say i have to raise 1500 pound if i want to be considered for a good bond place.It makes me wonder why i collected any money in the first place.I feel like just going down to my local kids hospital and giving the parents of a poorly child the money there and then and not go straight to the charity.I feel abit used by the charity and i know i have to put myself in their shoes but its beginning to make me angry.

    Oh and another thing that gets up my nose is all my family keep phoning me about adverts in papers,mags etc that say
    "We want you to run for our charity"
    so you phone them up and its the same old story 1500 pound plus again.

    Anyway my training is going so well i think one day i might even get good enough to get a qualifying time and then ill go with the charity that stuck by me when i needed them.

    I hope i dont sound to selfish but if you want to do something to help raise money for someone you should be able to do so but i guess thats the commercial world we live in today.
  • Right.
    Lets get this straight. As individuals we aren't going to change the system from down here. But then again why should we? The £250 story I have not had verified by anybody from within a named charity. They do have to buy the places however. If it was a problem, the charities wouldn't queue up to get in. The FLM is the biggest single day charity event in the world, I'm told, and isn't it right therefore that the charities want to be involved. Especially as the laws of supply and demand operate, and we runners want to beat the 100,000 down to 32,000 odds.

    The way I see it is firstly, to apply via ballot. That way all the money you raise for your chosen charity goes directly to them. Secondly choose your charity carefully. Do you believe in their work? Do you need to approach more than one charity in order to reduce the odds? DO you have a personal tie to a specific cause? This adds weight to your request for one of their precious places.
    How much would you chip in?

    Thirdly, plan your fundraising. Identify all your potential contacts, estimate what you could get from each group, and plan to raise the money against a programme. Get as much cash up front as possible, it saves double calling. If you can show that you have raised a significant amount before, then this will help the confidence of the charity. And keep in touch with them, after all they have an interest in you.

    I ran FLM in 2002, being worried about raising £1500. In the end I sent off cheques totalling nearly £4000. If you start now it's only £60 per week.
  • Good luck with the fundraising.

    Surely all the time, effort and energy spent fundraising is less time spent training?

    I wonder if they just made all entrants - ballot, GFA etc raise £200 then more overall would be made for charity than with the Golden Bond System.

    I would have thought most people could raise that with minimal effort and spend time getting in tip top condition for the physical challenge.

  • The modern charity is mostly a 'not for profit company'. They are run by professional fundraisers who earn a living wage (but note excessive) for doing so. The same is true of the London Marathon. All proceeds above expenses go to worthy causes.

    They could raise the cost to say £100 for every runner, but would club runners do it then? Not so very likely as they do now.

    As has been pointed out, it is virtually unheard of for these charities to loose money on a place - they make a reasonable return on their investment in buying places.

    The cost also means they take the job seriously at their end - they have to get athletes/runners/people involved, they have to commit to raising funds, they have to support their runners - many have pasta parties etc for their runners. They have to ensure the money is collected. Imagine if you knew it was £25 for the entry for a charity, would you say 'I got £100 sponsorhsip - that's enough surely!' I bet some people would.

    I don't know how much it costs to run the FLM, but there is a lot of policing etc to pay for and it will be a near full-time job for Dave Bedford and others. There is a lot of sponsorship for the day, but I suspect, as with most sponsorship it is 'goods and a small amont of money' not millions they get.

    Anyway... just to throw a rock in... 'is this leading on to a BRitish 10K comment about how they only charge the same for charity place as a open place'????? :-/ Just say 'no' now. We are not interested in that its been done to death before.
  • Blisters - Call up any charity advertising their guaranteed places and ask them how much they paid for a Golden Bond place - if they're willing to tell you - they will say £250 or thereabouts, but they have to commit to at least five places for at least five years.

    David - you're right I'm not touching the British 10K argument with a bargepole ;-)
  • Oops 'note' (line 2) should read 'not'

  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    Question about charity places. I would really like to raise money for a specific charity, but unfortunately they don't have any Golden Bond places (not that these have been allocated already, the charity simply hasn't got any).

    However, I also really want to do FLM. If I apply for a Golden Bond place via another charity (obviously one I'm also interested in) and get one, then get in via the ballot, how ethical would it be for me to not only turn down the GB place (which can be reallocated) but to then not raise money for the charity which had offered me a GB place? I'd feel really guilty but I can't get a GB place through the charity I REALLY want to run for.

    Should I just take my chances with the ballot?
  • I think I've got charity fatigue. Can it be treated?
  • Forget Gold Bond places until you've been accepted/rejected in the ballot. Then decide on whether you r prepared to raise £1500 to run the race. I have a 3rd option, a club place if I don't make it through the ballot. There are a dozen or so places allocated to each runing club in the country, so club runners do get a fair deal, bearing in mind a lot of club runners can probably achieve the qualifying time. I reckon several thousand runners each year are club runners.
  • Minkin
    Your guilt is very noble, but turn it around. The charities all get more applications for their GB places than they can allocate, therefore they have to be both polite and ruthless in who they choose.

    There is nothing against increasing the number of irons in the fire. Your only difficulty may be if you start fundraising before you know which charity you are raising money for!

    I have in the past raised money for 2 charities by doing one event(not a Golden Bond). This was reasonably successful, my form made it clear that it was a 50:50 split, and the minor local charity got more by piggy backing on the national name charity that pulled at the heart strings.

    It may be possible to use a form of words like "The first £1500 raised will go to xxxx, anything over this will be split 50:50 with yyyyy". To avoid suggestions of fraud you would need to tell this to your GB place provider. It may influence their decision. Or you could use 2 distinct forms, and only break out the ones for the second charity once £1500 cash had been collected. Again the GB place owner wants an estimate of your net worth though, and this will influence his choice of recipient.

    You've got to do that first, to free up GB's.

  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    Blisters, I sent off my FLM application form on the first day they came out, so I am most definitely in the ballot!!
  • So the argument for the defence is that, overall, charities raise more money this way.

    That's unanswerable, I suppose, but only as long as people who sponsor you know that a large portion of the money they give you isn't actually going to the charity, and only if you assume that raising money for cherridy is the primary purpose of the marathon.

    I think the FLM need to be much, much clearer as to where all these enormous revenues go. I'm not that happy, for example, to think that money I bequeath is going to the winners' fund. It's just not good enough to mutter about the "surplus" going to a charitable trust - how much is it, where does the rest go, and what does it then get spent on?

    Personally I think each participant should directly pay for the running costs of the race, rather than it being subsidised by gullible sponsors and excessively intrusive sponsorship (that ugly medal still grates).

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