Di Flatt's Blog

Fundraising in a recession – some of the challenges …
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.

Future challenges for fundraising

We are in turbulent times.  Changes that take place now may stay with us for many years or indeed change the face of fundraising forever in certain areas.

Whilst some organisations will just make the most of what they can at this time, for others the recession will really begin to clarify thinking.  Changes will be put in place that will lead to stronger, longer and more business like relationships between organisations (both charity and non charity) that may stay with us for the long term.

Following many discussions with my fundraising colleagues across the sector, there are certain things I feel we need to be very aware of:

Developing a fundraising ethos across the whole of our organisations, for example our procurement officers, building managers, service delivery departments – we need to be speaking to them about working with suppliers to our organisations as a source of support.  We already have a link with these organisations as purchasers of their services and goods.  Whilst often they may not be in a position to offer direct financial support this does not rule out charity of the year status and them undertaking some employee fundraising throughout the year, or indeed as a one off event.  Equally we could be advertising the charity events we are already doing to these groups.

Developing fundraising with younger people, it is imperative that we begin to reach younger people and to get them more involved in fundraising and charity support.  Some organisations are more suited to this on the large scale, such as the charities that can put on multiple mass participation events across the country (eg CRUK and Race for Life).  However smaller charities should also be looking to develop this type of thing on a local or regional basis.  A number of smaller charities working with a similar client base could work together to produce a series of mass participation events across the country thus building the brand and publicity of the event, taking it from being seen as local to national.

In the run up to 2012 and the Olympics young people will be thinking about sport.  So sport events aimed at the younger age group will hopefully prove successful.  We as charities need to capitalise on the events that are already happening around us and the Olympics is a prime example of something we should be tapping into as a resource for ideas.

Corporate support, is changing by the day right now. CSR has developed significantly over recent years but many charities do not seem to have taken this on board.  Particularly some of the smaller, regional charities.  We are in a recession and we need to build relationships with corporate organisations in a different way to how it has been approached previously.  CSR is no longer about philanthropy.  We need to be looking at this in terms of corporate engagement and not as pure fundraising.

Some charities I have spoken to still seem to be seeking funding and gifts in kind as their first option with corporates.  Yet this is the last thing the corporates I speak to are looking for right now.  They don’t have the budgets for donation giving any more.

It is important that charities take on board the corporate position and quickly.  If we do not change then we will risk ruining any chance of engagement with corporates as they will just begin (and some already do) their own charitable events and support things directly and not through current charities.

It is imperative that we look at what corporate organisations need.  They are not looking to just hand out funding any more.  We need to put things on a direct business to business relationship.  The things that corporates are looking for right now, and in this order are:

  • A fit with their corporate objectives.
  • A fit with their brand.
  • Staff involvement – good for morale and PR.
  • Networking.
  • Are we campaigning for the same or similar goals or objectives.
  • Charity of the year is still there, but the emphasis is on employee fundraising.
  • Match giving to events staff participate in – but again there is less of this at present and it is at the bottom of their preference list.

Only then will they look at gifts, direct funding etc.  We need to be building good strong business to business partnerships.  I think these types of partnerships will work better, and be stronger.  I also believe this will change the face of corporate fundraising for the long term – if this works well then why would the corporate wish to go back to the old way.

It is no longer a case of ‘what we want from you’ it is now a case of:

‘What can we do for each other?’ and ‘What can we achieve together?’

There will be more demand for co-branding recognition – corporates will want to be seen to be partnering with charities.

This may shift from being always the big well known charities to showing that they are willing to work with more local/regional or niche charities.  From discussions I have had with some corporates there is a perception that some of the big charities have enough income falling through the door each day, so perhaps it is time for them to spread their support at this time of economic downturn.

Of course being realistic this is likely to be just ‘talk’ as the corporates will still want to enjoy the biggest reach and publicity – but we need to be aware of this.

Corporates are currently inundated with requests so they are spoilt for choice – if we do not change ourselves to fit into their needs then we will most definitely lose out.

Trusts and Foundations, this is a difficult area and there is much discussion about this at the moment.

Most trusts use careful risk management to ensure that if investments go down that they can continue to undertake their work with charities.

However there is much talk about trusts tightening their belts and some (even larger trusts) only continuing to give to those charities they have already committed to supporting.

From experience trusts will say this to attempt to limit the number of requests, so we should not be discouraged from at least approaching them.  However, we absolutely must go in with a very tailored approach to each trust.

The days of scatter gun approaches is long gone.  Applications must be targeted and strong, closely fitting the trust’s criteria and showing how the work requiring funding will bring about positive change.

I have seen a number of small trusts disappear this summer, certainly my own budget is missing around £30k to £40k of funding from long term funders.  Most of this is due to those trusts having to close due to the economy.

Also trusts are leaning towards supporting sustainability right now and not new developments.  Charities with decent reserves are not being funded so will become less secure themselves as time goes on.

Legacies, although some legacy income is reduced due to property sales etc being down. I believe this remains a strong area for growth.

It is not current money so people can feel secure with their day to day finances and still feel good about doing something for their charity(ies) by adding them to their will.  We need to capitalise on this.

People will not stop dying so we ignore the legacy market at our peril.  Particularly for older people who will have budget concerns right now, most especially those who rely on interest on savings etc – their charitable giving may go down – but they may be happy to transfer that life giving into a legacy.

Individual giving, in direct contrast to what I have said above – I have seen a couple of large donations to our appeals this last couple of months from quite elderly supporters who feel they should give it now and not wait – as the charity needs it now.

This is a real reflection as to how turbulent things are right now. We cannot second guess the donor.  I guess the one thing we must all remember right now is that it is never about us – it is all about the donor.

