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, Child.org

Child.org 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.

whodunnit

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.

 

International Museum Day

This International Museum Day I thought it would be a good opportunity to celebrate my favourite museums and take a moment to think about vital museums are to the UK’s third sector and society as a whole.

It is estimated that there are about 2,500 museums in the UK, ranging from national museums to historic properties to local museums, with everything that falls in between. Museums in the UK are fantastic, with a huge number of them free and give you an opportunity to learn, engage and experience history, art, science and literature.

Our museums safeguard our heritage and personal collections, making accessible artefacts, specimens and stories which they hold under their roof, trusted by the public to keep it safe and accessible.

There are over 200 museums in London, the city that I live in, so I thought I would highlight a couple of my favourite museums that I return to again and again, to enjoy and experience their permanent and temporary exhibitions, to learn and listen, and to evolve and adapt my perspective and vision of society.

Wellcome Collection

The self-described ‘free visitor destination for the incurably curious’ this treasure trove of fascinating stories and artefacts delights me on every visit. The Wellcome Collection has a huge emphasis on medicine but through the lens of life, art and the humanities. It doesn’t just look back at the history but delves into our present state and where we may go in the future.

More information about the Wellcome Collection and how to visit can be found on their website www.wellcomecollection.org.

Hunterian Museum

I love things in jars and at the Hunterian, I am not let down. Visiting you are met with a collection of human and non-human anatomical specimens, models and instruments, painting and sculptures. Like the Wellcome Collection, the Hunterian draws parallels between the arts and sciences with a focus on surgery from the 17th Century to the present day.

The Hunterian Museum is part of the Royal College of Surgeons and can be visited Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and is also, fantastically, free! More information can be found on their website www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian.

Grant Museum of Zoology

A University museum which is part of UCL which is of a similar ilk to the Hunterian Museum (i.e. stuff in jars!)

Inside this nondescript building is an array of over 68,000 specimens that cover the whole animal kingdom. The Museum was founded as a teaching museum and even includes many species which are now endangered such as the Tasmanian Tiger or the Dodo.

One of the things I particularly like about the Grant Museum of Zoology is one of the ways they look to generate funds. At the Museum, you can sponsor a specimen and therefore have your name sit pride of place next to the specimen on display. one of my favourites was someone who had sponsored the ‘Jar of Moles’.

More information can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/zoology.

Museum of London

The Museum of London has put on two of my favourite temporary exhibitions that I have visited in the past couple of years.

Last year I visited their exhibition on Sherlock Holmes which was intriguing and fascinating. Exploring the character of Sherlock through literature, art, film and media.

A few weeks ago I visited the Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition which was incredible. Wonderfully curated, choosing important artefacts to share and bringing to life the stories of the crime and the victims.

The Museum of London always wonderfully curate their temporary exhibitions, creating additional material, telling stories and engaging with you in various of ways.

I would highly recommend a visit to one of their exhibitions, including their permanent work! More information on their website www.museumoflondon.org.uk.

Old Operating Theatre

This is an incredible gem found in the heart of London near London Bridge station. You climb a rickety staircase up to an old church bell tower, where you find this beautifully preserved operating theatre and herb garret.

On certain days of the week, you can visit and hear from one of their volunteers who will tell you all about how the operating theatre was used and the social and surgical history of the place.

With only a small entry fee it’s certainly worth the visit, more information on their website www.thegarret.org.uk

These are just a snapshot, with many more museums in London that I know and love and many more that I need to visit! What’s your favourite museum?

On 5 May I pledge to give half my votes to equality

Sandi Toksvig and the Women’s Equality Party have asked me nicely through this very cute Suffragette animation to pledge to give half my votes to equality.

As a proud member of the Women’s Equality Party, this is my pledge to say, YES! I will pledge to give half my votes to the Women’s Equality Party and for a fairer London for all.

**Cover photo taken from Women’s Equality Party video with drawing and animation from Jacky Flemming**

The Choir with No Name: Laughter, tears and a soul uplifted

Last week I attended a comedy evening in aid of the fantastic charity The Choir with No Name at the beautiful Union Chapel.

The evening hosted by Miles Jupp and featuring a stellar line-up from Josh Widdicombe, Seann Walsh, Sarah Kendall, Justin Edwards, Jess Robinson and poet John Hegley. The evening wasn’t like any other comedy fundraising event I have been too.

In the interval I was delighted to have been treated to a few songs from the two London Choirs, singing together and really showing the incredible impact of the work the charity does.

So who are The Choir with No Name?

Put simply the Choir with No Name runs choirs for homeless people and other men and women from the very edges of society. They were founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good and they were spot on.

We heard from an old choir member, who joined the Choir in 2008 and eight years on is doing amazing. The Choir helped him turn his life around. He now has a life filled with music and love.

It was amazing going to a charity comedy night, which not only entertained me in a way that only good comedy can (trust me you need to see Jess Robinson, her Julie Andrews singing ‘All about that bass’ impression is fantastic), the evening also made me realise how important and impactful a simple message can be.

