Hands up! How many of us regularly give cash to charity? In the past, I’ve been stopped by people on the High Street and been persuaded to sign up for a monthly donation, mainly because I don’t want to look tight with my money, then I normally cancel it at the earliest opportunity. Sorry charities, I’m simply not in a position to give a percentage of my monthly salary to you on an ongoing basis. I do, however, always drop £1 in a collection box when collectors are at the supermarket etc.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to NPT-UK only 25% of the UK population give to a charity on a monthly basis, however 61% of us have donated our hard earned cash in the past year. Now, that’s not a bad statistic, but there is massive room for improvement.
I’m a huge fan of ‘The Real Housewives’ franchise on Bravo. These super rich women make fundraising incredibly glamorous, with their charity fashion shows, Spin-a-thons at SoulCycle, Black Tie Gala’s etc. They always raise a fortune at the silent auction, selling experiences such a week on Necker Island, or jewellery donated by Bulgari. This made me think, why is Philanthropy mostly associated with the wealthy?
There are many ways us ordinary folk can donate to charity. We do it without even realising. How often do you have a clear out and take it to the local Hospice charity shop? Who doesn’t love a browse through Oxfam or BHF? If you’re buying in a shop or donating your old clothes you’re giving to charity.
Last year, my Husband, Jon was lucky enough to secure a charity place to run the Virgin London Marathon. Now, it’s nigh on impossible to get a ballot place for this run, so a charity place is often the only way you can secure your position on that start line. The caveat was, that he needed to raise £2500 for the NSPCC. This was where I came in…Forget the stylish fundraising galas you see on the Real Housewives of Orange County, I was going to tap into the Real Housewives of Caerphilly County and raise this cash so he could run. First stop, social media. How I could tap into social media friends and followers and get them to part with their hard earned cash and donate to such a worthy cause?
Drawing on inspiration from this mega rich Philanthropists, my first event was to organise a spin-a-thon. Now, we don’t have super trendy SoulCycle or Teddi Melencamp to take the class, but I did have my local gym who kindly donated two back to back spin classes on a Saturday morning. With a little help from Facebook and Ade the instructor, we sold out both classes to members who paid £5 to come for a beasting. this raised around £400 towards the fundraising effort.
Next came the stylish fundraising evening. A black tie gala event would have been difficult to pull off within the venues available in my local town, so had to think out-of-the-box. I had previously been to a psychic medium night that had been held in a local rugby club. The medium was spookily accurate and I’d been impressed, so I booked her at a whopping fee of £250 but managed to negotiate a function room with bar free of charge. We shared this event with a friend who was also running the marathon for another charity. Between us we managed to sell around 50 tickets and the cost of £10 each. Equally successful was the raffle we ran on the night. No Bulgari jewellery or Hermes Birkin bags, however we had meat vouchers, blow dries and a years supply of toilet roll…what else does a girl in the valleys need? The whole event raised around £600 after expenses were paid, and it wasn’t actually that stressful organising it, due to the power of social media yet again!
The fundraising I enjoyed the most, was getting involved with the NSPCC at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland 2017. The charity was the official charity partner of the event. Jon and I were invited to help with bucket collections. We had such fun interacting with people who were in the Christmas spirit, seeing children so excited in the lead up to Christmas, we worked on the stand for days, and were directly responsible for raising over £1000. I could never have afforded to donate that out of my nurse salary. We enjoyed volunteering so much, that we went back and volunteered again in 2018.
I’m pleased to say, Jon smashed his fundraising target and raised over £3000 for the NSPCC. This year, we were honoured to be invited to the NSPCC Wales head office to hear Esther Rantzen talk to us and other fundraisers about the progress made with Childline and how the money that has been donated is spent. We had a tour of the facilities, and was totally humbled to see and hear the work the NSPCC Wales are doing supporting children, families and even men and women with perinatal associated mental health problems.
I can see why the mega rich get involved with charities and fundraising. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Like you’re putting good karma out to the world. You don’t have to put your had in your pocket to help a charity, your time is much more valuable.
I asked Emma Brennan, Wales Appeal Board Manager for the NSPCC her tips and advice for getting involved with a charity. Emma says,
“People can give in many ways. Do it at a level that feels comfortable for you, whether that’s occasional giving or setting up a monthly direct debit. You may want to sign up for a physical challenge, such as skydiving, running, cycling, hiking or even sitting in a bath of baked beans!
Giving a few hours of your time is extremely valuable to a charity, that could be bucket collecting, bag packing in your supermarket or even training to deliver a service a few hours a week such as a volunteer counsellor for Childline.
You don’t have to do it on your own – friends, family members and work colleagues can all help and your fundraising might even inspire them to get involved too.
The important thing is to have fun with your charity work and remember to thank people who support your Philanthropy journey.”
We will continue to support the NSPCC at every opportunity as we have built up a great relationship with the team in Wales. I have volunteered to fundraise at the Cardiff Half Marathon this year, cheering on team NSPCC and Jon is hoping to run for them again.
I hope I’ve inspired some of you to get more involved with charitable causes, it really does make a difference and it isn’t just the mega rich and famous that make a difference to these organisations. The third sector need ordinary folk like you and me that are prepared to do extraordinary things!