Posts filed under ‘Fundraising’

Education – Facts and the CIA? That Internet is Amazing….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

The Internet is an amazing thing. Facts, the rambling of people (like me), Sights to shock and thrill, lies and half-truths can all be found. I try to be very specific in my searches and do have a decent virus checker for all those reasons. Today I wanted to blog about education and how much is spent per child by country. I was quite boggled when I came upon this website – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2206rank.html and what a little goldmine of facts it is…..

The site shows spend on education as a proportion of GDP. It also shows population breakdowns, GDP and a myriad of other facts about each country dated by year for accuracy. I decided to take a few of the facts and perform some small analysis on dollar spend per child on education; the table below is the result. You will have to double-click to see the detail:-

There is of course one big missing. I am not an economist, I cannot take it to the next level by balancing one economy against the other to give a deeper analysis. However, at face-value it does make me think.

I ask myself, what is education worth to you? What is it worth to your children? What is education worth to those in poor countries? We in the developed world take education as something that is always there. For those who are not as fortunate as me education is the escape for their children. Perhaps they realise it is too late for them but not for their children. What would teachers in poorer countries be able to achiveve with one or two dollars more per child? What would volunteering to help at your local school do for your community? I am hoping to do this shortly, I wonder what you would like to do?

I am delighted to have found the site above, I will be going back to it again. I know life is full of lies, damned lies and more statistics but sometimes it does one good to look at the numbers.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

April 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

Rambling, Ranting and a bit of Sport Relief.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Pre-read warning, this post has a few tangents. Please stick with it, I will have a point, promise…..

I watched most of the BBC’s Sport Relief programme on Friday night. I smiled, laughed and cried in the same measure. I donated, of course I did, I can’t really blog about giving without taking action myself. It was always my intention to donate but I do leave it until near the end every time, perhaps to focus on the watching first, I am not altogether sure.

One  thing that struck me as painful was a new slant I see on programmes of this type. In years gone by there were segments where we we would see a child near death through starvation, pneumonia or malaria. Through the ‘power of television’ we would then see the same child a couple of days/weeks later; they would be on the mend and a smiling presenter would tell us how our donations had made a direct impact on this child’s life.

The same thing happened when we were presented with the children living on streets, working from the age of two to help support their families with no hope of education or a change in circumstances. The next ‘cut to camera’ shot would be those children smiling in classrooms learning their way out of poverty with their families benefiting from some small sum to enable this. Cue happy smiles all around. Our guilt assuaged, we were able to smile too and move on.

Now? The ‘fluffy’ picture has gone. We see the sad and ill children but we do not cut to them getting an education or getting better.  We see other children benefiting from the classroom and other children starting to heal. The children working on rubbish dumps or making bricks were left there to work themselves quite literally to the bone. As for the children who were ill, we were shown shots of resustitation. Frantic efforts made by staff who saw too much death, they brought some children back from the brink but only temporarily. It was a powerful picture, the face of a devastated and exhausted health worker with a glimpse of the body of a small dead child. It was harsh to watch, we moved from the laboured breathing to no breath at all. I cried. I am sure many people cried. However, my tears do no good in this situation, I just hope my money does make a difference to some other mother’s child, I couldn’t help the mothers of those children we saw.

I know why they have moved away from the ‘cute’ shots. Society is ever-changing, the power of the internet means that we can see almost anything we want. Depends what we want to see. I have no desire to see an execution, no desire to see a child die. Are we now so jaded by multi-media that this needs to be the case? The celebrities are still there, they still cry too. Many people feel this is a poor use of celebrity (notoriety even?), that these are crocdile tears furthering a career and not a cause. I disagree to a large extent but have one comment. I don’t need to see a celebrity doing this to make me want to give, a reporter can have the same impact for me. But then we get to my next point –  are there some who enjoy seeing the celebs sadness watching the harsh lives or deaths of others? I would really hate to believe that, if that is how people think then we are in a sorry state as a race, the human race. For myself, it can be reporters, it can be celebrities, they all bring attention to the cause and that is what must be important.

So now, a not so smooth segue to words, specifically the words in the media. There is a link to the rest of this post, I will get to it. A young Welshman was jailed today for posting racist tweets about the footballer Patrice Muamba after he collapsed on the field of play last week. When challenged by other Twitter users he compounded his previous utterances.

I disagree with what he said, this doesn’t go without saying because it needs to be said again and again. I will add though that in my opinion he was drunk and stupid. And here is my point – my warning about social media. In the days before Facebook, Twitter and all those other sites you would be with friends. When you are drunk and stupid with friends they tell you to ‘wind your neck in’ (that is what they would tell you in Northern Ireland anyway) and you would stop. If you carried on, your mates would take you home and leave you there until you sobered up and apologised to them. You do not get the chance to be sorted out so quickly on social media. Your words are out there and all it takes is a couple of retweets or shares and millions will see your crass stupidity. Those millions will screen-scrape and save that stupidity and it will get reposted out there, you can never forget it.