It’s simple. They change people’s lives by creating a safe space where for a couple of hours a week they can forget all of their worries and sing their hearts out. And if a snapshot of the testimonies below is anything to go by, it really does work.

CWNN

I was also particularly impressed by their corporate sponsors Links Resourcing and MillMoll Ltd, whose support enabled the Choir with No Name to actually put on the event but also ensure they get 100% off the proceeds from tickets and bucket collections.

Event small charities can bring in corporate partners that can make a huge difference.

Take a look at their website, and if you’re feeling generous, donate. They need your support.

Future gigs?

22 May – Community Spirit 2016, Birmingham Symphony Hall. Tickets here.
29 June – CWNN London Big Summer Gig, St James’ Piccadilly, London.
15 July – CWNN Birmingham Big Summer Gig, MAC, Birmingham.

Trustee Week: Why everyone should be a Trustee

This Trustees Week I thought I would reflect on my 18 months as a Trustee at the West Hampstead Women’s Centre and explain why I think everyone should be a Trustee.

The West Hampstead Women’s Centre is a bright gem in the centre of the borough of Camden and has been doing amazing work for over 30 years. The Centre provides holistic services for women; dealing with mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The Centre is one of the safest places I have ever visited, from the way it’s decorated to the smiling faces of the volunteers, to the atmosphere itself; it creates a feeling of welcoming and beginning.

The Centre is incredibly unique in London; it is one of the few women-only centres left, who serves women of all cultures and ages. We offer over 21 different services from cancer support groups to NVQ and Employment Support to Pilates,osteopathy and CAB Outreach.

I was first drawn to the Centre when I saw their ethos of ‘Supporting all women under one roof’ this inclusive message really struck me and I was intrigued to see what happened behind those doors to support some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged women in my community.

“I walked through the doors in my hour of need and was given a lifeline.” West Hampstead Women’s Centre, Service User

The Centre is run by a phenomenal woman, Rukhsana Chishti, who has done a brilliant job at keeping the Centre running through tough times and good in the past couple of decades. The Centre is run by an amazing number of volunteers,over 70, who ensure our services and helpdesk remain open Monday to Friday.

WHWC1

The Trustee board are an incredibly likeable and diverse range of women who all share the commitment to making the Centre a safe, friendly, welcoming space for women whilst providing much-needed care and support.

My time as a Trustee has been incredible, I have learnt so much from the people around me and it’s been fantastic seeing the Centre flourish and grow. With the cuts on their way across the Camden Borough, now is the time for the Trustees to really look to how we can protect the Centre and ensure its 30-year legacy continues for the future generation of girls and women who need the Centre.

It is in tough times that you are reminded how important your role as Trustee is and the responsibility you have to ensure that your service continues and your beneficiaries are supported.

I can’t wait for our Festive Celebration this December where I will see a number of women graduate with their NVQs and I can join all the women of the Centre from service user to volunteer to celebrate the amazing work in 2015 and the year ahead.

WHWC2

If you live in North London please do consider becoming a member of the Centre (only £6), it has amazing services and you certainly won’t regret it. And it would be remiss of me not to mention donating to the Centre or if you’re looking for a new volunteering opportunity, take a look here.

And for any talented community fundraisers out there, if you fancy offering me some pro-bono advice on how to continue raising money for the Centre I would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, I cannot say enough that everyone should become a Trustee, no matter your age. You will get out of it as much as you put in, and there are small charities all over the UK that could hugely benefit from your expertise (especially if you’re a fundraiser). So get out and do, help make a difference in your local community.

 

Event fundraising: getting the concept right

Exactly one month ago I took part in Refuge’s Walk4 and I was reminded how important it was to not only have an event that was engaging but a concept that participants could get behind.

The concept around Walk4 was brilliant and incredibly thought-provoking. Walk4 Refuge because 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence. We crossed four of London’s most iconic bridges (Tower Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Millennium Bridge and Westminster Bridge), and whilst doing so supported Refuge to provide vital services that will keep women and children safe, whilst working with them to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear.

Walk4

Walk4 put at the forefront of everyone’s minds that shocking statistic of 1 in 4 women and a very visual reminder by walking over four of the most iconic bridges in London.

Walk4 became not just a great fundraising event but additionally became a solidarity march, on that day we were there as participants, survivors, allies, fundraisers, and activists.

Participants were well looked after all the way through, from a very cheery welcome to great marshals along the route cheering you along, to a lovely reception at the end; where you were greeted with a smiley face, free drink, and a goodie bag.

Refuge got the whole day spot on and that’s in the most part due to their amazing staff team; hats off.

I hope that Refuge raised a great deal amount of money to help them continue their vital work. I look forward to the Walk next year and I really can imagine it will grow into something huge.

If you want to make a donation to Refuge, here’s my fundraising page.