Di Flatt's Blog


#proudfundraiser

This blog was first shown at http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/blog/proudfundraiser

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We are, this year, celebrating #proudfundraiser. And people sometimes ask, who and what are we as fundraisers? What do we do? Well we raise the money that pays for all the important work charities undertake.

There are many types of fundraiser. From the on street face to face fundraiser, to trust fundraisers writing specialised grant applications, to corporate fundraisers developing partnerships with business, event fundraisers organising small and huge events, major donor fundraisers working with wealthy individuals, special events fundraisers organising balls and gala dinners, to community fundraisers, legacy fundraisers and more.

We raise money from all kinds of fundraising. From running events, to appeal letters, telephone calls and through on street face to face requests. From parachute jumps, to dress down days, to coffee mornings, raffles and growing moustaches. Sponsor forms, mailings, direct debits, cheques and thank you notes. We are pretty busy!

And to direct a fundraising team you need knowledge of all the different types of fundraising AND the skill set to implement all the different methods within each one. Phew!

For me, I know that being a #proudfundraiser is only possible because of my very wide ranging skill set. So as I was thinking about writing this, I began listing the things I need to know about and be expert in to be a fundraising director in 2014.

Direct marketing. Social media. Trading. Product design. Sports events. Gala dinners. Tribute funds. Restricted funds. Management accounts. Forecasting. Legacy management. Payroll giving. Recycling. Charitable trusts. Corporate partnerships. Cause related and affiliate marketing. Gambling Commission. Charity Commission. Fundraising Standards Board. Institute of Fundraising Code. PFRA. Home money boxes. Telemarketing. Charity shops. Web design. Risk assessments. Public liability insurance. Due diligence. Membership schemes. Gift aid. Donor benefits. Appeals. Newsletters. Collection tins. SEO and PPC. PR. Recruitment. Strategy. Business Planning. Key performance indicators. Current affairs. Return on investment. Customer service. Staff morale. Investment in people. The fundraising promise. VAT. Third Sector. Civil Society. Fast moving technology! Age cohorts. Target markets. Audience geography and demography. Rapport. Diversity and equality. Databases and spreadsheets. Public speaking. Presentations. Representing our charities as ambassadors. My actual list is much longer!

So #proudfundraiser I think we should remind ourselves of just how complex and professional a role we play.

Every fundraiser is integral to the work a charity does. Everything costs money. Staff, equipment, buildings, power, travel, services. Computers, databases, paper and pens. And we have to raise money to make all these things be possible, and to make all the necessary work happen.

And as we talk or write to all the people who generously donate money or take part in events we have lots and lots of conversations. So we don’t only focus on the money. We focus on why the money is needed.

We focus on the end result – the impact and the outcomes that can be achieved.

We care about and focus on the positive difference that can be made to the world because of the generosity of donors and supporters.

We show how through the money we raise we are seeking cures and coping strategies for Epilepsy, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases and conditions.

We show how we are saving lives, creating happier futures, and looking after the environment. We show how we are protecting animals, bees, whales, trees and rainforests.

And we show how we are making positive changes every day for people like you and people like me.

My job is complex and difficult, and I love it. I know that as #proudfundraisers we are using our skills to achieve some great things.

And what I am really proud about is that instead of using our skills to generate profit for commercial companies we CHOOSE to put our skills, expertise and abilities to use to deliver outcomes within the charity sector.

We are NOT here because we can’t be anywhere else. We have as much intellect and skill as doctors, nurses, solicitors and lawyers – but our calling in life is to be passionate about making life better for other people, animals and environments.

And we HAVE to be good at what we do, because it’s not about profit to make the fat cat richer, it’s often a matter of life and death. Failure is not an option.

I am proud of what I do, and of what my fundraising team and organisation does. Fundraising enables my charity, Epilepsy Action, to achieve better outcomes for people with epilepsy.

As fundraisers we carry a huge responsibility – but with high personal reward and affirmation of contributing to a better world.

So I wanted to finish by saying THANK YOU #proudfundraiser.

You are amazing and you have vision. You are prepared to be innovative and you want to change the world for the better – and you do, with every generous gift and donation you achieve.

Each and every fundraiser has chosen to be in the sector. And that’s really something to be proud of.

You are the world’s change-makers – and I as just one #proudfundraiser thank you for that!

Di Flatt
#ProudFundraiser
@diflatt

Download the #proudfundraiser toolkit here: http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/proudfundraiser/proud-toolkit/

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Is this going to be the Next Big Thing, New Big Idea, or indeed The Next ‘Wristband’? I shall not yet give you its name – but it is coming…

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.

