Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Friday, 5 August 2011
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Unfortunately, you may have noticed, we've been a little absent from the blog recently. We're not being intentionally neglectful, we've just fallen into the busy summer months!
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
Thursday, 7 July 2011
The secret is out. We generate all our ideas on Wheel of Concept and then just stick them into PowerPoint.
Really, anyone can do this stuff. In fact, if you also bookmark this site you could sell a load of modish social media snake-oil too!
See you at the dole office.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Finally, after nearly three months, I’ve heard back from all the charities I chose to benefit from Open’s Grand Giveaway in April. But why has it taken them so long to say thank you?
Well, they’re all small, local charities, you see, requiring real people (not an agency) to send me written appreciations of my gifts.
So here’s what my lovely neighbours sent me to say thank you…
I know what you’re thinking. But this isn’t an online appreciation society for Simon Cowell. Neither is it a charity that supports those unfortunate enough to be addicted to electronic games of memory skill.
In fact, The Simon Community is a small charity that works with homeless people in my community. Their soup run stops at the end of my road, and every Saturday I skulk past on the way to spending three figures on Terramazon Cacao Nibs, flax oil and spelt burgers in the Camden Fresh and Wild (their organic shea butter seems to be the only thing capable of salving my weekend Pashley rash.)
Anyway, The Simon Community sent me a nice thank you letter, top-and-tailed by their Chief Exec, telling me a little bit more about what they do. Underwhelmed? Moi?
Not a bit. It was a lovely letter. And they are to me like honey to the bee.
Next time, Camden Young Carers…
Friday, 24 June 2011
I realise that this sounds conceited. But what I actually mean is that really good people tend to have really good jobs already – or indeed work for themselves.
Anyway, you're doubtless thinking that this is all leading up to a big 'we've appointed' announcement. And you'd be right.
We've been lucky enough to persuade Paul de Gregorio come and head up all our Mobile stuff. He'll be working with charities (CRUK being the first) to deliver amazing stuff to people's pockets and get even more money back from them in return.
Paul was formerly Client Services Director at Pell & Bales so knows a thing or two about fundraising and telephones. He also tweets like it's going out of fashion and writes a blog that i) gets far more readers than this one and ii) includes lots of gems like the image above – which gives you a good idea of just what a top man he is to work with.
Sadly, Paul's appointment is not the end of our recruitment drive. We're still very much in the market for an Account Director and Account Managers who want to work with us. So if you're brilliant at fundraising and have some experience either charity or agency side then do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Thursday, 2 June 2011
No, I'll tell you.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Friday, 20 May 2011
Now, child sponsorship is about as good as charity products get. So...
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
But since I’m only getting older and uglier, I also gave £260 to Dementia UK, who do a sterling job of caring for those with 'the cruellest diseases 0f all'. I’d hate to watch someone I love struggle with dementia and slowly lose their grip on reality. But it might just happen – and I hope there's plenty of advice and support available if so.
The rest of my money I gave to The Red Cross, who seemed to respond swiftly and effectively to the recent earthquake in Japan. Thankfully, I don't have friends or family affected, but these shocking photos blew my mind – and ultimately decided my charity choice...
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
I wish I'd been the planner too – so that I could tell people what their text would achieve aside from venting their anger.
Friday, 6 May 2011
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
I’m very new to the whole business of asking people for money. (In fact I don’t, I just sit near people who do.) But I’m a seasoned professional when it comes to being asked, and for me the things that work always involve some beautifully written copy and lots of tears.
Last summer I got an email from my friend Brigid, whose husband comes from very rural Punjab, Pakistan. His family is still living there, and two of his brothers run a school – the Daaman school for girls – funded entirely on charity donations, which I’ve supported. Anyway, the email explained simply that the village and most of the surrounding farmland had been devastated by the floods.
It was an extraordinary email, frank, direct and personal. It was letting me know, as a friend, that if I wanted to help it would be gratefully received.
But then, a few months after I’d handed over my small donation, I received an even more extraordinary email. Brigid wrote to tell me how my donation, and mine alone, had literally changed the lives of two whole families – renting one of them a room in a new house, and buying the other enough materials to set up a small scrap metal recycling business.
So, when I was given the chance to donate in the great Open Giveaway, I sent it to Brigid. The school, homes and lives are slowly being rebuilt. And I really look forward to hearing again how I’ve played a small but intimate part in that.
Thank you letters. What a great idea.
To support the Daaman School or Taunsa Area Relief Fund email email@example.com
However, a couple of things happened which suddenly made my charitable decisions feel so much more important.
First I learned that someone very close to me was going have still born twins at 28 weeks. Barnaby and Ellis were born on my birthday and we attended their funeral last week. One of the saddest moments of my life.
Then I was told about a group of girls and boys who were waiting for therapy from Action for Children specialists after being raped or molested by members of their own family. The centre that wanted to help them had put a request on My Action for Children.
I finally thought about my son's childminder. She has a son who has Crohn's disease. He's only twelve and I know he's having a rubbish time because of it.
