Keeping up the momentum after International Women’s Day

InternationalWomensDay-portraitInternational Women’s Day is a fantastic day for celebration, campaigning and catalytic change. I’ve had an inspiring day, collecting sanitary products for organisations such as Bloody Good Period and Foodbanks, eating feminist cakes (such as these brilliant ‘simply the breast’ and ‘cupcats’ and reading about inspirational women; celebrating them for everything they have done and continue to do for women worldwide.

I’ve put together some ideas of ways you can continue to support women after this International Women’s Day.

Support, Protect and Fight

Women’s Centres and refuges are shutting down across the UK, women only services are disproportionately affected by the government cuts. Find your local service and strive to protect it. Whether that’s fundraising, volunteering your time, or becoming a regular donor, these small organisations will really appreciate your support.

Live in London; why not support the West Hampstead Women’s Centre?

Let’s get political

The Suffragettes would’ve never made headway without the Suffragists also campaigning and creating change in the way that they believed in. If you feel enthused by your International Women’s Day activities then why not join the Women’s Equality Party? They’ve also just started their new campaign, Feminism 5.0 #FifthWave – sign up now to hear more about it. Already a member of a political party? Well, chances are they have a gender problem, so why not create change within the party?

Or want to stay out of political parties? The Fawcett Society are still continuing the great work of the brilliant suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, so why not become a member?

Listen, React, Share

Listen to other women, hear those diverse voices. If they need something from you, react to it, embrace it. See something that inspires you, enrages you, and warms your angry feminist heart? Share it, create conversation, don’t be a bystander. Be inclusive, not exclusive and check your privilege every day.

Feminist Media

Support independent feminist media, maybe become part of the Beehive and subscribe to Bitch magazine? Art has always been a place of revolution, of change, a space to fight, to shout and to be heard. Support and share feminist art; from Pussy Riot to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; don’t be afraid to stand for the rights of all women and always be assured there will always be a collective to protect you from the trolls.


Charity Sector

Charity WomenIf you work in the charity sector and would like to fight the existing inequalities in the sector (you can read my blog about it here) then I would recommend joining Charity Women and be a force for change.

There’s so much more you can do, from clicktivism to pounding the pavement, find what works for you. Women have been written out of history, only occupying around 0.5% of recorded history, let’s not allow that erasure to continue.




From Willies to Murder: Innovation in the sector

Innovation is a big buzz word at the moment and something the sector talks about a lot but are we ever really doing it?

There are a few campaigns I’ve seen lately that I think are interesting and worth reading about – some of them I would say are innovative and others I think are a step in the right direction. What do you think?

Treat, are pioneers in income generation; they’ve understood that the sector is treatchanging and there’s a space to find new ways to generate financial support.

From their extremely successful Charity Concierge service to their new product ‘Treat’ I would recommend trying to get into their headspace for a day. Treat is a service for employers to thank their employees and celebrate success.

You can try Treat for free here.

Whodunnit?, Macmillan Cancer Support

At home supporter-led activity has become so popular in the past year that it’s hard to find something that is truly innovative. Macmillan has capitalised on the popularity of escape rooms and murder mystery to create your very own stay at home murder mystery party.


Professionally done with an interesting storyline, I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled on the fundraising results – I might even throw a party myself!

Best to do your event before 25 March so you don’t catch any spoilers on social media (but you can take part year round). Get your game pack here.

Feast your Eyes, Fight for Sight

Supper clubs are a dime a dozen but there’s something special about Fight for Sight’s ‘Feast your Eyes’ campaign. Not only does it connect their supporters to the cause, and creates a new tantalising experience but it’s simple to run with a delicious twist.feast-your-eyes

The concept is simple, host a dinner party but where you dine in the dark. Dans Le Noir in London has been incredibly popular for years, so why not recreate at home!

Feast your Eyes happens all year round and you can register to host an event here.

The Great Willy Waddle, Orchid

This September if you were to stumble towards Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park you will no doubt find lots of people dressed up inflatable penises (is that the plural? We’ll go with it!) to raise money for Orchid, the male cancer charity.orchid-wheres-willy-2016-26-750x437

Not necessarily inventive – we know lots of runs, walks, cycles with a fancy dress twist (I can still remember the hoard of gorillas running towards me one sunny September day a few years back). I like how bold, silly and downright fun this event is – whilst raising money for a very worthy cause!

The Great Willy Waddle happens on 26 September 2017 and you can register now here.

