Di Flatt's Blog

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.


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

Good Sunday Morning…..

Di Flatt

Di Flatt

Good morning.
What a beautiful day it looks to be so far.
Well I am just saying hi and then leaving you, as not having a computer day today – need to give self the day off I think in prep for returning to the office tomorrow.

Bronchitis not really quite gone but feeling heaps better. Used the bathmat 🙂 and she is really happy, a little damp and squidgy around the edges but clearly more fulfilled and thus serving her rightful purpose as Sue said she should.

Well I am going to have coffee and toast and then watch Andrew Marr on Sunday morning, catch up on any current affairs I have missed through the week.

So have a good sunday, and lets catch up soon.


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

Di x

Thought for the day – never deny yourself your need for inner fulfilment….

Di Flatt

Di Flatt

Good morning, hmmnnn well yes it is still morning just about. Have had a very lazy start to the day. Bronchitis still visiting, but definitely feeling a little better. However now have the most beautiful blood shot left eye !! Now this is either due to all the coughing or due to my leaving my contact lens in too long……

Well have just been picking up emails and have been told off by one of my friends re my lovely new bathmat. Apparently bath mats are not supposed to be receiving ‘royal treatment’ in fact her words were ‘for heaven’s sake, use the bath mat! That’s its destiny and you’re denying it a chance of inner fulfilment!’

So now I feel quite guilty, poor thing has been living here over a week and has just been moved from bath to sink, to floor (on thursday) back to the bath and sink manouevres (have I spelt that right ? My friend Paul will let me know, he is an excellent proof reader and a self proclaimed ‘I cannot help myself but point it out to you’ man. In fact he just sent me an email saying ‘sorry for pointing out mistakes’! But hey sometimes I type so fast I shall miss my own mistakes so Paul – keep on proofing, you can be my editor).

So I am about to go take quick shower before going shopping to buy new woolly hat to keep warm against this windy weather so am going to take a running jump (metaphorically speaking) and use the bathmat for its actual purpose – because how could I deny the poor (beautiful) thing it’s ‘chance of inner fulfilment’.

I guess that would be like denying me from being a fundraiser and blue sky thinker – I would be miserable. I can’t be having a miserable bath mat – she would soon stop being beautiful.

So thank you Sue for pointing that out. It is a lesson for us all – to not deny ourselves our inner fulfilment – we would only become less beautiful!

So bath mat get ready to be fulfilled. Bye for now, enjoy your saturday, be back soon.


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

Day three of Di Flatt’s blog – Credit Crunch and Tea Bags
Di Flatt

Di Flatt

Good morning everyone! Oh and before we start today thought I would mention, this is my personal blog so always remember that these are my views and thoughts not those of my charity. I will mention my charity now and then of course and if you know us, donate to or support us then that is fantastic – and I thank you for that. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear. So here we go, back to me…

Well firstly, lets get the update on the bronchitis out of the way. 4.52 am was wide awake, coughing and choking and listening to the morning chorus of the birds in the trees outside my window. One little feathery chap right by my window was clearly sympathetic to my bronchitis and was joining in, chirruping away, each time I coughed. We had a real bark, bark, tweet, tweet chorus going on. His solo was definitely prettier than mine. Hmmnn wonder if I can actually cough in tune – where’s that application form for the next Britain’s Got Talent.

Yesterday I thought was getting better, but then speaking to my deputy last night to catch up on work, well let’s just say that my coughing throughout the conversation brought a whole new meaning to ‘barking down the phone’, sorry dear! I did suggest going back into the office today, but the response from my esteemed colleague was ‘if you come in I am staying at home’. So here I am, still at home, still ill, and keeping my germs to myself.

So fundraising….. shall we jump in at the deep end ?


I guess we are all working hard to maximise our charities’ resources right now. Certainly at this time of economic gloom and the words ‘credit crunch’ in the news on a daily basis, my team are constantly reviewing and updating fundraising activities.

We know that some areas of fundraising will be more pressured and are aware of the risk of income being lower. However we know that our helpline, advice and information services and website need to continue to support people living with epilepsy and their families.

I am personally keeping up with the financial news daily as we cannot afford to be complacent. Budgets are tight and targets stretching – but we need to remain brave and stay alert. This is a time where relationship fundraising is going to be key to our daily plans. My advice would be – don’t keep churning out the same old same old appeals and letters. I think it is time to think outside your charity. Think relationships, think customer services.

In fact think about the best customer service experience you have had – and then look at whether your charity is providing the same level of service to your ‘customers’.

My personal number one for customer service is first direct (and yes I know it’s a bank and right now some of us are not very happy with the banking world, however credit where credit is due – if you can pardon the pun!).

Do you know that if you go onto their ‘our services’ page and don’t click on anything after a short period a pop up window appears saying ‘We’re here to help you’ and inviting you to click and be immediately through to ‘chat live’ and have your questions answered by a real person. Ok so I may be a bit of a geek but I think that is pretty cool.

Anyway you see the page for yourself : http://www.firstdirect.com/ourservices/

I particularly like the line:

‘Your call will always be answered by a person in the UK – we’re here day and night’.

You see, they state clearly that they will always be there for us, when we need them, yes when WE need them, not when they want to be open. They deliver on their promises regarding customer service.

first direct of course won the Customer Focus Award at the National Business Awards because of the way it keeps its customers at the heart of its business and tailors the way it works to meet their needs. Their chief executive said (after they won the award) they ‘will continue to put the customer first, bringing them innovative products, good value, and technology that works’.