I have had the busiest few weeks since the IoF National Convention – which it has to be said was the best yet in mine and many others’ opinions. A lot of hard work and energy combined with fun and laughter took place across the three days. Fundraisers and suppliers from across the sector came together to share ideas, breakthroughs, problems and concerns – alongside award winning work celebrated at the National Fundraising Awards Dinner.

Whilst this was all happening around me I felt my usual buzz of ideas constantly bubbling through me. One idea that had been forming for a few weeks flickered through my mind again and again fizzing like bubbles in a champagne flute to the top of my thoughts. I eventually shared this idea with a couple of my most trusted fundraising colleagues and was delighted they too thought this idea was one that could really take off.

I have been working on this Next Big Thing every day ever since – perhaps sometimes only for half an hour here and there. I have a note pad and pen beside my bed for those middle of the night thoughts that need to be captured before they are lost – and some of these have proven so far to be the best ones!

So this brings me to today or should I say tonight.

Here I am heading rapidly towards my Next Big Thing, experiencing a rollercoaster of terrifying yet exciting waves of emotion as I move this forward day by day, week by week.

Next week I am meeting with a potential supplier, mindful that this could potentially revolutionise his relatively small business – is he prepared for that? Indeed is he the right supplier?

I am meeting with people from a national magazine to discuss potential photo shoots – for which I need people of suitable celebrity status! There are so many things and so many people to organise and enthuse.

Currently, and I really do mean currently here right now this evening at my own dining table, I am drawing up ‘commercially in confidence’ contractual agreements for all concerned parties. Everything will be embargoed until we go live!

I am filled with fear as to whether I can pull this off – yet full of bravery and perhaps bravado that yes of course, I can and will make this happen. However time is short and I feel that I would like to have a couple of extra available days each week. It is so hard to have to rely on so many other people.

I have booked some annual leave – yet I know I will fill these days with discussions and meetings to progress the idea further. So many meetings need to take place yet.

As part of this I will be working with another charity; at least one magazine and perhaps two, my supplier, an events company and at least one large club. Next job is to seek meetings with potential merchandise outlets.

Three fifteen am this morning I awoke thinking – is this the right supplier? I have to get this right.

Absolutely I have to get this right – not only for my charity and the charity I have decided to partner with. But also for other charities across the sector.

I have once again employed that most necessary concept of K.I.S.S.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

This Next Big Thing is simple enough to ripple throughout the sector. Simple and with a ready target market. A market already willing and able to participate.

I have adrenalin running through my veins and my head is buzzing with ideas around how this could really work so well.

For now I need to complete this paperwork. Keep noting down on paper the constant stream of ideas and options. And maybe have some sleep.

More phone calls and planning tomorrow.

I feel as if I have told you nothing. All I can say for now is WATCH THIS SPACE.

The NEXT BIG THING is coming.

As you have heard me say before – never ever focus on the dark but switch on your lights. Play big, serve the world, and give others permission to do the same. Keep on giving and we will keep on receiving. 

Take care, goodnight and I shall tell you all more 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



Flexing your brand – how far do you go? Or do you not flex at all?

Di FlattHi everyone

As ever, before we start today, do remember this is my personal blog and so 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, lets talk about fundraising.

Well I finally found some time and space to write a new piece. I thought I would write about brands following my speaking at the IoF Brand Positioning for Successful Fundraising last week.

Brands are funny things. Much needed but as Kevin Kibble recently said to me on twitter, ‘if customers have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it!’, and he is so right. The best brands out there in the commercial world, do we think about their ‘brand’? No of course we don’t – we just know it. We recognise them, we have immediate feelings about them (good or bad) and we know what they are about.

There are those who get it wrong of course. We have all experienced those adverts that leave us thinking ‘what was that all about’, and ‘what were they actually advertising’. Indeed when organisations have spent so much money and time on advertising one can only hope they manage to get their concept and values across to the audience they are pitching to.

Perhaps those we ‘don’t get’ are just the ones that were never being pitched at us in the first place!

But to me the essence of a brand is what we feel about it. You only need to think about perfume and handbags (sorry boys but I am a girl!). When advertisers are selling these to us they don’t pitch us a logo and a service now do they.

Imagine if they did. Well I just know my favourite perfumes just would not have the same allure if they were in plain glass bottles with just a logo, and perhaps someone telling me it will make me smell better.

No indeed it wouldn’t – I like the pretty bottle, the nice packaging, the way the advert shows me it is for desirable and attractive women, drawing me into the ‘world’ of the perfume wearer. I want the whole concept of how that perfume is taking me somewhere prettier, happier, and more luxurious. This all goes to my experience and enjoyment of purchasing it and wearing it.