London Landmarks Half Marathon, Tommy’s

The challenge event market has exploded in the past few years, so what’s do unique about a new half marathon – especially one happening in London?llhm

Tommy’s have been bold enough to arrange and run their own half marathon in London but not only can people enter to raise money for Tommy’s, charities will also be able to buy places for their supporters. This is a fantastic event that merges fundraising with income generation and a really lovely route to top it off. The London Landmarks Half Marathon is on 25 March 2018.

You can pre-register for the London Landmarks Half Marathon here.

What do you think?

What innovative or interesting campaigns have you seen that you think should get noted? Tweet me @Holly_Christie or comment below so others can hear about them.


[Event] Innovation Workshop

I’m really pleased that the Corporate Fundraising Network has joined up with the fantastic team at Volume48 to run a half-day workshop on innovation for corporate volunteering.

This will be a practical workshop, where you should come away with ideas and ways to engage with your corporate partners. To not only bring them closer to your cause but hopefully generate income.

As part of the day, we will be joined by some fantastic people working in small to medium sized charities who can really show how a bit of agile and smart thinking can really change the way you engage with companies.

We would recommend this workshop for individuals working in small to medium sized charities but of course, others are welcome.

It will be happening on the 4 April and tickets are available now. Plus afterwards, you can sign up to attend the Corporate Fundraising Network – perfect!



  • Welcome from Holly Christie – Founder of the ‘Corporate Fundraising Network’
  • Introduction to Volume 48 and an outline of the day
  • How to innovate: How do we refresh and change the way we see corporate fundraising. What are the processes? Using live examples and how to benefit best from working together.
  • The corporate volunteering paradox: What do businesses really want? Is volunteering sustainable and what is the future? How can something be both beneficial and a problem at the same time
  • Corporate volunteering Ideas and problem-solving panel: Finally – Bring your problems! You can send your questions in advance, and we’ll take live problems too, with our panel of corporate fundraisers, and a room filled with other charity professionals we should be able to get to the bottom of your issues!
  • Networking begins – After the event, the normal Corporate Fundraising Network will be taking place, so you’ll be able to follow on from the workshop with networking and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.

Where are all the women? Charity women and the Women’s Equality Party Conference

On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration into one of the most powerful houses in the world, I felt it was apt to share this blog I wrote for Flow Caritas after they kindly sponsored my place to attend the inaugural Women’s Equality Party Conference in November 2016.


Being a woman in the charity sector you often take for granted what an amazing experience it is being in a room with hundreds of incredible women. On Friday 25 November I was sat in a cavernous warehouse for the inaugural Women’s Equality Party Conference surrounded by over 1,500 women and men who are passionate and dedicated about revolutionary change to our everyday lives.

The evening kicked off with resounding music and incredibly inspirational speakers; including Leader of the Party, Sophie Walker and the two co-founders Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig. What excited me the most, however, was the chair of the evening, the indomitable Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London.
Not only has Jude Kelly been an inspiration for women in the arts but also women in the Charity Sector.

Charity Women

I attended the Conference with Lizzi Hollis as part of Charity Women, a new group set up to tackle the existing inequalities for women in the third sector.

An inequality that many don’t see or admit exists. Two-thirds of the voluntary sector is made up of women (according to NCVO) but senior positions are still heavily dominated by men in the sector – nearly a fifth of males were working at Director/CEO level compared to just under a tenth for women.

We ran a fringe session with a number of women who currently work in the charity sector; some were senior consultants, others had just started their journey in small to large charities. What became abundantly clear was there is a dearth of female role models at senior positions within the sector.

There was fantastic energy in the room and definitely the will to change the status quo through positive action and the Charity Women group was definitely the best place for this.

We agreed that a toolkit was needed, so women at all levels within the sector, no matter how small or large the organisation is, have the tools and confidence needed to make positive change.

As a sector, we work so tirelessly to change the world to make it a better place for the beneficiaries we work so hard to support. We often forget to look inwards to adopt the changes that can make the workplace a better environment for all.

Take part

If you feel passionate about tackling the inequalities in the charity sector, whether that’s more women in Trustee positions, raising awareness of the incredible role models we already have in the sector or you would like to mentor other women in the sector. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A huge thank you to Flow Caritas for making it possible for me and Lizzi to attend the Conference, we left feeling inspired and determined to make the sector fairer for all.

Where’s the love? Board fundraising as matchmaking

Do you love your charity?

