Di Flatt's Blog


Staff appraisals, life appraisal and time to make some changes…

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.

 

 

 

Well I had a very busy Monday, no time to chat.  Busy doing staff appraisals and meetings in the day, and a life appraisal in the evening!  I shall perhaps tell you more when I have time, but for now I will just share with you a quote I read at the weekend.

 

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

when the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

when the funds are low and the debts are high,

and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

when care is pressing you down a bit,

rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

as every one of us sometimes learns,

and many a failure turns about,

when he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

you may succeed with another blow,

success is failure turned inside out.

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

and you never can tell how close you are,

it may be near when it seems so far,

so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”  Author unknown.

 

Somehow this seems to fit well right now, not just for me and my own life appraisal – but for all of us doing charity fundraising right now, and indeed many people in general struggling through this recession and credit crunch.  Every few days I hear of another friend who has been made redundant, brilliant and talented people who now face an uncertain future.

 

Well we mustn’t dwell, remember what I said on Sunday – in fact I shall say it again.

 

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 another busy day ahead.  Take care and I will speak again 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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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



Remember to pack the right funding wardrobe this week…

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.

Well it is Saturday night and I am only recently home following a day of trawling around the shops looking for that perfect LBD (boys that reads ‘little black dress’ by the way).

You know the usual trip ladies – of course I knew which shop and designer I liked, so went there first and saw and tried on a fabulous dress BUT then went around all the other shops to make sure, before returning to buy it.

Well the dress is now hanging nicely in the wardrobe making friends with the four inch heels I bought in London a couple of weeks ago. Need the dress for fabulous Easter Bunny party I am going to in April. Not sure will be able to dance in the four inches but they will certainly look good.

Now need to get a brrriiillliiaaannnt hair cut to go with the outfit. So if anyone has suggestion for excellent Leeds based hairdresser I shall be grateful – otherwise I might have to catch train back to London just for a hair cut.

I hate having to find a new hairdresser – does anyone else suffer this affliction?

I get all twitchy that a new person will cut it wrong, take it too short, wrong colour, lopsided and so on; and of course there is the question of what to wear when you go. You see I have a theory. If you go just in your jeans and trainers you will get a mediocre hair ‘do’. So I always try to get nicely ‘dressed up’ to show them that I mean business, make up, heels, EXCELLENT handbag, nice nails, and expensive looking smart outfit.

You might think I am silly, I think I am silly, but somehow I just can’t stop myself.

It was just the same when I was younger except you could then swap ‘expensive looking smart outfit’ for something quirky and wild – as back then I was into the ‘new romantic’ scene – to ensure I would end up with a quirky and wild hair do.

This actually relates well to fundraising too I think – because when dealing with potential funders we really do need to ‘dress’ ourselves, our organisations, and our work to ensure they come across in a way that means we have the highest possible chance of receiving the funding we need from our target funding audience.

So this will mean different ‘outfits’ for trusts and foundations, for corporate organisations, and for individuals and so on – as each will expect to see a different form of ourselves as most appropriate to them.

So as you enjoy your Saturday evening perhaps allow yourself to ponder on which outfit you are going to wear this week, and how many outfits you are going to need dependent on the funders you are likely to approach.

 Think of your own wardrobes and how you will wear different things for different events and even for different people; and ladies consider even the different heel heights you may walk in this week dependent on the person you may be walking with.

Well I have had a busy day, and am now relaxing watching television with a nice glass of red, so good night and we can speak again 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



If you’re going to advertise then tell it like it is, otherwise you will just lose out in the end…
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.

 

Well good evening, I just got home after a long day on the road.  Self and two other members of the Yorkshire IoF Committee have been busy trying out venues for the inaugural two day residential conference we are planning for Yorkshire and the North in February 2010.

 

Currently feel exhausted and also rather irritated.  One of the hotels, in fact the one we travelled furthest to check out was listed as having many more rooms than it in fact had.  So although it was indeed a very nice hotel, with the most fabulous views out over the sea and Robin Hood’s Bay, had great rooms and facilities – IT JUST WAS NOT SUITABLE – because it does not in fact have enough bedrooms for the number of delegates!

 

So now I feel irritated with this hotel, I feel cheated and like they wasted my time.  The second strange thing was they also told us they have a policy whereby they do not like the double and twin rooms to be taken for single use (and they only have three actually single rooms). 