So are you getting my gist here….?

This is what we need to be doing too! Delivering excellent customer service and developing our relationship fundraising.

Treat every donor like a major donor. We all say every £1 counts – and it does – and this means that every donor counts too. From the £1 donor to the £1million donor – every single person giving to your charity is making a personal choice to do so. Our part in this relationship is to make sure we are personal back. Make it personal, if we go the extra mile so will our supporters. Remember to give is to receive!

So give to your donors and supporters and they will give back to you, ensuring we can all continue the work needed by our clients and beneficiaries.

I guess reciprocity is the key word here. Oh and this reminds me of a chum of mine and tea bags! Yes that’s right – tea bags.

Now I am a coffee drinker, but I do generally keep a supply of teabags in the back of the cupboard. But I have a friend who drinks a particular brand of tea. Now when he first popped in for a cuppa I automatically offered him coffee, he said ‘no thanks I drink tea’. So I dug out my box of tea bags and yes he turned his nose up, and ended up having a glass of water.

Now (and here’s the fundraiser bit) each time he came round I could have kept on pushing ‘my brand’ at him – but he wouldn’t have drank it, and would probably have eventually stopped ‘popping in for a cuppa’. BUT I like this friend so I bought some of his favourite tea. By providing ‘his brand’ he keeps on calling in for a cuppa – and guess what, last time I popped in to see him he had bought coffee to give to me. So you see reciprocity is the key. Giving and then receiving – it works every time.

So sometimes, as fundraisers we may need to think and go a little ‘off brand’ to ensure we are giving our donors and supporters what they want. Scary isn’t it.

But every time you are scared just think: TEA BAGS !!!

Go on say it out loud ‘tea bags, tea bags, tea bags’. Well it works for me.

Give your donors and supporters what they want and they will give back to you and will keep on coming back. Your brand is the dialogue you have with your supporters after all.

Remember ‘changing the world’ starts with you. For my charity, myself I stand alone, but with supporters behind me I become a queue, then a crowd, then a community – a community working together to give support and effect change for people living with epilepsy.

This reminds me of our website http://www.epilepsy.org.uk . Based in Leeds, a UK charity, ranked first most visited epilepsy site in Europe, and third in the World. Now that is some community.

Oh and by the way, am doing slightly better on the bathroom geek front. Have actually put the pretty bath mat on the floor today (do see previous post if you can’t keep up). Did a little dance around it to go brush my teeth earlier, no didn’t stand on it, I stepped around it. But come on, at least it is now on the floor. Of course if get visitors will hang it over the bath again. Did look into the wall hanging option, but figure the no nails glue might damage the tiles.

So this is me signing off for now, back soon to talk about major donors, pyramids, and turning it all on its head.


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 two in this new game of words….
February 18, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: charity, not for profit, Third Sector | Tags: , , , ,

Di Flatt

Di Flatt

So today I am still ill with bronchitis, the third day off work and I am starting to get a little frayed around the edges – don’t pull any threads as it will only get worse. I even watched Jeremy Kyle this morning….. young couple getting dna results on their child, results proved child wasn’t his but they loved each other anyway and are staying together – it almost brought a tear to my eyes ! And was an excellent reminder that I prefer being in the office !!! So note to self is ‘get well soon’.

Very disappointed that being ill has meant missing the Brit Awards official after party at Embassy tonight. Such a shame as sure I would have looked just fine in the two page OK spread they are doing for next month’s issue…. Get the mag and just imagine me in the pictures is all I can suggest. Well me coming off the guest list will have meant some other lovely person will be able to go – there you go, my giving moment for the day.

Anyway, decided today there are some benefits in being at home, for example NICE coffee is good, and had a lovely piece of steak for my lunch. However a little lesson for you – when you have a pack of something that says ‘not suitable for microwave’ BELIEVE THEM…… I didn’t but I do now. No it wasn’t the lovely little garlic jacket potatoes that sparked a fire, it was the tray they were in – yes clearly I had a blonde moment there (I can say that being a natural blonde!) – BUT the benefit of this little moment is that I do now know the smoke alarm works very well…..

So my day continued. Been on twitter quite a bit and think might have become addicted – just need to work out how it is going to help me change the world into a better place……

Had a run in with my new bath mat – it is just too pretty to stand on, so it now lives on the side of the bath and when had bath this morning I moved it to sit on the sink. Used a towel instead to stand on, and then when self and floor all dried again, hung the mat back on the side of the bath…… Have I become a bathroom geek or what. What use is a bathmat that I am not going to stand on. Can you have wall hangings in the bathroom I wonder – perhaps I can start a new trend.

I also learned to change a fuse today, after blowing the lights when changing a light bulb. So there you go, a new string to my bow.

Well I promise that soon I shall talk more about the world of fundraising, and changing the world but for now whilst being stuck at home with the bronchitis you are getting nothing but my nonsense.

oh dear, now there goes another thread……. let me come back to work !!
signing off for now, hope you had a great day.


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

Di Flatt’s Blog …. day one of words…

Well this is Di Flatt, starting out on a new journey of words. Luckily I love words and so shall enjoy sharing them with you. For now let me share my current favourite string of words…… “duplicitous deceit deems definite disasters” …. something for everyone to consider every day. Honesty and transparency will always win the day – every time……. back soon Di x