Of course you do!

People like us who work or volunteer in the charitable sector do so because we love it.

We love the impact we have on the people and communities we serve. We are proud to lead the changes we believe are most important to our world. We put our hearts and souls into it. And we do so with love.

Do you love fundraising?

If you’re like most people I meet, the answer is “no”.

Sure, maybe you get why fundraising is important for your charity. After all, more money means more impact, more people served, more change.

But the act of fundraising probably leaves you feeling “icky” like you’re begging. Or maybe you don’t want to put your family, friends and colleagues, on the spot. Chances are that you feel like you don’t have time to fundraise and that even if you did, you don’t know where to start.

In my experience, many people feel like fundraising takes them away from their authentic self. That it’s salesy and pushy.

But I know that fundraising is actually about inspiring people and being your most authentic self – someone that is passionate and committed and wants to do good work in this world. That is, when fundraising is done well.

There is so much opportunity for organisations that can get their fundraising house in order and I believe it needs to start at the top.

We all know board fundraising is a challenge. If it’s not for your organisation, congratulations! But honestly, most charities, especially small and medium ones, struggle with it. But it’s also an area of huge opportunity. A board engaged in fundraising can be the difference between failure and success, regardless if you have fundraising staff or not.

And here’s the thing. Even though 70% of board members don’t feel confident around fundraising, 85% want to help and want to know how to fundraise. You get it – you know how powerful an organisation can be when all the board members are out there fundraising and building a community, you just don’t know where to start.

So I want to share with you one major insight for your board that you need to commit to memory.

Something that if you learn nothing else about fundraising, you remember this:

Fundraising is match making. It’s all about the love.

Your mission in fundraising is to find others who will fall in love with your organisation too. It’s about finding your tribe and building a community.

When you start to understand that fundraising is match making, magical things happen:

You realise there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Not everyone you know will be a donor to your charity. Fundraising is about finding your tribe. Then, you build a relationship to help them come to value and respect that work and understand its importance.

You understand that you don’t propose on the first date (especially if it’s a blind date!)

Asking for a donation is like a marriage proposal. You don’t propose marriage on the first date. Similarly, you take the time to get to know your potential donors before asking for a gift.

The most successful asks are the ones where you’ve tapped into their hearts and aligned their dreams with your organisation’s ambitions. That takes some time.

You get that it’s about a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship

If I asked you why you continue to support your charity, what would you say?

Likely that you get just as much value out of your involvement as the charity does. I have had million dollar donors THANK ME when they give because it’s so meaningful to them to see their values and dreams come to life.

Your best donors are the ones who will be giving year after year (at any amount). Why? Because it’s mutually beneficial. By this point, they are in love with your organisation too.

Fundraising can be done in a way that is authentic and comfortable and the great news is, this will lead to better results! More money raised, greater community impact.

Cindy Wagman is a fundraising coach and consultant who is on a mission to teach charities to love fundraising. Her course to teach board members and trustees how to fundraise in a way that feels comfortable and authentic while being effective, what the fundraising! is open for registration now. Visit

Saving babies’ lives with Humpty Dumpty

I remember about a year ago I was sat at the Media Trust Summit in the beautiful Museum of London listening to Emma Sheppard the Head of Brand and Communications at St John Ambulance. Emma shared with us all an incredible ad campaign called ‘The Chokeables’.

I remember feeling completely in awe of a campaign that not only challenges the brand perceptions of St John Ambulance but shares practical lifesaving skills and knowledge to parents of young babies. And the biggest win – the video was funny, engaging and not scary one iota.

I did wonder – what next?

Just last week – a year on, I was scrolling through Facebook whilst waiting for the bus where a friend had shared a photo of a new babygrow she had got from Tesco. On the inside were instructions on baby CPR – made in partnership with St John Ambulance.

This partnership with Tesco is a continuation and a great addition to St John Ambulance’s Nursery Rhymes Inc. campaign. Tesco gave away free limited edition babygrows in their selected stores on the 13 October and also helped raise awareness and funds for St John Ambulance.

There’s still an opportunity to bag a babygrow by entering their competition here.

Why baby CPR?

Other than the obvious, that it can save a baby’s life – the most startling statistic for me was:

Parents told us that their baby not breathing is the first aid emergency they fear the most, yet only one in four know what to do.”

I’m confident that St John Ambulance’s incredible team with the Nursery Rhymes Inc. campaign and further ventures such as the one with Tesco will result in more parents knowing what to do.

