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How does the new Charity Bond scheme work?

In 2019, London Marathon Events started its first detailed review of the Golden Bond, Silver Bond, Charity Ballot and One Year Charity Bonds scheme, which included extensive consultation with charities and other key stakeholders. More than 80 per cent of charities that responded to a survey agreed/strongly agreed that the allocation of bonds should be reviewed. Please read below for answers to common questions from charities about the Charity Bond scheme.

My charity currently has two Golden Bonds (10 places) – how many places will I have in the future?

From the 2026 London Marathon, charities that currently hold Golden Bonds will retain 80 per cent of those places (four out of the five places in each Golden Bond) and the Golden Bonds will be held for four years rather than the current five years. All charities that currently hold Golden Bonds will be contacted by 2 February with a breakdown of the number of places that they will have.

When will the transition take place?

We are giving charities five years’ notice of the changes. The changes will be implemented from the 2026 London Marathon.

I have a Silver Bond place in 2024 or 2025. Can my charity apply for the new two-year charity places?

Yes, if your charity opts to give up its Silver Bond place for that year.

What is happening to One Year Charity Bonds?

Due to the challenge of reallocating places from the cancelled mass 2020 London Marathon into the 2021, 2022 and 2023 events, there will be no One Year Charity Bonds available for the 2022 London Marathon but all existing One Year Charity Bond holders will be able to renew their One Year Charity Bonds in 2023, 2024 and 2025 (if they wish). There will be no One Year Charity Bonds from 2026 onwards.

From 2026, the number of One Year Charity Bonds held by each charity will be reduced to 80 per cent of the current total and merged into the charity’s existing Golden Bonds (also reduced to 80 per cent of the current total) and move to a new four-year term. These places are guaranteed for two four-year terms (until 2033) if the charity opts to take them up.

What is happening to the annual Charity Ballot?

The Charity Ballot (500 one-year places) will continue and will be open to any charity that does not hold any guaranteed charity places.

When will more guaranteed charity places become available to new charities?

From 2024, any charity that does not currently hold a Golden Bond will be able to apply in a new ballot for two-year charity places. From 2026, charities that do not currently hold a Golden Bond will be able to apply in a new ballot for two-year or four-year charity places.

How do new charities apply for the new two-year charity places and four-year charity places?

Details will be available in early 2023.

How much do the Gold, Silver and One Year Bonds cost?

The current cost of a Golden Bond, Silver Bond or One Year Bond place is £370. The average amount raised by a runner in the Virgin Money London Marathon is more than £2,500.

Do charities have to reapply every two or four years for the new charity places?

Yes, charities will have to reapply at the end of each term. Charities that are unsuccessful in a first application will be given preference next time they apply. Full details on how to apply for the new charity places will be available in early 2023.

Can charities currently holding Golden Bonds apply for the new two-year or four-year charity places?

No. Only charities that do not currently hold Golden Bonds will be eligible to apply. If a charity that currently holds Golden Bonds wishes to enter the new scheme, they will be required to give up their current Golden Bond allocation. We expect that some charities holding a small number of Golden Bonds may opt to do this.

How will you ensure charities of all sizes will be able to access the new scheme?

The new two-year and four-year charity places will be allocated via a ballot giving all charities a fair chance. Charities applying for the top levels of places will go through a scrutiny process as part of the application. Only charities that do not currently hold Golden Bonds will be eligible to apply.

Is there a limit on how many new two-year or four-year charity places each charity can purchase?

Yes, there are a set number of places available at different levels and a set number of charities that can get those places. Full details will be available later this year.

How many charities will now be able to access guaranteed charity places in the London Marathon?

This review means that approximately 2,500 charities will be able to engage directly with the London Marathon every year (an increase of 1,000 on the current 1,500).

Why is it going to take five years before the new system is fully introduced?

Due to the challenge of reallocating places from the cancelled mass 2020 London Marathon into the 2021, 2022 and 2023 events, the first changes are in 2024 with the introduction of the new two-year charity places. Additionally, the impact of the Covic-19 pandemic on our long-standing charity partners means we have a responsibility to provide adequate time for those charities to plan ahead.

Why are the existing charities being allowed to keep 80% of their Golden Bonds?

We had to balance our responsibilities towards charities which have worked with us for decades, with opening up the London Marathon to other charities for the first time in more than 20 years.

Will the four-year Golden Bonds for existing customers continue to be automatically renewed?

Yes, existing Golden Bond holders will have their places guaranteed until 2033. The next review of the scheme will take place in 2029.

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