Could you sell me a handbag that was merely a receptacle that carried my things from a to b? Or could you sell me the experience of luxury, a lifestyle that goes with that, and the knowledge that when I carry that handbag I am living that lifestyle.

Ok – I accept this sounds a little dreamy and extreme perhaps – but is this not how luxury goods are sold to us all. One only has to think of top high quality cars – which ones do you aspire to?

Charity giving is another luxury – something we think about and choose, at an emotional level, to spend our money on. But this time we don’t go away with that luxury perfume, gorgeous handbag, Porsche or Ferrari. What we do get is to feel is that through giving our gift we have played a part in effecting change on the world.

Every single donor to our causes has thought about what he is about to do, whether it is £1 or £1million. Every £1 or £1million given is ensuring that work is undertaken to make something happen. But first we have to ensure that we have given that potential donor a cause brand that will draw them in to the experience – and is that the same kind of branding for every potential donor?

Now some of you who know me well know that I have particular views on charity branding. It is important, hugely important – but so many of us become a little too entrenched in the ‘logo and service’ idea of a brand.

In the commercial world they are ‘selling’ us something tangible that we can take away with us, so it is imperative that they sell us something we actually want. However what I wanted two years ago may not be what I want today, and indeed not what I want in another two years time. The world changes, I change, my needs and preferences change. These things change constantly. In the past five to ten years how much change has there been.

Just looking at the world of handbags and perfume (I know I can’t help it) – how many new perfumes and bag designs have there been to ensure we keep on buying them. Well I am not going to ask you to count, lets just say a lot. The same with cars, the designs and models change all the time. Becoming more modern each year, following new trends, keeping up with what the various customers across their target markets are looking for.

The commercial world stays constantly innovative and fluid, their ‘brands’ staying in the public eye, but everything about them always moving with the trends of the day and the audience they are talking to. Their logo may stay the same for a period of time, but their ‘brand’ is always on the move.

So would it be right for us as charities to offer exactly the same ‘brand’ to every single donor, grant giver, corporate partner that we work with? No of course it wouldn’t. Alongside our logo and name we should keep ourselves moveable and innovative ensuring we offer the right picture of ourselves relevant to the audience we are talking to.

 Your brand is a set of ideas, images, and associations that people carry around in their heads about you and your charity
 it is more than just a logo
 it is an expression of who you are and what you do,

So if we think about brands at a personal level for a moment, and if your brand is an expression of you, then what is your brand?

I would say my brand changes all the time, dependent on what I am doing, where I am, who I am with, and the results I want to achieve.

Perhaps you could think of yourself:
 In the workplace.
 On holiday.
 At home.

These are just three small examples of where you may choose to be quite ‘different’ in your appearance and approach – but the essence of you, your values, what people feel about you will always essentially remain the same. The only thing that doesn’t change is your face (so is your face your logo?). For every occasion you will change your appearance and the things you say to fit your audience. You may wear many different outfits this week dependent on where you are going and who you are seeing.

FLEX YOUR BRAND

So my challenge to you is to think carefully about your charity’s brand, your charity’s face. Are you using it to best advantage, are you fluid and moveable and flexing your outward appearance to ensure that you relate to the audience you are speaking to. Flex your brand – it is the only way to ensure you engage appropriately with the vast number of target audiences you will have. Don’t remain entrenched and static – change as your audience changes. How many outfits does your charity need to wear this week dependent on the different funding audiences you are going to have?

TWITTER DISCUSSIONS ON BRANDING

Well I asked a couple of questions about brands to colleagues and friends using twitter over the last couple of days. Some of these people you may recognise and I thought you would enjoy seeing the results.
I have put the person’s twitter name then their ‘tweet’.

QUESTION ONE:
@DiFlatt If you were a brand, what would you be? In five words.

@DiFlatt Effecting change for good forever.
@DiFlatt Caring for others comes first.
@kevinkibble if your ‘customers’ have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it! A wise man once said.
@markyphillips Hi Di. heard good reports about your IOF branding pres.
@Ben_Jarelbo Boring but all I could come up with is: WISHES HE COULD DO MORE.
@Ben_Jarelbo A favourite uncle
@RubberSoulBand erm – I’m no great at all that – the only thing that springs to mind is our tagline which is The SouthEast’s Premier Function Band
@BobbyLlew OMG that’s tough. “CarPool, interesting in car conversations.” Any good?
@causeperfect Existing brand – Asics wd be ever so aspirational especially 4 strapline :o) But Catalyst wd be the one I’d instinctively choose

QUESTION TWO:
@DiFlatt What is your favourite brand of all time?