 

Now how many conferences do you attend where the delegates all arrive in couples?  So my questions are this – why say you are a conference hotel and then make it nigh on impossible for your conference audience to hold a conference?  Why say you have over a hundred rooms and in fact have only 52?  Hmmnnn.  I really do not think this would have reached the standards of the FRSB – so it is lucky they are in fact a hotel and not a charity!!

 

So am now home, hungry and tired but happy that I am now watching Sleepless in Seattle on tv, a favourite of mine.  Hmmmnnn just imagine if the two main characters when writing to each other had portrayed themselves as someone else, something different to who they really are (like the hotel did) – well I guess this love story would have had a very different ending.  An ending comprising of two very disappointed people – rather than a coming together of two happy and contented souls ready to begin a lifelong journey together.

 

This just makes me contemplate how we work with our members and supporters – are we really as open, honest and transparent as we could be?  I think we are, but considering how irritated I felt at the hotel today I am going to think again, and discuss with my team, and indeed with some of our members and supporters themselves.  If we end up irritating or annoying our supporters then they could end up feeling like I do right now – let down, cheated and thinking I certainly won’t be booking to stay at that hotel any time soon.

 

We really must keep it honest, keep it open, and keep it transparent – charity fundraising really does need to be ‘what you see is what you get’ in every fashion.

 

Now I am going to watch the end of this lovely film, probably shed a tear or two at the end then slip off to bed for an early’ish night.

 

Tomorrow I might tell you a little bit more about our trip today and the shenanigans of the wayward satnav.  We certainly did take the scenic route !

 

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



It’s your neck on the line…..

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.

   

 

 

My horoscope today in Metro reads:  ‘Details matter today, especially if you’re in charge of planning a big event.  Don’t assume that someone else has taken care of things.  Even if you delegated these tasks, double check them.  It’s your neck on the line.’

 

This made me smile, as it fits so well with what I promised yesterday that I would tell you about today! The major faux pas made at one of my previous charities.  Oh my goodness what an unfortunate happening it was too.

 

I had just written our latest appeal and supporter newsletter.  Included within the newsletter was a piece about our previous president, a well known Bishop, who had just died.  The piece paid tribute to his work, his previous work with and support of the charity, and details of his love of sport and so on.

 

As always there was the letter, the newsletter and a BRE to go into the outer envelope.  Everything was carefully proofed and went through our quality assurance system before going to the mailing house – which shall remain nameless!

 

It was in fact about six years previous that this Bishop had stepped down from being our president.  And two years previous I had taken the charity through a full rebrand, including our name.  There is a reason for me telling you these two things….

 

When we went through the rebrand we gave instructions to all our offices, mailing houses, storage places and so on – directing them to destroy all print materials with the old details on them, and we supplied everyone with all the nice new rebranded print.

 

So – and this is why it made me smile reading the horoscope this morning – one went ahead assuming that all of these people and organisations had followed my direction and destroyed everything.   And yes people you no doubt have done this too.

 

So what happened I hear you ask?

 

Well in a nutshell – the letters were printed perfectly, the newsletter was printed perfectly and (in my opinion, but then I am biased) was a really good issue, the giving mechanism was all nicely coded and pretty.

 

BUT, oh I blushing at the memory of it, the business reply envelopes were just held at the mailing house.  They didn’t need proofing as they were the same ones that were sent every time…

 

OR WERE THEY

 

Well as I said above, we had requested that all previous print was destroyed – BUT we then assumed they had done this.  WE HAD NOT GONE TO THE MAILING HOUSE AND MADE SURE THERE WAS NO OLD PRINT KEPT, EVEN BY MISTAKE.

 

The mailing house – just prior to my mailing – had decided to have a big tidy up and had moved things around the warehouse.

 

Somehow – oh dear – they had managed to find old boxes of BREs used in an appeal seven years previous that were actually addressed to our president the aforementioned Bishop.

 

Oh my goodness, when my copies arrived in the post – to show the appeal had landed – I just sat there looking at them in silence for what must have been minutes.  Then after a huge sigh and a series of rapid and ranting phone calls to the mailing house I rallied my poor team, who were equally mortified and upset.

