Di Flatt's Blog

Credit Crunch – I count, you count, they count. But how much does any of it count for you?


Di FlattHello everyone!   I am back after a little break of just being too too busy.  Oh and before we start today I better again mention, 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.  So here we go, back to me…


Well how was your Easter?  Mine was mixture of busy busy fun along with some much needed relaxation.  We went to the Billionaire Boys Club and Glamour & Excess Easter Bunny party at Oracle in Leeds.  This was great fun.  But let me just tell you there are some nights out where you really SHOULD NOT wear your four inch heels.  Starting parties at 9pm and dancing through till 3am does not make your feeties love you in the morning.  I know because mine were positively frowning at me for two days afterwards.  As you can all probably guess the relaxation came AFTER the party.


Thus for the next party (which is rapidly approaching) I shall be wearing pretty girlie pumps of no higher than two inches – I promise.  No really feeties I promise you!  I will never do that to you again.


Hmmnnnnnn.  Well some of you may be wondering how my fundraising is going!


Those of you who know me well will know of my inherent optimism and constant smiling…. well if there is one thing that can test my usual exuberance it is the




I know that all charities are working hard to maximise their resources – but there are certainly days right now when I groan a little.


Some people are cancelling their usual direct debit donations – and lets be fair who can blame them!


However I cannot help but wonder how many realise just how much the charity sector relies on their support.  Certainly for my charity over 90 percent of our income is from voluntary donation, or individuals’ participation in our many events.


So yes some days I groan a little.


However I groan not only for the charity but for the person who feels they have to stop their donation.  It really cannot be an easy moment.


Every single pound we choose to give to a charity is important.  Every generous gift we make is going towards helping someone, improving life chances, saving a life, improving the environment, and changing the world forever.


So – it certainly cannot be easy to stop your charity donations.  For all of us the credit crunch is making things hard.


But life was not meant to be just easy!  So perhaps we will all learn a lot at this time.  Or at the very least remember things we have maybe forgotten.


I for one have begun to remember just how much I like to be at home in my own kitchen and cook!


A couple of weeks ago I stayed with a friend who clearly also really enjoyed cooking for us both.


I have had groups of friends come round for the evening and we have eaten and drank together, watched DVDs, listened to music, played on the computer reading each other’s facebooks, updating our websites, and generally having just as much fun in my apartment as we would ordinarily have been having in the local pub or wine bar.


So perhaps, although hard, this is a time when we all remember how important it is to pull together, care about each other, and plough our more limited funds into the things that really matter to us.  The people and things we care about.


Please, everyone, do remember that the charities you support and care about continue to matter too – and they continue to matter to you.  If you can, don’t stop giving altogether.  Reduce it perhaps, or give in other ways: through participation in fun events for example, or even by writing the charity of your choice into your will.  Just don’t leave them behind forever – none of us know when we ourselves may need the support of a charity.


Actually writing this made me think of the charities that have supported my family.


Macmillan Cancer Support helped us through my dad’s cancer, staying with him and us until his final day.  So thank you so much Macmillan, we all needed you.


British Heart Foundation supported us when we lost our mum to heart attack.


I myself have worked in numerous charities.  I have worked with socially and economically deprived children – seeing things that opened my eyes to worlds and lives I could not otherwise have ever believed were taking place here in the UK.


I have work with terminally ill children and children living with life limiting conditions – they and their families need huge amounts of care and support, and I shall remember every one of them that I met that are no longer with us today.


Today of course I work for Epilepsy Action, a charity providing services and a voice for all people living with epilepsy in the UK, and their families.  I myself had epilepsy as a child and so understand the difficulties and issues that confront you when living with this condition, and thus why our services are so vital.


Every charity you will know of needs financial support to enable them to provide the help and services they are there to provide.


Every pound you donate supports making our world a better place, a better space for us all to share.


I have reduced my own donations to the charities I support, and when I can I will increase them again.


Yes, my charitable giving is on the edge of my budget – but it is a necessary expense and one that will remain on my budget because who knows what is around the corner.  For me, for my loved ones, or for any of us.



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.


Di x







Day 4 in Di Flatt’s blogosphere – Major Donors, turning the pyramid on its head, and why are there no fat insects?

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

Di Flatt

Di Flatt

Well a jolly good Friday hello to everyone!




Friday is dress down day in my office – but today here I am still at home with the bronchitis – and am so dressed down I am in my pyjamas as I write this.


I slept late today, and think that is probably a good sign towards recovery.  So I hope to be back in office on Monday, actually need to be as work is piling up, and my trustee report that was due today is not done as I don’t have access to the data I need being stuck here at home.  Sorry trustees, please feel charitable to my dilemma… 


Don’t think they would want me in the office yet anyway with this hacking coughing still ongoing – they wouldn’t be able to hear themselves on the phone for a start. 


Anyway let’s get onto fundraising……




We all have them, at differing levels depending on the size of our charity and our donor/supporter constituency of course.  Your major donors may be those giving over £500 per annum, the next charity it may be over £500k per annum, and so on.  It is as with many things all relative.


