Di Flatt's Blog


As the Recession and the Credit Crunch continue to dominate I’m taking inspiration from Nelson Mandela (or not?)…
Di Flatt

Di Flatt

This is my personal blog so always remember that these are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear.

Good Sunday morning to you. I am already on my second coffee, having watched Andrew Marr – my favourite start for the day on Sundays. Now avidly watching The Big Questions with Nicky Campbell, and they are currently debating the rights and wrongs of early sex and whether parents should be telling children that sex can be wrong. I am surprised at quite how wide ranging the views from the audience are.

In my view children need and seek out boundaries and thus we do need to be able to tell young people what is considered right and wrong by society, and within the law. Young people have their own minds and opinions and I think our role is to ensure that we as adults demonstrate moral guidelines through our own behaviours. Just like anything in life as leaders we need to be seen to be ‘walking the walk’ not just talking the talk. So I don’t think it is about our drumming in the rights and wrongs per se, but in ensuring our own behaviour demonstrates behaving in a sensible, moral and safe manner. Surely this is the best way forward.

Anyway this totally digresses from what I was going to say – my fault for watching television at the same time as writing this.

I, as probably most of you, find myself thinking and worrying about the doom and gloom of recession and the credit crunch. Just earlier I was reading online a definition of ‘credit crunch’:

“All of our major banking and financial institutions are currently experiencing a shortage of cash, quite simply they do not have the funds to lend to their customers and therefore we do not have the ability to borrow any cash, this in turn means that we as a nation have far less cash to spend which means that business across the UK are selling far less than they were 12 months ago.”

So, businesses are selling less, and the nation has less cash to spend. Worrying times for all of us in the world of charity and fundraising to say the least.

However, one thing that will not change is human behaviours. Our world is full of egoists and altruists and everything in between. Those people who are altruistic will continue to be so and the egoists may continue to be selfish – or not, the jury is out on this. Recession can mean people will pull together more at a community level – so maybe from the credit crunch will grow a whole new crop of altruists? Time will tell.

This made me think more about altruism and so being my usual geeky self I was just researching altruism on line, and came across an ‘egoism versus altruism’ test.

It appears from my test that I am 91% empathetic, and this is what they had to say:

“Your results indicate that empathy is one of your strong suits. You are able to identify with other people and their feelings, as well as see things from their perspective. Many researchers believe that empathy is a defining characteristic of true altruists. It’s the ability to empathize with others that often motivates people to help someone. Being able to really understand where others’ are coming from and why they would truly benefit from your consideration most likely makes any kind gesture you commit all the more meaningful. In addition, taking that moment to put yourself in other people’s shoes and trying to see the world through their eyes has probably helped you learn a lot about not just them, but yourself too.”

I think the best thing about helping others isn’t the fuzzy feeling of warmth it provokes in me, but the fact that when I have helped someone they may go on to want to help someone else, and so on. Empathy and helpfulness has an infectious nature, and so has the potential to grow and grow.

Offering support and being there when needed doesn’t just benefit the people around us, but will benefit ourselves as well. As I said the other day to give is to receive, so I think we, as fundraisers, really need to keep concentrating hard on giving of ourselves.

This reminds me of the famous speech often attributed to Nelson Mandela.   The original words were in fact written by Marianne Williamson, and it is a subject of regular debate as to whether Mr Mandela ever did actually use the words in a speech or not.  However, it is still worth a read – and it certainly inspires me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. “

Whether religious or not, I think this speech holds strength for all of us.

So fundraisers, in this time of economic doom and gloom, let us not focus on the dark but switch on our lights. Play big, serve the world, and give others permission to do the same. Keep on giving and we will keep on receiving.

Well I better go and catch up on house chores, emails, facebook, twitter and phone calls. Have a great day and I will be back soon.

DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN

Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.

KEEP ON GIVING.

Di x

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