Be Proud. Be Mindful. Be…ready for the awards party

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

It’s that time of year again when the shortlist for the National Fundraising Awards is announced, and we’re super chuffed to say that two of our incredible clients have been shortlisted for not just one, not just two, but FOUR awards!

Last summer we worked with Terrence Higgins Trust to use Facebook as a tool to recruit and diversify regular givers. We built up an engaged audience, and generated leads by warming them up with content they just loved. The campaign – Be Proud. Be Sexy. Be Safe – has been nominated for Best Individual Giving Campaign.

And last year we got together with a couple of partners and Scope to launch their new regular giving product, Mindful Monsters. We created four fun characters (Thinky, Giggles, Sparky and Snug!) who help deliver monthly doses of family activity cards, which come with all the brilliant benefits of mindfulness. Mindful Monsters is up for 3 awards – Best Use of Digital, Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign and Best Donor Experience.

We’re absolutely over the moon for the amazingly hardworking teams and partners who made these incredible campaigns happen. Consider all our fingers and toes officially crossed from now until awards night! 

P.S. If you want to hear more on THT’s Be Proud. Be Sexy. Be Safe – our very own Ali and Fiona are speaking at the IoF Convention on 2nd July – come say hi! You can check out the session details here.


I’m running the marathon on Sunday. Here’s why.

Friday, April 20th, 2018

This Sunday is forecast to be the hottest London Marathon on record. Fun.

I’ll be one of the 40,000 runners taking on the route, and I’m really bloody nervous.

After months of training, I’ve started to ask myself why I ever agreed to do it in the first place – but the answer really is very simple.

Last summer, one of my best friend’s mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. During a late night train journey, as we ranted about the injustice of it all, we both decided to do something to fight back. We signed up to run the London Marathon and I pledged to raise £2,500 for Macmillan. An incredible charity that helps fill that vital gap between medical, emotional and practical support.

A few months later, another of my closest friend’s mum was also diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the painful months since last summer, both of my friends have lost their amazing, generous, loving and courageous mums.

This only spurred me on. To endure the monumental training plan, through wind, rain and snow, was nothing compared to the pain my friends were feeling. I had to keep going.

This also kept me going every time I planned another fundraising event – from selling pancakes to curries to helping organise a pub quiz, or simply spreading my JustGiving link as far and wide as possible.

The generosity of people has been amazing. It’s daunting to hit a target, but with fundraising in my blood I started early, talked about what I was doing, and most importantly why. Giving a donation was their way of making a difference, and so many did.

The more they gave, the more determined I was to train harder and keep going. Your legs get stronger, and you start to run distances you never thought possible.

It’s at this point that I’m starting to power myself up, I’m full of determination, I’ve done all the training, I’ve looked after myself – I’ve even got a jar of vaseline at the ready (although I’m not 100% sure what I’m supposed to do with it).

This Sunday, I’ll have my friend’s mums, Paula and Julie, in my mind, I’ll have my own mum, I’ll have my amazing mother-in-law, I’ll remember how lucky I am, and how I’d do anything for them. Even run a silly distance in the heat.

Here’s to inspiring mums, and what they make us do. And here’s to those other incredible people, those who dug deep and donated what they could

Come and cheer everyone on this Sunday, we’re going to need it. Warning though – this might get emotional.



Be an awesome human too, donate here. 

Find me on the London Marathon App by searching Liz Black or Runner number 42361

A message from Open’s women

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

A day doesn’t go by when we’re not asked to celebrate something. But today really matters. It’s International Women’s Day and all week at Open we’ve been sharing the stories of women who have inspired us. They’re pictured here and you can follow the links below to find out more about them.

However, given a platform, it feels necessary to spend a moment to think about what we can’t be celebrating:

  • Women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria
  • One in three women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls

And at home:

  • Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales
  • Women with full-time jobs still earn only about 77 percent of their male counterparts’ earnings

The abuse and discrimination of women around the world is so ingrained in society that it can fade into the shadows.

The solution isn’t simple. But we can all take action today to fight for a world where our future generations study gender discrimination in their history lessons.

Starting with being mindful with our words and actions towards women in our lives: colleagues, partners, mothers, sisters, daughters. Let them be heard, encourage them to speak up and make space for them.

And if you’re in a position to donate I love these charities:

RefugePlan International UK

Take a minute to think about who’s inspired you and find someone to share their story with.

Here are a selection of the women we’ve celebrated:

Valerie Jinks – Emma’s Mum, who 31 years ago set up a day centre for elderly people who live alone

Florence Nightingale – chosen by Ian for taking action rather than just using words

Dr Iris Long – an AIDS activist who sped up the creation of life-saving drugs, chosen by Cerys

Joan Didion – chosen by Max for writing about the ‘the deepest questions that sit somewhere inside of all of us’

Jill Phipps – an animal rights activist who was killed by a lorry carrying baby calves and inspired Sarah to become vegan

Joni Mitchell – chosen by Will for ‘ignoring the huge amount of sexist crap thrown her way’Marie Stopes – chosen by Fiona as pioneering woman who spoke directly to women

Michelle Obama – chosen by Julia because ‘she kick’s ass!’

Antonietta de Gregorio  – Paul’s Nonna and a strong, principled, passionate, generous, stubborn and fiercely loyal woman who provided love and strength to her family

Rosie Chinchen – Amnesty International UK’s Fundraising Director, selected by Josh for her skills in fundraising

Thelma Ruby – a 93 year old actress and performer and fellow Loiner, nominated by Tash

Tiffany Brown – Clare’s housemate and a Youth Participation Officer working tirelessly with young people to get them involved in the community

Read more about them and others on our Facebook or Instagram.