I’ll certainly be sharing these videos with every parent I know.

Why you should apply to be a Volume48 Charity Partner

Who are Volume48?

Volume48 are an incredible organisation working with charities to create dynamic and interesting volunteering and employee engagement days for companies. This isn’t your usual fence painting or gardening this is genuine engagement with a charity’s cause and message whilst having a really good time and enabling employees to get to the heart of what is so rewarding about volunteering.

I was incredibly privileged to have been able to volunteer for Volume48 earlier this year on an event they were doing with the charity FoodCycle as part of NBC Universal’s annual Cares Day. You can read about my day here.

New Charity Partners

Over the past 18-months, Volume48 have worked with a number of incredibly charities and companies to make a greater impact with employee’s time.

They’ve raised tens of thousands of pounds already and the activities they’ve created are honest, sustainable and repeatable.

Applications opened today (7 October) for new charity partners and I would highly recommend applying for the opportunity – especially if you work at a small to medium sized charity.

It’s important to Volume48 that their charity partners not only get back their much-needed resource but also have a sustainable and engaging way to work with corporate partners who approach them for volunteering opportunities.

But why?

What struck me most when working on the FoodCycle day for NBC Universal was that the employees taking part were doing an activity that FoodCycle’s volunteers do on a daily basis. Importantly the staff left feeling they had connected with FoodCycle as a cause and understood what FoodCycle was trying to solve through their activities – something that painting a fence can never do.


The Nicest Job in Britain

‘Are you ready to travel the country and support 40 incredible charities?’ that’s the tantalising question that you are greeted with when you visit The Nicest Job in Britain.

Nicest Jobs was set up to showcase the amazing people that work at life-changing organisations in Britain, not just the good but all of the challenges that staff face to ensure they can make their charity’s vision a reality.

The Nicest Job came from that, they decided to create one nicest job which sounds like a phenomenal experience to give back, learn, listen and engage with some exciting, empowering and engaging charities across the UK.

I’ve been saying for a while now that the charity sector needed a voice that spoke from the heart and spoke about the charity sector as a whole. A voice that wasn’t afraid to contradict what the media was saying. A voice that was bold, inoffensive and challenging. A voice that would allow all the people working in the sector to feel proud of the work that we do, every day. The Nicest Job is a step in that direction.

Professionals working in the third sector, especially fundraisers, have taken a beaten in the past couple of years, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly; but I haven’t felt there’s been a strong voice fighting our corner. The Institute of Fundraising have been lacklustre in their support of fundraisers, whilst NCVO have fought as hard as they can.

It’s an interesting time to be working in the sector but I am excited by organisations such as The Nicest Job emerging, with powerful digital campaigning and technology, to change the image of the sector and to celebrate what’s good.

I was particularly pleased with their PokemonGo & Raise campaign – it’s important for charities to try to be dynamic and agile to capitalise on new trends.

And the answer to their question, yes! I for one would love to take on The Nicest Job in Britain and it would be an honour and privilege. Applications close 16 September, so get moving!

Wild Campaigns this Summer

Have you spent some time outside enjoying the flora and fauna, perhaps taking part in some citizen science, or even just going a bit wild?

There are some really fantastic campaigns that have been happening in the past couple of months that not only help with conservation but encourage people to get outdoors and see the joys that British countryside and wildlife has to offer.

Below I’m going to run through my three favourite campaigns I’ve seen this year.

Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count

‘The UK has lost a shocking 20 species of bee and a further quarter are on the red list of threatened species.’ Put quite simply this statistic made me angry enough that I wanted to do something about it.

Friends of the Earth, had a clear message, a call to action and the opportunity to take part in citizen science – enabling scientists the opportunity to use the vast amounts of data collected by participants.

I was also pleased to see that Waitrose is a corporate partner for the Great British Bee Count. This fits really well with their brand and really helps them to showcase their commitment to protecting Britain’s bees.

When I was at the British Science Association we worked with one of our corporate partners, EDF Energy, to develop and deliver the Big Bumblebee Discovery, an award-winning partnership (the partnership won the Third Sector Business Charity Award for short-term partnerships) that asked families to get involved and identify different species of bees during the summer. The results were also published in the scientific journal, PLoS ONE.

In 2016, the Great British Bee Count participant’s impressively spotted 370,000 bees; we’re still waiting for Friends of the Earth to finish analysing the results but I’m looking forward to reading more about the outcomes.

