Di Flatt's Blog

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