Community fundraiser, Bernie smiles at camera after completing the City to Surf in Sydney.
© A4U
Location icon Australia

Running for refugees

Bernie Shipp has been participating in Sydney’s iconic City2Surf for over ten years, raising nearly $50,000 to support vulnerable people fleeing war and persecution.

Bernie Shipp has been participating in Sydney’s iconic City2Surf as part of Team UNHCR for over ten years and says that as long as he can walk, he’ll continue to participate and fundraise for refugees.

What motivated you to become an Australia for UNHCR supporter?

Originally, I was concerned about the Australian government’s treatment of refugees. I did some research on how or what I could do to support displaced people and refugees, and came across Australia for UNHCR. I’ve run the City2Surf for over 30 years and I never thought of previously using the event to raise funds, but recently fundraising has become a real focus of the event and organisers have made it very simple to set up a page. It became a natural way to raise funds for a cause that is important to me, such as Australia for UNHCR. If we can assist any way that we can,  then we should.

What are your tips for fundraising?

After setting up my page, I start fundraising and reaching out to my network two months prior to the event, sending updates every two weeks via email to my contact list. I acknowledge those who have contributed and provide information on how I’m going with my training, and I might attach some pictures. I find social media doesn’t work very well for me; taking a personal approach works better, such as emailing.

What is the most challenging part of fundraising?

Overall, it’s a pretty simple process. Setting up the page is simple and easy, and then I spend one hour per week sending emails and updating the page. The hardest part is keeping the momentum going over the two months. If I start any earlier it doesn’t appeal to people, and if I start too late it’s not enough time.

Why do you think Australians should support refugees and displaced people?

It’s not a question of either/or. There’s no reason why you can’t support the needs of people in Australia, while also helping displaced people globally. If you have limited funds, of course, you’re entitled to make your own choices. But Australia has an obligation to provide assistance to others throughout the world. And if we can assist in that process than we should.

Community fundraiser, Bernie smiles at camera after completing the City to Surf in Sydney.
© A4U
Bernie has been fundraising for Australia for UNHCR by participating in Sydney's iconic City2Surf for over ten years.

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