There’s a funny feeling in the office today. A kind of happy, sad feeling. Part nerves, part excitement.
You see, this afternoon is our eighth annual Sharefest. For those uninitiated, it goes like this…
Every year, each member of staff gets £1,000 to give to charity. We gather round, sit in a circle and talk about who we’ve given it to. We talk about the life-changing work they are doing, and the personal stories behind our choices. There is laughter and friendship and a fair few tears. Hence the feeling: part happy, part sad.
And that’s the nature of what we do in our sector, right? We tell stories that move people. We tell stories to change attitudes. We tell stories to change lives.
Rarely do we get the chance to hear so many inspiring stories in one go. And as we share our stories, and reflect on the wonderful work that happens in our sector, we’re going to give away thousands of pounds. In fact, this afternoon, we’re giving away £60,000 and hopefully, sending a bit more ‘happy’ out into the world.
Join us on twitter @LifeAtOpen to hear where the money goes, and share the positive vibes a little further.
…also known as the Mindful Monsters.
We’ve teamed up with Scope to create Mindful Monsters – an exciting new product to help families benefit from all the wonders of mindfulness.
For £7.50 a month, parents can get a monthly delivery of fun activity cards to do together as a family. Covering four areas – concentration, positivity, relaxation and creativity – Mindful Monsters can help arm children with the resilience, positive outlook and emotional understanding needed to tackle the trials of day-to-day life. And a regular donation to Scope’s incredibly important work helps provide support and advice to disabled people and their families.
Check it out for yourself here because, let’s face it, we could all do with some more mindfulness (and fun regular giving products) in our lives.
“Добро пожаловать в 20 век”
That’s Welcome to the 20th century in Russian. Because this week feels like we’re looking 100 years back in time.
Reports of concentration camps have surfaced. And the stories aren’t unclosed cases from Nazi-Germany, or investigations into 1940s European governments. They are stories of today. Of camps that exist as I write this.
Hundreds of gay, and possibly bisexual men have been captured, thrown into camps, tortured and some even killed in the Chechen Republic of Russia (Chechnya). The Chechen government not only deny this, but refuse to acknowledge that gay men exist in their country.
So, in the words of the chant that resonated outside the Russian Embassy last night…
“When our community is under attack, what do we do? Stand Up. Fight Back.”
As Fiona and I stood among the crowds, surrounded by pink flowers, rainbows, homemade signs and powerful chants, there was an overwhelming feeling of solidarity. Not only with those standing next to us, but with those who are thousands of miles away, who don’t share our rights. And our freedoms to love who we love and be who we are.
If our goal is to create change, is it always best to ask for money upfront? Probably not. People are sociable. They want to stand (in person or online) alongside others who share their beliefs. Together people are stronger.
Demonstrating and protesting is hands on. It’s in the moment. It is a moment. You might even call it experiential marketing.
For the likes of Amnesty and Stonewall, it’s inherent to their being. But I feel that other charities have a huge opportunity to engage their supporters to stand with them on the issues they care about. It may not create immediate donations, but it could well create long-term relationships, trust, and perhaps most importantly, change.
To show your support, add your name to Amnesty’s petition here…