@Ben_Jarelbo My favourite brand of all time? ……. Casio. I used to buy their gadget watches all the time.
@DiFlatt Casio is good as by constantly having new gadgets it made you attentive and purchase – just like fundraisers must.
@Causeperfect my favourite brand of all time has to be Apple
@DiFlatt Apple is good as constantly innovates keeping our attention so we always look forward to what next – like fundraisers must.
@kevinkibble Black Sheep or Harley D!
@DiFlatt hmmnnn I rather like the Harley D as it is attention grabbing, expedient, and gets you from a to b – like fundraisers must !
@jasonslater favourite brand? So many to choose from but it has be a close call between Google and Subway
@DiFlatt ah now Subway is a good one – as they give you what you want not something they already packaged just as fundraisers must do.
@mennard
fav Brand …..well Coca Cola I guess and if I were a brand it would be Yorkshire Tea …if I was an image Angel of The North
@DiFlatt Angel of the North is good, memorable, iconic and instantly recognisable – just like charity brands must be. [though good as an image it is immoveable and unchangeable so doesn’t work on all the levels we need to in terms of fundraising]
@arianneross i know! nikon! 😀
@DiFlatt Nikon is good as it is known across the globe for doing great things – just like the best charities are.
@RoxyMartinique Marmite – but you’ll either love or hate the idea
@DiFlatt Marmite‘s good because love it or hate it there’s an instant response leading to direct action – like the best fundraising!
@amandasanter Nike – ethics aside, they understand the consumer and their connection with sport and how we think about ourselves and our goals.
@DiFlatt Nike’s good as their understanding of customers and their goals means they lead their field – just like fundraisers must.
@amandasanter Also insight into customer needs and motivations vital as per Maslow and @Markyphillips blog http://bit.ly/WbfnD – all about people
@DiFlatt Yes and to their aspirations. We all aspire to something, to be better, to do better, to effect change.

@arianneross what’s your fave brand of all time? 🙂
@DiFlatt my favourite brand of all time is One Water simple, life changing, and forever! I aspire!
@causeperfect absolutely! Great innovator, great sense of showmanship and above all else fun! Good basic ingredients for fundraising, eh?

QUESTION THREE
@DiFlatt Branding ? If you could only wear one outfit (inc accessories) for the next ten years what would it be? Would you lose the essence of you?

@Ben_Jarelbo I’m just a plain & simple GEORGE kind of guy.
@DiFlatt and would you still be you if you wore the same GEORGE for the next ten years? Brands need to be moveable, changeable, usable.
@Ben_Jarelbo Oh! Outfit. I misread it. Can’t see it applies to men. Most would happily wear the same thing forever. Or until SHE says otherwise.
@DiFlatt (smile) yes outfit – the one same unchangeable outfit for ten years. Could you live with that in all situations? I think not.

@Mennard suit……predictable …
@DiFlatt the same suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes for ten years.! A brand that wouldn’t be good for the beach or for swimming hey?
@Mennard the brand says that I dont get any free time !
@DiFlatt Indeed. Difficult to relax in a suit.
@Mennard smile …it was your question ..otherwise its white T-shirts and shorts and sandals otherwise !
@DiFlatt I know, am doing blog on branding and want to show how unrealistic it is to have a totally unchangeable brand, using selves as eg.
@Mennard I remember I put in angel of the north last night all that effort and you have forgotten me !
@DiFlatt no I haven’t, have already put Angel of the North in. That was different question.
@DiFlatt yesterday’s question was – if you were a brand, what would you be (smiley smiley).
@Mennard ok it was …I agree 😉

@DebboDebbo jeans and slightly fancy cardi – can be worn with flat or high shoes and dressed up or down with accessories
@DiFlatt hi, no change of accessories or shoes. The point is, being stuck with one immoveable unchangeable brand does not work for you.
@DebboDebbo i couldn’t do it-even if u don’t realize u express yrself by change of jewellery, bag, shoes-even hairstyle
@DiFlatt the point exactly ! No Brand should be unchangeable as you wouldn’t be expressing the essence of yourself – or your charity.
@DebboDebbo Yep, just like real life

MY CONCLUSION

Your charity, your brand – how you picture it, talk about it, and frame it has to be dependent on the audience you are currently talking to. Your brand needs to be fluid, moveable and accessible as well as memorable.

Memorable is no longer enough!

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. YOUR GIVING COUNTS!
Di x



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

 

CREDIT CRUNCH

 

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.

 

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.  YOUR GIVING COUNTS!

Di x

 

 

 

 

 



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



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