Open Fundraising


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We’ve just moved into a new office. The smell of fresh floor varnish is thick in the air which is doing nothing for my mental stability.

This psychological wobbling is compounded by the fact that Tim and I have to personally underwrite the value of the entire two year lease. I always thought that once you were a limited company you didn’t have to worry about personal liability but it seems that neither landlords nor bank managers think that way…

Thankfully, we have retained the services of a Financial Director. This is a crap photo of her on the sofa (we haven’t made it to Ikea to get her a desk yet).

Her name is Emma Jinks and she has a reassuring track record of working with several startups who have both avoided going bust (hurrah!) and made some money.

Emma was also the driving force behind the restoration of Art-Deco treasure Embassy Court in Brighton – where she lives and was relaxing happily until we turned up and made her feel sorry for us.

We count ourselves very lucky to have persuaded her to work with us part time. Now we just need some more clever people to fill up all this space…

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I love Comic Relief. Every two years, I give them a load of cash and then sit down to be emotionally destroyed for the evening.

I don’t really watch for the comedy which, aside from the occasional gem, is crap. What I love is the way that Comic Relief make everyone, including me, cry about things that really warrant crying about.

As a fundraiser, I also feel a little bit envious. Because Comic Relief don’t mess about. The formula is simple. Find a brilliant story, make people cry, show the solution and then make people feel like heroes if they give. Five minutes. No holds barred.

The ‘computer says no’ school of what can and can’t be said or shown is conspicuous by its absence. Want say a child with malaria is ‘doomed’? Fine. Want to show a child having febrile convulsions? No problem. Want to show a child dying of Malaria? Get the parents’ permission and knock yourself out.

And that’s exactly what they did this year. And I’m glad they did. Because for all the tokenism, the enforced jollity and the inevitable appearance of Annie Lennox, Comic Relief rubs all our noses in the misery that is the mirror of our rich, comfortable lives. And I love them for it.


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Sometimes it just works. Sometimes, people do exactly what you hope they will do and they do it with such charm and enthusiasm that you wish you could give them a big hug.

That’s what happened with this wonderful person when she signed up to WWF’s Earth Hour as part of a campaign we’re working on with Gift.

If only she’d been signed up by one of our bears…