But as I was saying yesterday is that in the current economy I think we need to be thinking of all our supporters as major donors regardless of giving levels.


We all know the seven steps of major donor fundraising (and if you don’t then go find out).  The usual fundraising pyramid, the need to ensure you pitch for your largest donation first etc etc, for the top of the pyramid.


Usual pyramid of course looks something like this.



£1m   £1m

£500k £500k £500K

£100K £100k  £100k  £100k

£50K£50k  £50k  £50k  £50k  £50k

£10K £10k  £10k  £10k  £10k  £10k  £10k

£2k   £2k   £2k   £2k   £2k   £2k   £2k   £2k   £2k

£100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100

£100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100 £100

 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1

£1 £1 £1 £11 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1

£1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1

£1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1  £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1

£1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1 £1


It is easy to use this pyramid when you are talking about or to the big major donors.  Every major donor wants to feel they are at or near the top of the pyramid – human nature. 


Well I have been having some thoughts on this – why should all our £1 donors at the bottom of the pyramid not feel as important as those £1m givers at the top?  I always try to remember that giving is relative to what we have to give, and thus one person’s £1 could be as significant an outgoing to another’s £500k.


At the end of the day we all want to feel good about our giving.  It is a rare human being who is totally philanthropic – we all want some sort of return.  We all want to ‘feel’ that we have done something good, made a life better, given someone a chance, changed the world.


We need to also get this across to the smaller donor to make them feel like a major donor.  We must never leave them feeling that their £1 wasn’t worth very much, we need to show them that every £1 is worth a huge amount to our beneficiaries or cause.


So this is what I think and am using and saying in my everyday fundraising and world changing antics.


I think it is time to turn the pyramid on its head!


Every single donation to our charities is important from the £1 donation to the £1million + donation, as I said yesterday.  So how do we demonstrate this worth to our smaller donor so that they ‘feel’ that they have done something major?


Remember what I said yesterday about how by myself I am alone, with supporters we become a queue, then a crowd then a community.  Well this approach also lends itself to my new way of thinking regards the pyramid.


So here is my pyramid turned on its head – bear with me I know visually it doesn’t look much like a pyramid on here – scroll down to the £1 donor and then read upwards.


The benefits and changes we have effected for future generations – FOREVER.


The economic benefits to our country(ies)/the treasury: through improved education, families being supported, young people gaining employment, people staying in employment, improved health outcomes leading to reduced hospital visits, people being enabled to contribute back to their communities –  so much we could each list dependent on the work of our organisations.


The indirect beneficiaries, children, parents, wider family, friends, communities, employers, countries – that benefit from the work we have done with our direct beneficiaries.


The outcomes of our work for beneficiaries: improved lifestyles, improved chances, better education, increased employment opportunity, medical cures, better health, improved environment, and so on.


The direct beneficiaries of our work.


Charity/not for profit.


£1 donor



By turning the basic pyramid on its head we can demonstrate to every single donor that they are absolutely pivotal to our work, to our beneficiaries, to changing lives, and improving environments, to improving things for future generations, for changing the world – forever !


I think I am going to call this the ‘cumulative pyramid approach’ © Di Flatt Feb 2009


Every single one of my £1 donors is effecting change – and I for one am grateful for every single one of them.  Thank you!




Now in terms of being careful with resources – I read a funny piece recently in a book a friend bought me for Christmas.


The piece is titled ‘Why are there no fat insects?’


Well the reason there are no fat insects is that “insects actually have their skeletons on the outside so they simply can’t get fat.  The way insects are constructed doesn’t give them licence to overeat; having their skeletons on the outside means that if they do scoff too much they explode.  Not a pretty thought.” (Why Girls Can’t Throw, and other questions you’ve always wanted answered, Mitchell Symonds 2005)


This got me thinking about my fundraising expenditure budget – as I guess this is my ‘skeleton’.


In years where the economy has been kind to charities we have regularly expanded our budgets to do new and extra things to bring in income – certainly if I figured I could bring in more money than I was spending then I would do it.


But after reading the insect piece I am wondering if perhaps this year I really do need to stay within my ‘skeleton’ – do only the things we have planned in already and stay very carefully within my ‘skeleton’ budget.  It is certainly a question to ponder.


In this climate risk analysis of new and additional things needs very careful consideration, if we do anything that doesn’t bring in a good ROI then we will have wasted valuable staff time and resources.


Hence my current mantra is ‘focus on the money’ – my poor team are probably bored of hearing it.  But at the end of the day the only reason a fundraising team exists is to generate income to enable the charity to do the work it needs to do.


So I am not saying don’t do anything new per se – but if you do decide to push that ‘skeleton’ make sure you have done your risk analysis, test it, and focus on the money. 


I am certainly not going to be doing those things where in previous years I would have said, ‘well it won’t raise much money but will raise lots of awareness’.  No – this year is all about income generation.


So fundraisers


·         turn your pyramid upside down

·         consider staying within your ‘skeleton’


and remember every day to


  • ‘focus on the money’.


So have a good weekend, and I shall sign on once again next week with my next thoughts.


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.

Di x