An exclusive challenge is one which is advertised specifically in aid of your cause. Anyone who joins the challenge must raise funds in aid of your charity.
This has the benefit of having an event with just your supporters in one place for up to two weeks, where you can brief them on the work of the charity and they can relate their positive challenge experience to the work of the charity. If you work in the country where the challenge takes place, we can also organise a charity project visit.
Often a charity representative will join an exclusive trek, and possibly offer a talk one evening giving the participants a far greater appreciation of the work of the charity. They can also answer questions from participants as the challenge is under way.
The following guidelines are intended to help the charity representative to understand the responsibilities they undertake with exclusive challenges and also to emphasise what commitment will be required from you to recruit participants for an exclusive challenge. You should however be confident that we always try to be as flexible as possible in order to help you book the exclusive challenge that you want for your supporters.
We strongly advise that when considering promoting an exclusive departure, you consider booking a challenge at least one year in advance of the date of departure. We can organise a challenge within a matter weeks if necessary (subject to flight availability), but a long lead time is usually needed for the charity to recruit participants, and then for the participants to raise the necessary funds.
Bearing in mind that the majority of the participants' fundraising money must be sent to the charity 10 weeks before the departure date, and that on average it takes a charity about two months to get to the point of being ready to take bookings (for marketing materials to be prepared, advertising, responding to queries, and getting participants signed up), this timeline is very important. Even if a full group is recruited immediately, it only leaves participants eight months to fundraise and to get fit. In addition, it is fairly common that as the departure date gets closer, people are less likely to book their place, as they feel they will not be able to raise sufficient funds or get fit in time. Having a longer lead time will help avoid this scenario and hopefully help you succeed with your recruitment and maximise your fundraising potential.
Departure dates and costs should be agreed with Charity Challenge in writing before you start to recruit people. This ensures that the right costs and dates are quoted in marketing materials, and allows the charity representative to work out an accurate event budget, which avoids confusion or over-selling the fundraising goal of the event to charity management.
We will provide an exclusive group agreement which will confirm the minimum and maximum numbers, at what point we can allocate a free charity rep place, costs and deadlines, and links to the booking conditions under which the challenge will be operated.
You should have at least twelve people booked and confirmed on the exclusive departure date eight months prior to departure. If twelve people have not booked, we will discuss with you various options to ensure the event can still operate. Some events may have different minimum requirements, but this is a good indication of what is required. Should you fall short on the minimum requirements:
One option is to make your exclusive challenge into an open challenge. This means that we would advertise your departure date on our website for anyone to join and raise funds for any charity. This should help to recruit other people to make up the minimum group numbers. The advantage of this is that it saves you having to cancel the group, or move the participants on to another challenge.
Another option is that we could offer the small group of people recruited for the exclusive departure date, the chance to join another challenge which would already have enough people on it, so that it would definitely be going ahead.
If you do not have 12 people, but wish to keep the group as exclusive, we can still (in some cases) operate the challenge as an exclusive, but we would reserve the right to charge a supplement, and/or to amend the services offered to help counter the increased costs.
To avoid these kind of problems, it is a good idea firstly to promote an open challenge date in your marketing material, and if you get a large enough response, we would look to run an exclusive date for your charity. If you get a limited response, any enquiries you do have can join the open team and you have lost nothing. This way you can test the demand before you commit to running an exclusive challenge - and there is far less risk to the charity.
If you choose to promote an exclusive challenge, we will need to request flights for your group. If the challenge is far enough away (i.e. a year or more), then we can request the dates as part of our annual allocation through our preferred airlines. This usually means that we do not have to pay deposits. If however the request for flights does mean that the airline requires a deposit to hold the seats, we will ask the charity to cover this financial outlay.
Each airline has different rules. We will always try to operate the flights for a challenge through an airline based on good routing with minimal stopovers, cost efficient, and good terms for deposits and so on. As the rules vary so greatly, we shall discuss this with you once we know which challenge you wish to operate and the airline options.
Under airline regulations we can only request our flight allocations 11 months before travel date. At that time we request the seats for your group and shortly after you may have to pay a deposit. So it is best for you to have promoted your exclusive challenge a good deal earlier than eleven months before the intended departure. In this way you will already be receiving responses from your supporters and you should have a good idea of demand, well before we have to request flights and possibly pay deposits.
Usually the deposit is a percentage of the full fare, and is required two weeks after the flights have been confirmed. Paying for flight deposits will not be your responsibility if you have participants already recruited and booked, as their booking deposit will cover the cost of the airline deposit. This is another reason why starting to promote early is beneficial to the charity.
If participants have not been recruited, the charity will need to estimate how many people you think you are likely to recruit, and pay deposits to hold the seats. Once a deposit has been paid, the air fare is non changeable (although air taxes are), and as names are not required until closer to departure, if one participant cancels, another can easily take their place.
Some airlines request 100% fulfilment, so if you pay deposits for 20 people, you will need to recruit 20 people, and for those seats you don't fill, you will lose the deposit. For others, you have to materialise 80%, so if paying deposits for 20 people, they would only expect you to have to fill 16 seats. Once again, we will discuss this with you and confirm in writing any particular airline rules.
There should not generally be any further costs that need to be paid before the final balance is due, which is 8 weeks before departure. If you are doing a specific challenge and there are additional costs, we will discuss them with you at the very earliest opportunity.