 

We spent the entire day and evening printing apology letters and getting them straight out in first class post.  I signed over two thousand letters that day by hand – it was important to me to sign every one.

 

We had some complaints but the prompt apology was accepted graciously by everyone.

 

So my fellow fundraisers – and yes a couple of you reading this will recall the day and stuffed those envelopes alongside me – as my horoscope this morning stated:

 

Don’t assume that someone else has taken care of things.

Even if you delegated these tasks, double check them.

It’s your neck on the line!

 

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

 



One Wedding, four conversations, and tomorrow a funeral….
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 afternoon everyone. Well hurrah the trustee report is done and printed, and I only have one or two grey hairs from it. Unfortunately it will come around again all too soon in a couple of months – why oh why is it that it always takes me by surprise !!

Well I had a good evening last night, bronchitis starting to clear up, cooked a nice filet steak and then got busy networking and chatting with friends on line. At one point during the evening I had four conversations taking place at the same time – and let me tell you that it got a little hairy trying to keep up with each one and not get confused.

I was talking to my niece about her becoming a police woman and her forthcoming college course, whilst at the same time talking to my sister about weddings and wedding dresses (for her not me!).

I was also giving big sister (or agony aunt!) advice to one of the boys from my local rugby club about a young lady he is thinking about asking out, and was also talking to a man in my own life just catching up on my day and his.

At one point I was busily typing away that ‘we need to speak to the vicar and get the prices for the church ceremony and the additional costs for bells and choir etc’ and just as was about to send realised I was in the wrong conversation box !!!!

Oh my dear man friend you are so lucky you didn’t get a big shock there. Hence there was a rapid deletion from that box and a big sigh of relief from me. So note to self for today is to only hold one conversation at a time in future so that I don’t give anyone a big surprise, or even worse really upset them!

I guess it’s a little like getting it right with your donor and supporter correspondence. Just one error like getting someone’s name wrong can spoil the relationship for ever and as I said the other day with the credit crunch constantly looming over us fundraisers, relationship fundraising is absolutely key. So getting the right data to the right person at the right time is absolutely imperative to keep our donors and supporters happy!

So if I do go online tonight I shall be holding one conversation at a time, so that I am absolutely clear who I am talking to, about what, and why. Or perhaps I shall just be old fashioned and use the telephone !

One quick reminder – National Doodle Day ™ is now only 3 days away !!

Remember to vote for your favourite celebrity doodle!

As of right now Doug Rao, who plays the role of DS Stuart Turner in The Bill is in the lead.

You can easily choose your favourite doodle from the 2009 celebrity doodle thumbnail gallery, by just clicking through to the large version, finding its ID number (shown below each doodle) and then texting the word DOODLE followed by a space then the ID number to 80039.

Please text carefully: if the ID number includes 0, that’s the number zero, not the letter O.

By the way there was a good piece in The Sun today about our doodlers !

Tomorrow I am going to tell you about the big faux pas that happened at one of my previous charities when my appeal correspondence to supporters did go wrong! I have never had to sign so many apologies ever – including getting the two thousand letters out overnight – and I hope to goodness that I never have to do that again – and this faux pas was NOT about wedding dresses and choirs, it was unfortunately about a funeral!

So have a good day and I’ll speak to you again 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



Yes, we’ve had the Oscars and the Brits, but here’s the next award to draw a crowd: the annual National Doodle Day ™.

the-dood-2009This 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.

 

HELLO ! Well I am finally back in the office, hurrah! Although have been told several times that I should go straight back home. However I have persevered and am still here, tied to the desk, desperately trying to catch up on work that I couldn’t do from home – mainly the trustee report!! Have been given a reprieve to mid day tomorrow to have it finished, so here I am type type type, figures figures, figures.

I did notice earlier the three desks nearest to my little corner no longer have anyone sat at them. My events manager has moved to another desk for the day and two people have even taken flex time ! Currently feel as if am in quarantine!

However, now on my lunch break and just enjoyed coronation chicken but hmmnn I followed this with the most yeeuurchh ( Paul how should I have spelt that one? ) low fat yoghurt – so yeeuurch followed this with chocolate from the staff tuck shop! So much for my diet. Although I did lose 3 pounds last week with being ill – and hey as still not feeling great maybe the chocolate on the lips will slide straight off the hips and miss them completely. Here’s hoping…

Although not sure that will work for the lovely caramel fudge consumed yesterday, of which there remains a rather large bag thereof still sitting on my dining table requesting that I fulfil its destiny and eat it….. anyone fancy some?