Below is the white-tailed bumblebee, spotted by me in my garden.


The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild

I love London but every now and then I love nothing more than to get away from the bustling streets and find myself out in the countryside, enjoying the air, and the flora and fauna. So I found myself particularly drawn to The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign ’30 Days Wild’.

The premise was delightfully simple. They asked you to ‘make room for nature this June’ encouraging you to take part in Random Acts of Wildness, encouraging you to bring a little bit of nature into your life.

Their website was beautifully designed, user-friendly and interactive. Enabling participants to share which acts of wildness they’ll be joining in with.

Most of all, you could still take part in inner city urban areas, just enjoying a plant on your windowsill or some daisies in your local park.

Butterfly Conservation’s The Big Butterfly Count

This campaign was run by a much smaller charity called Butterfly Conservation who are incredibly lucky to have the brilliant Sir David Attenborough as their President.

They have a simple mission ‘the conservation of butterflies, moths and our environment’ – like Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count; the Butterfly Count really does showcase the alarming decline in British butterfly and moth species.

The Butterfly Count ran from 15 July to the 7 August in 2016 and there were a number of resources and tools to get people involved. Furthermore, they were also supported by Waitrose, who have shown a dedication to their ‘Seven Point Plan for Pollinators’ – a truly fantastic piece of corporate social responsibility and thinking of the wider environmental picture.

Both The Butterfly Count and The Great British Bee Count are a fantastic way to engage children and to talk to them about the importance of protecting habitats and the amazing ways in which these lovely little creatures help protect our planet and help us thrive.

Go outside and thrive…

I’m sure there are loads more great conservation, wildlife friendly campaigns happening this year; from some of my favourite year-round campaigns such as the incredibly engaging ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ campaign run by the National Trust, I know there’s a lot of ways that charities can engage with young people, families and adults to get them to look outside, take stock and spend some time together.

What are your favourite campaigns that encourage people to get outside? To make a difference to their environment? To be the ultimate Little Critter Saviours?

Recruiting Superheroes

Last night I discovered that the RNLI recruit superheroes. BBC One’s Saving Lives at Sea was an incredible first episode showing first-hand the outstanding work of RNLI Lifeboat volunteers all over the UK.

The people who dedicate their spare time for the RNLI, saving lives and keeping people safe are phenomenal. They do all of that free, risking their own lives in the process. I was deeply impressed with the way the programme portrayed the Cumbrian floods disaster last ear. A disaster that was mocked by those fortunate to not have been affected. When you see a pregnant woman and her family stuck and close to drowning, it soon doesn’t become a comical ‘middle-class tragedy’ as was portrayed across social media at the time.

Watching the programme last night really brought home to me that Britain is an island nation, living in a world where you feel so connected to countries globally and living in a vast city like London, it’s easy to forget. It’s also easy to forget what a fearsome and fickle beast the water can be.

The RNLI have a network of over 31,500 volunteers, 4,600 of them are volunteer lifeboat crew and having the opportunity to celebrate, showcase and thank them for the work and hours they put in is invaluable. The BBC gave the RNLI a huge platform to acknowledge that without their volunteers the RNLI could not continue their work.

It was refreshing to see something on TV that is celebrating and showcasing the brilliant work done by a charity. A charity that relies on funding from all different sources, to help equip their volunteers with the best possible equipment, to save lives and keep their volunteers safe.


A simplistic but impactful RNLI fundraising campaign


It was a joy to see the BBC committing to their campaign ‘Do Something Great’; encouraging people to get stuck in and help their communities. I hope with the number of TV and radio shows the BBC will be committing to, like Saving Lives at Sea, it will be the start of some positive news about the third sector.

We mustn’t forget as third sector workers that our beneficiaries know why we exist; they are proud that we exist and often are grateful. At a time when the charity sector is covering old government services, it is no surprise that it is our turn to come under public scrutiny.

But we mustn’t let this scrutiny deter is, we must remain proud of work; we must continue to strengthen our communication and recruit ambassadors to our cause.

Bravo to RNLI for showing such a positive message and thank you to the BBC for giving the third sector an opportunity to showcase the work that we do in a positive way.

Finally, hats off to every RNLI lifeboat volunteer for being daring and fearless and reminding us of the things that humans will do to save one another.

You can watch episode 1 of Saving Lives at Sea on the BBC iPlayer.