Sustaining the Run Mummy Run Community for 2019
Run Mummy Run started as a tiny Facebook group by me (Leanne) as a hobby when I became a mum. I wanted to connect with other like-minded women who loved running as much as me and gain some motivation while juggling the ups and downs of motherhood. Back then the group was easily managed around my job and life but little did I know something amazing was about to happen.
The group took off and continued to get bigger and bigger, I couldn't believe it but it was so exciting to watch and incredibly we have now 62,000 members across the UK and beyond. We were the first 'online' female running network of its kind and I am so proud of how far we've come as a community.
Run Mummy Run has grown into something so much larger than I'd anticipated and now extends way past being just a Facebook group. We put a huge amount of our time every year into projects on the ground as well to help connect and support female runners everywhere. The whole experience over the last six years has been absolutely wonderful however completely unexpected and at times for me to sustain, quite overwhelming.
I left my paid job in 2013 to manage the increasing day to day admin that came from a fast growing Facebook group. To start with volunteers were brought on to help when they could and this worked for a couple of years but as the years went on teams of volunteers grew bigger and they too started needing support and training to be able to perform their roles well and support the Facebook members in the way we wanted them to. I now have nearly 40 internal team members who I love dearly. To manage and steer a team of this size is no mean feat and I soon had to find some committed Community Managers to coach, support and train the teams to give this huge community of women our best. I also needed committed day to day help to also support a fast growing Facebook group covering all the admin work that it entailed - day and night. To get the commitment I needed to enable all of this to happen I had to offer some reward/pay.
Every year to keep Run Mummy Run in operation we need funds to support these costs. The amount displayed above covers us for six months. We are very lucky that a small portion of our time costs are covered by free help from our wonderful volunteers however we can only expect so much of them. They have their own families, their own jobs and lives. We cannot put specific demands and time expectations on them and we cannot insist they stay awake at 10pm at night to sort out an issue within the Facebook group, they are giving their time flexibly for free and this is as much as we can ask.
So to ensure the Facebook group runs consistently we do need a small blanket cover of paid staff to always be there for our community day and night even if the volunteers can't be. On top of this away from the Facebook group we incur costs to put on our events and free projects for the community. Again many volunteers help, but to ensure all the tasks are guaranteed to be covered and that the event definitely happens we need a small paid team of core staff to help us with the hard pre-prep and ground work.
Here are a few examples of our costs per year:
Four paid part-time community staff to work days, evenings, weekends shifts and school holidays to ensure community posts are approved and admin issues and disputes are resolved quickly and do not impact the community. We provide this coverage 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Management of the community e-mail where we receive community members, questions, queries and worries. We receive up to 50 e-mails a week and ensure everyone receives a reply and support if needed from the Run Mummy Run team.
To provide constant motivation, support and encouragement across all Facebook groups (of which we now have approximately sixteen (main group, 2nd hand group, nutrition group and the regional groups).
Keeping the community safe. Looking out for potential issues coming into the group, vetting each FB profile that requests to become a member of the group (we can get up to 150 requests a day at busy times). Finally looking out for women who we feel need off site support and steering them to get the right care.
Insurance costs (public liability) a requirement to be able to have a stand at events.
Costs to purchase the rental of our event stand and be present at events like The National Running Show, Goodwood and Shrewsbury Half Marathon.
Paid staff to operate the set up and break down at each event. Many mornings start at 4/5am and our teams all stay on until the end and ensure every last box of equipment is packed, normally until late on a Sunday night.
To buy cheer squad banners to support our community at races and events. Our hope is to buy one for every region so more women can be supported.
To support and train our regional ambassadors (a team of 26) and help them with their own mini RMR events and race meet ups around the country.
To buy event extras such as balloons, flags, stickers, bunting etc
Travel/petrol costs to send dedicated team members to event locations to ensure the set up and operation happens.
Two members of part-time staff member of staff to manage our monthly newsletter, our mailshots and their time write the many informative and helpful blogs on our website.
A member of part-time staff to manage our public Facebook page , Twitter and Instagram accounts and engage and answer as many of you as we possibly can online.
Monthly subscription to a mailshot provider (mailchimp) to send members a regular RMR community update and also to send out the announcement on every new kit launch.
A member of IT staff to support the website and online shop. For him be on call day and night for any issues or server problems especially around kit launch times. To ensure general smooth running of the website and make the shopping experience for our members enjoyable.
It's a lot and to provide a Facebook community that works so perfectly and provides a unique support system to over 62,000 females across the UK and beyond it needs a base level of funding to continue and we need to find that from somewhere. We are very lucky that our shop sales offer a small portion of this but most of that pays for our shop team and our fulfilment centre costs. It's a monthly challenge to sustain what we've built. Many of our team members and ambassadors compare RMR to that of the life of a swan. From the outside to others we glide gracefully along looking perfectly in control with no challenges, yet underneath the water there are strong legs frantically paddling away trying to keep it all going and moving forward, this is RMR.
So that's it. A very honest insight from me showing you behind the scenes of Run Mummy Run. It really is a huge operation and incredibly hard work but we do it because we love our community, its members and are passionate about changing women's lives for the better.
So as I close my message I say this. This is a voluntary ask and no-one should feel obliged to donate, the Facebook group will aways be a free space for any female that wants to be supported by us, no barriers. However, if you feel Run Mummy Run has provided you with something special in the last few years and deserves something back then we would be immensely grateful for your support so we can continue our work. Whether the community has given you encouragement when you needed, a place to air a worry in a safe space, some valuable advice, a hug and some kind words at London Marathon cheer squad, help with anxieties or mental health, a place to feel valued, somewhere to belong or simply because you found a whole bunch of amazing running friends that you now couldn't live without, then please donate if you can. The minimum is £5 but believe us, we will invest that back into the community giving you the value you deserve. You will be investing into your community and ensuring that we can keep going and providing you with the best female support system you'll ever know.
Thank you so much for your support
PS: If you do share this page firstly thank you so much but secondly if you are able to mention in your share that phone or tablet users need to click the 'READ MORE' button on our GoFundMe page to see this message that would a huge help for us so that our story is not missed.