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
As well as giving £220 to Ministry of Stories, along with Hannah, I also gave...
Set up in 1989, they work with young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people who have become homeless or are living in hostile environments. With offices in London and Manchester, and a bed for the night costing just £20, hopefully this money will go to good use.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
My lovely friend Alastair Banks was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in July last year. At 39 years old it was a tremendous blow to him, his wife and their two young children. Already Dorothy House has given much needed advice, support, counselling and equipment. Their help will be vital in the years ahead.
And, as a side note, Al – who’s not one to sit and feel sorry for himself – is raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by driving a milk float from him home near Bath to the south coast. Follow his Float to the Coast tour and donate to his £20k target if you’re able: http://floattothecoast.co.uk
Last year I supported a six-year-old girl called Emma through KIN’s guardianship programme. KIN works in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, which is home to 60% of Nairobi’s population on just 6% of its land. I’ve been really impressed by the feedback and communication I’ve received – including a hand-drawn picture from Emma – so I wanted to continue my support.
Nicki and Mark (Open folk) brought my attention to this project. It offers therapy and support to children who have suffered sexual abuse – often at the hands of people within their family. The project is from Action for Children’s new website that we created, my.actionforchildren.org.uk. And, by collaborating together, we’re doing exactly what the site sets out to do: linking people together through shared values and available funds!
Friday, 15 April 2011
I then had some rather unpleasant emergency surgery at Moorfields to remove the infection that Vision Express had helpfully left behind my cornea – operated on by the reassuringly calm Mr Julian Stevens.
Today, thankfully, I still have two fully functioning eyes.
They say there are no atheists in a foxhole and I think the same goes for waiting rooms in eye hospitals. My £1,000 gift to Sightsavers was the long overdue settlement of a deal I made with God.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Thanks to Tim and James’ generosity, I’ll be road-testing how it feels to sponsor a two-year-old girl in Africa very soon.
We’ve been working with Plan recently to help them recruit new child sponsors through a variety of media. We’ve talked a lot about the benefits and the kind of person who does it. And I found myself feeling increasingly self-conscious, sitting in those meetings. It’s true, I’ve always thought I’d do it one day but just hadn’t got around to it. And yes, it would be quite a nice thing to share with my increasingly chatty and aware 2-year-old daughter, Aoife. Suddenly, as a new parent it feels like the right time. And to think that all these years, I thought I’d become immune to these obvious fundraising buttons. Good to find out I’m still human after all.
This project is a little closer to home and heart. Someone very dear to me has done a remarkable thing recently – they have tackled the gruesome force of addiction head on, and with the support of this project, are 16 months 22 days sober, and counting…
C.A.N help people with drug and alcohol problems and offer a range of services to help people in the local area, when they often have nowhere else to turn. They’re facing cuts thanks to our new government and I have 100% confidence that a) they desperately need this money, b) they’ll spend it wisely and c) it’ll help people just like my friend (and his friends actually). I couldn’t ask for more.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
The Ministry of Stories
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Having worked in development, I understand the importance of building sustainable projects and of women in communities. This Ugandan project mobilises and informs women in rural communities – helping to make a real difference to families and the wider community with advice on health and education.
Childhood ought to be about adventure, learning, love and intrigue. For some unfortunate children their life is more about the pain of living with a terminal illness. Offering these children the opportunity to fulfill a dream is very motivating.
Stroke Association £250
My father died as a consequence of having a stroke and then several smaller stokes during a six month period. At the time, I was not aware of the signs that a person suffering from a stroke exhibits. If I had known then what I do now, he would have received treatment sooner.
Early detection may not have saved my Dad, but lives will be saved if there was greater stroke awareness.
Friday, 8 April 2011
As per last year, everyone got £1,000 to give to the charity (or charities) of their choice. As per last year (apart from the fact that there are now seventeen of us) we sat down over lunch and presented our decisions. And, as per last year, there were lots of tears.
Headlines this year are:
- Very few people gave again to the causes they supported last year. Because, on the whole, they'd been a bit lame at saying thanks and feeding back.
- People generally gave to stuff that had affected them or that is near to them.
- Four people gave a total of £1,200 to an amazing project for abused kids on my.actionforchildren.org.uk – only the second time anyone's given their money to a client and far & away the biggest cheque we wrote.
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Monday, 14 March 2011
Friday, 25 February 2011
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Slightly late, but the results of our Christmas Heroes quiz have been ratified by an independent adjudicator (not really). The top 5 are as follows:
Hannah's hero is: David Attenborough
Richard's hero is: Harvey Milk
Matt's hero is: J L Carr
Tom's hero is: Ayrton Senna
Nicki's hero is: Donald Woods
Paul's hero is: Stephen Hawking
Mark's hero is: Ole Kirk Christiansen (the inventor of LEGO)
Rebecca's hero is: Alfred Wainwright
Folake's hero is: Martin Luther King Jr
Caty's hero is: Cleopatra (although Elizabeth Taylor was accepted too, and provided the tiebreaker between Michael and Nathalie)