Many charities get this wrong and will continue to push the charity story – this is what we have to change.  We have to look at every individual donor (be they an individual person, a trust, a company) and look at what it is that they are seeking and develop our offerings, stories, requests around that.

It brings us right back to those wise words of ‘win –win’.  Win-win solutions are the key right now.

So what can you do?  Now this is the tough bit.  We cover all these things at conferences and at national convention – but I sometimes wonder if people really hear it.  I have suggested to the Institute of Fundraising that perhaps a series of ‘how to’ sheets could be developed.  A ‘how to fundraise in a recession’ series perhaps.

Finally – technology  is changing by the day – we are all (well many of us) now using twitter and facebook etc fairly well.  But next comes google wave – and if you haven’t read up on this then you need to.

Things are changing so quickly.  We need to be working out how we use all this technology to reach all our donors and most especially the younger donors.

Well guys – these are my thoughts for today!  Send me your thoughts and ideas and stories on the challenges we are all facing right now (to diannemflatt@hotmail.com ) and I will use them in the next piece.

Take care of yourselves – think outside of the usual boxes – and remember we will all meet failure on the way to success!

My big idea – I know some of you will be waiting for an update on ‘my next big thing’  – well hang in there.  A few meetings to go and things to organise and then all can be revealed.


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


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.


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.
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

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.


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?


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’.

@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

@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.
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?

@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


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!


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

Jay Khan (Hollyoaks’ Ash Roy) supports National Doodle Day…


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 has arrived guys


Its National Doodle DayTM

Friday 27 February 2009

Celebrity auction now live online


For your chance to bid for one of this year‘s fantastic celebrity doodles check out our online auction now!  

Hundreds of celebrities are taking part in National Doodle DayTM, to raise money for Epilepsy Action and the Neurofibromatosis Association. Doodles by the likes of Sophie Dahl, Jonathan Ross and Heston Blumenthal are being auctioned on eBay in aid of National Doodle DayTM now!

A host of famous names from the worlds of fashion, entertainment, sport and literature have put pen to paper.

Bidders will be able to choose from countless celebrity doodles, including those from: 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 and Diana Rigg; award-winning film director and creator of Wallace and Gromit Nick Park; survival expert Bear Grylls; and comedy actors Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg.

The eBay auction begins today and runs for 10 days. People can also vote for their favourite by text. Details of how to do this can be found on the National Doodle DayTMwebsite www.nationaldoodleday.org.uk



2009 will be the sixth year of National Doodle DayTM and we hope to build on the £160,000 raised so far.


For tomorrow I wish lots and lots of luck to the two big National Doodle DayTM events taking place, at Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield and Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness.


We are very pleased that Jay Khan (Hollyoaks) is representing the celebrity doodlers and signing autographs at the Meadowhall event between 1pm and 2pm on Saturday 28 February 2009.  So a huge thank you to Jay.


Please forward this to as many people as you know and help make this year’s National Doodle DayTM the most successful yet!


All funds raised by National Doodle DayTM go towards the work of the two charities Epilepsy Action, registered charity in England (No. 234343) and The Neurofibromatosis Association, registered charity in England (No. 1078790).


Well I promised to tell you more about our trip yesterday and the shenanigans of the wayward satnav!

Well as I don’t have much time today (my team and are all running around dealing with lots of doodle doings) – so this will be a short story.


As I said yesterday, myself and two more of the Yorkhshire IoF Committee were trying out potential venues for the inaugural two day residential conference we are planning for Yorkshire and the North in February 2010.  We firstly went to Ilkley followed by Skipton, and then needed to get across to Ravenscarr nestled between Whitby and Scarborough (to see the hotel I discussed yesterday that rather stretched its own imagination when it came to advertising itself as a conference venue – you remember now, yes that’s the one !).


Well as you can imagine, as we were trying to fit this all into one day, we were rather tight on time.  So after we had spent the morning checking out the Ilkley and Skipton hotels, my trusted committee colleague doing the driving tapped the hotel address into the well used and trustee satnav and we set off from Skipton to head out towards the coast.


We were happily bimbling along enjoying the lovely rural views, and chattering away about the various venues we had seen and how we could (or not) work the conference around the spaces they had available.


After a while we began to realise the roads we were following were in fact becoming more and more rural as we drove along, not a motorway in sight!  Not even the A64.  We thought about turning around, but unsure of exactly where we were we figured it was best to keep on trusting the satnav and keep on going.


The road got narrower and narrower and the inclines and falls got steeper.  We passed fields of sheep, and chicken coops, and some beautiful tiny villages.  I was busily trying to check my emails using my phone but found we had no signal whatsoever!


We came upon a shooting party with around ten land rovers, lots of flat caps and guns slung over the shoulder filling up the road ahead of us.  Once we managed to pass them we continued up hills and down dales through the most beautiful scenery – it was certainly an enjoyable drive.


Well of course as fundraisers we are full of belief that we will always reach where we need to be so we held on to our trust of the satnav and kept on going.  Through village after village, following every tiny back road there must be across the North Yorkshire Moors.


It seems that we had chosen the shortest route on the satnav rather than the fastest route.  So perhaps a more direct, shorter route, it actually took us a lot longer to drive.  We did get to the hotel in the end as you know, but more of a late afternoon arrival than straight after lunch as we had planned.


So is there a moral to this story?  Hmmnn well you can plan ahead but sometimes however careful you have been things will work against you anyway, the best advice I can give is don’t panic.  Stay calm, make adjustments if you can, but make sure that you enjoy the ride anyway and hang on to your self belief that you will get there in the end…


This is me signing off for the working week and looking forward to the shopping trip with my sister tomorrow, so have a great weekend 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