Well here in the office my team are rushing about finalising everything as National Doodle Day ™ rapidly approaches – only 4 days to go ! So yes today I am definitely plugging my own charity Epilepsy Action.

If you haven’t yet heard about this (in my opinion BRILLIANT) national event, National Doodle Day ™ is an annual fundraising event that we, Epilepsy Action, run in partnership with The Neurofibromatosis Association. I actually think that as we continue through the credit crunch fundraising in partnership should become more widespread. The link we have is that both conditions can cause seizures, ensuring synergy between the two charities. I am certainly always on the lookout for new and innovative partnerships to generate income!

We have some brilliant celebrities taking part this year and I have to say a HUGE thank you to every one of them for taking the time to doodle, sign and send in to us. Take a look at the website www.nationaldoodleday.org.uk.

A host of famous names from the worlds of fashion, entertainment, sport and literature have put pen to paper for this popular event. Doodles by the likes of Sophie Dahl, Jonathan Ross, Daniel Radcliffe and Heston Blumenthal will be auctioned, and lucky bidders will also be able to choose from countless other celebrity doodles, including: Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Deborah Meaden; BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, Edith Bowman; Strictly stars, Alesha Dixon and Jill Halfpenny; actors, Bob Hoskins; Diana Rigg and Jason Flemyng; award-winning film director and creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park; survival expert, Bear Grylls; and comedy actors, Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg – amongst many others.

This year’s theme is ‘All About You’, so all our doodlers were asked to doodle on what they know best – whether in the form of a self-portrait or a doodle that otherwise represents them.

In fact 350 celebrity doodles will be auctioned this year, and around 750 celebrities have taken part in the annual competition over the years.

The celebrity e-bay auction opens on Friday 27 February 2009 and lasts for ten days.

Schools, Colleges, and individuals can also take part in our separate National Doodle Day ™ competitions, fully detailed on the website; and businesses, clubs and societies are also being encouraged to hold their own National Doodle Day ™ competitions.

We even have two large shopping centres running National Doodle Day ™ events on our behalf on the day, Meadowhall Centre in Sheffield and the Eastgate Centre in Inverness. Across the UK people are scribbling and doodling away all having fun whilst raising much needed income for the two charities.

All our winners will have their work displayed in the doodle Hall of Fame on the National Doodle Day ™ website, and will also be able to see what their doodles reveal about their personality in the ‘meanings’ section of the site.

You can also vote for your favourite celebrity doodle!

Yes, we’ve had the Oscars and the Brits, but here’s the next award to draw a crowd: the annual National Doodle Day ™.

Dood Award

You can easily choose your favourite doodle from the 2009 celebrity doodle thumbnail gallery, by just clicking through to the large version, finding its ID number (shown below each doodle) and then texting the word DOODLE followed by a space then the ID number to 80039.

Please text carefully: if the ID number includes 0, that’s the number zero, not the letter O.

As of right now Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe is in the lead.

The winning celebrity doodler will receive the fabulous cast iron ‘Dood Award’ (pictured above) designed and kindly donated by Heather Cumming, Keltneyburn Smithy Gallery & Workshop (www.ironfairy.co.uk).

National Doodle Day is one of our most fun events in our annual calendar, and I am excited to see how much we raise in this its sixth year. The last five years of doodling have raised more than £160,000 towards providing vital support to people with epilepsy and neurofibromatosis.

All money raised by National Doodle Day will support the work of the two charities.
All text and images © National Doodle Day ™ all rights reserved.

Well I just wanted to let you all know about this event with it coming up so soon – hope you have time to vote for your favourite celebrity! 4 days and counting……….

I would like to have time to tell you about my lovely weekend, okay lots of intermittent coughing prevailed, but I still managed to have some fun time including a trip out to the coast for some medicinal sea air (and the lovely caramel fudge) – which definitely seemed to help (the sea air not the fudge silly)! But will have to fill you in later as I really must get back to the trustee report…

So take some time out for blue sky thinking and look for some innovative ways to partner with other organisations (including mine) to make the most of your income generation potential this year. Best of luck with that, and we can catch up again 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