Fundraising is essential for the success of any charity, and often requires plenty of organisational planning, brainstorming and creativity to boost your charities income so you can continue to provide valuable services or support to your cause.
While some fundraising co-ordinators choose to skydive for charity, hold a table quiz or a black tie event, there’s nothing more spiritually enriching than walking or cycling the Camino de Santiago in aid of your chosen cause.
What is the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is series of ancient trails in Spain, all leading to the purported burial place of St James The Greater, apostle of Jesus Christ, at the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela. For the over a millennium, pilgrims have been flocking from all over the world to visit his final resting place - the spectacular Catedral de Santiago de Compostela.
In recent years however, the Way of St. James has evolved from a Christian pilgrimage to a more spiritually inclusive experience walked by thousands of people from all faiths every year and is becoming an increasingly popular challenge for charity groups to take on.
Here’s why you should consider travelling the Camino for your next fundraiser:
1. A Personal Challenge
Many modern pilgrims choose to travel on the Camino de Santiago to challenge themselves. Whether you walk 100KM or 800KM, the Camino is a commitment and not an easy feat that requires training. We at Follow The Camino believe that anybody can complete their Camino with the right attitude and a few training tips, and the satisfaction you get when you reach the famous Catedral de Santiago de Compostela is incomparable to anything else!
2. Suitable For Everyone
To many, the thought of walking 800KM across the north of Spain is daunting - but remember, we can tailor your walk to suit any age or fitness level. Need a rest day every two days to catch your breath? No problem. Are you a running enthusiast and want to set a personal best record? We can help too. We’ll sort out your itinerary in advance of your trip, so you have nothing to worry about but the road in front of you. And of course, we can help with any last second emergencies like sore feet and sprains, and help you get back on the trail ASAP.
3. A Spiritual Journey
“As I walked the Camino and opened my heart to the possibilities, to the wonders of nature and to the child within me, I was filled with peace and joy.”
The Camino de Santiago is so much more than a long walk. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with nature, your body and your spirit. Many pilgrims report feeling a sense of peace and tranquility when walking the way - forgetting everyday problems at home and growing a new found appreciation for the little things in life. What surprises pilgrims the most, is realising just how little they need to get by. Whether it be a kind stranger giving you a smile and saying, “Buen Camino!” as they walk by, or a hot meal at the end of a long day of walking, the Camino helps you to put things in perspective and realise what is important in life.
4. So Many Options
The most popular route to Santiago de Compostela is called the Camino Frances (The French Way) which starts in St Jean Pied de Port in southern France. From there, it traverses the Pyrenees and along Northern Spain until reaches Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. This full route takes approximately 35 days to complete, but many charity groups choose to walk the final 100KM over the course of a week.
The most popular Charity Camino tour is this last section of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, which enables you to qualify for your Compostela/Pilgrim Certificate. But we can also organise tours along the Portuguese Way from Tui to Santiago de Compostela which also enables you to qualify for the Pilgrim Certificate.
5. Promote a Healthy Lifestyle Message
Not only is taking on the Camino de Santiago a fantastic way to raise much-needed funds, but it’s an excellent motivation to get in shape, lose some weight or build up strength. Experts recommend a minimum of 10,000KM steps per day for the average person. On the Camino, you could be walking 2 or 3 times that amount in any given day.
All that extra activity requires training, too, helping you build up a life-changing habit of regular exercise! Not only does walking help you lose weight and de-stress, it also lowers your blood pressure and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases.
By walking the Camino, your organisation can advocate for a healthy lifestyle and inspire people to get more active.
What are you waiting for? Our packages include:
● 2*, 3* and/or 4* hotels
● Daily luggage transfers
● Experienced bilingual guides
● Airport transfers
● Traditional meals and/or tapas dinners
● Fundraising materials for walkers
● Individual support for payment and bookings
● Special discounts for Charities
● Camino Information Talks
● Extra expert advice
Get in touch with Follow The Camino to see what Charity group packages we offer and how we can take the stress out of organising a fundraiser. For more info, visit www.followthecamino.com email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly on +353 1 687 2144
“Dublin-based 'Follow the Camino' have been absolutely superb in organising this trip and looking after us along the way. They made everything so easy and smooth!"
Andrea Smith (Irish Independent Journalist) RISE Foundation
"To maintain existing essential and vital services for our members we need to raise a minimum of €2million annually. We found that once the Camino was mentioned, feedback was tremendous. We targeted 30 people and we had 36! Follow the Camino helped us make it a success organisation-wise, trip-wise and fundraising-wise."
Peter G. – Down Syndrome Centre Ireland