We take our work seriously here at Open, but when we’re not busy trying to make the world a better place, we’re engaged in a right old gallimaufry of creative endeavours. Writing, drawing, painting, crochet – to name but a few. We also have some very talented musicians lurking in our midst.
Our brilliant and bearded Creative Director, Matt, has recorded an album of songs he has written and recorded himself (with a band, in a recording studio and EVERYTHING) and it’s extraordinary – in the best sense of that word. He’s supporting the release of the album, What’s Left, and the first single, Lidl Briton, with some great behind-the-scenes material from the recording, and we’ve all been doing our bit helping to spread the word.
And Matt’s not just talented, he’s good, too. He’s donating the proceeds of the downloading/streaming of Lidl Briton to Barnardo’s, to support their work with young carers. He has more charitable plans, coming soon.
To say that we’re proud of him is an understatement.
A couple of weeks ago, my flat mates and I decided to participate in Pretty Muddy – the 5K obstacle course in aid of Cancer Research UK. Not a huge feat to many, but considering we spend most evenings watching Ex on the Beach on the sofa this was going to be a challenge.
Before the event we posted a few photos of our ‘training’ on social media, asking for donations through Just Giving. A couple of gifts came in (which we were really grateful for) totalling just over £100. Considering we’d only had a few weeks to raise the cash we thought we’d done pretty well.
On the day, a friend had the bright idea to film us as we jumped in and out of mud patches, so we could take a look back at the experience and see the embarrassment we’d caused ourselves. After looking through the footage and having a few laughs at our red, sweaty faces, I decided to edit it down so we could share it as a thank you with those who’d supported us.
Once the video had been posted on Facebook something rather unexpected happened: our inboxes started to fill up – likes, shares and donations started to flood in. The footage of our run had caught the attention of those who’d scrolled by our original posts and spurred them to donate.
The content was far more engaging as a moving image, allowing viewers to run with us and experience our pain, embarrassment and giggles – I just don’t think you can show that in a selfie.
We managed to raise just over £800, which none of us could have ever predicted, and which made all the mud and sweat worthwhile.
I’m now really excited about all the videos we’re working on here at Open – getting to show people what we’re really about and what we get up to. Hopefully they’ll prove to be as much fun and as responsive as my muddy one…
So… roll camera! 📽
At a time when we’re all searching for the next clever campaign that will capture the nation’s attention, whilst furiously putting the finishing touches to our traditional Christmas appeals – I have recently been reminded that much of what we do now is just the bigger, shinier version of what we’ve always done. And I was glad to see that simple, direct peer-to-peer fundraising can still be incredibly effective.
Last week a friend of mine sent a message to a few different WhatsApp groups asking everyone to read her friend Emma’s story.
Emma’s ‘a 31 year old who is trying to plan a wedding whilst struggling to beat a very rare and aggressive cancer.’ That summary hit close to home with the audience it was targeted at.
Emma’s been through a series of treatments already (hence the self titled ‘egg’) and her last hope of survival lies in receiving immunotherapy. Because her cancer’s so ‘niche’ (her words) this treatment isn’t yet available on the NHS. The treatment costs a whopping £114,000 a year and who knows how many years she’s going to need it for. So, she took to the internet and social media to tell her story and ask for help.
And boy does Emma know how to tell a story. Her page does everything we all bang on about day after day. It’s funny, heart-warming and hugely sad with a strong need and tangible solution (the ask even comes within the first 2 paragraphs). And guess what? It’s working. Within 24 hours over 6,000 people had shared her page, it had been mentioned by the BBC and the Daily Mail – and she had smashed her £150,000 target.
Read Emma’s story, give if you can and then marvel at the proof that old school fundraising, at its very best, works like a charm.
We salute you Emma. Keep up the fight.
To give to Emma’s Last Chance to Beat Cancer visit her site here