The court case has made some cheer and some frown. There is much debate about the difference between free speech and incitement. I would like to think this young man was not trying to incite hatred but his words were racist and that is against the law. If his words have allowed someone else to justify their bigoted ways then damage has been done.  He will have to live with his actions for a long long time.The horrible truth is that there are many people who post this kind of drivel every day but they do not catch the attention of enough people. I make no excuses for this young man or anyone else, I only know I would never want to cause offense to others with my tweets. Even live phone-ins have a slight delay so that we can filter what goes out on the airwaves. I know the point of social media is not to censor but wouldn’t it be helpful if they had an ‘Are you Sure You Want to Make a Complete Eejit of Yourself’ button that stupidity wouldn’t get out there so easily?

Please do not think I make light of either topic here but I will close with one last point. Would all social media users like to focus their words on changing this world to be a more caring and careful place? Can we have one day where you post only about how you can help one person? Why don’t we have a #changethisworld hashtag, is it too much fun to challenge?

I leave you with the BBC Sport relief website in case you want to check it for yourself – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sportrelief/

Thank You BBC and Sport Relief!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

I know, I know, Seven Weeks and Counting?

You know why I do this but if you don’t know why I do this please read the About Lesley page….

It is that time of year again, Christmas is coming over the horizon. For most this thought makes us happy, for some it causes pressure and depression. If you can afford to buy all those items your children want you can look forward to the Season of Goodwill. If not then you have that sickly feeling of dread in your stomach. You know what I mean; we have all had that feeling. It is normally fleeting, most get this it only in moments of great fear or danger but it passes quickly leaving ‘just’ that lingering nausea. When it is constant life is painful…

So, have I created a little guilt yet? Have I hit the collective conscience? I jest but only slightly. Christmas is after all the time when we should be thinking of others. With this in mind I am going to make a few suggestions.

  • Buy charity cards but I add a note of caution. Make sure you check the pack of cards to see how much of the money will be going to the charity. Charities do like there to be at least a 10% donation but, from the little research I have done, there doesn’t appear to be any legislation. You can also buy direct from the charity to maximise the amount they will receive. Look closely and let your motto be check the pack and get the most charity bang for your buck!
  • Consider purchasing some gifts of goodwill? It has become more popular to donate as a gift and present your family member/friend with a certificate about the donation. There is a wide choice of charities you can do this with, I have added a few links at the bottom of this post.
  • When you are battling your way through the crowds with ‘that’ list full of names, ideas, strikeouts and ticks, why not buy one extra present for families in need in your area? There are always local collection points who will be happy to take these from you. In my area the Post Office and banks always participate. One note from me, please remember the teenagers, you can always find presents for young children and we all love buying toys but teenagers love gifts too.
  • Lastly, a concept that is new to me but one I am going to take advantage of. A kind friend on Twitter, @Pancake_One, sent me a link to a site (Easy Fundraising) that donates to charities for every purchase you make. They link you to the major retailers and you select a charity to benefit from your on-line spending. I have registered with the site and have asked that Barnardos be my chosen charity. I picked Barnardos as I donate monthly to two other childrens charities and thought I would spread the love. You don’t have to use this site, there are others out there. Please check and be happy that any site you use is secure before you purchase anything, I am always cautious online and would urge you to be the same.

I hope this post finds you happy about the upcoming Holiday Season, I also hope you will think before you buy? Enjoy! 🙂

Links

I have included a selection of charities and sites here but please have a look for your favourite. Remember – check the sites out and only use if you are comfortable….

Easy Fundraising – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/

Save the Children Wishlist – http://shop.savethechildren.org.uk/wishlist/

NSPCC Online shop – http://www.nspcc.org.uk/donate/donate-and-buy/

Barnardos Online Shop – http://www.barnardos.org.uk/shop.htm

Unicef Online Shop – http://shop.unicef.org.uk/

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm 2 comments

Where Does the Money Go?

You know why I do this. If you don’t please read the About Lesley Page….

As the purpose of this blog is to (gently?) coerce any readers into donating to a childrens charity I thought I would do a little research on how your donations can be spent. I have focused on three of the big hitters, Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam. I am, like everyone, conscious of the cost-cutting measures being introduced by global Governments. These make it harder for people to look beyond their own family. I understand this; those who rely on us still need our love and financial support. However, even if it is pennies and cents shouldn’t we be looking to help a few others?

I was also interested in the value-for-money element from the charities. They are all open about their accounts and how they try to use funding for best effect. We have all heard the stories of organisations (I will not call them charities) whose ‘overheads’ mean that only a small percentage of monies raised will go to a good cause. When we give away our hard-earned income we expect it to have the biggest impact possible. Therefore, a quick summary below how my big three for today will allocate your money. Please note that this is done as best I can from internet research on the charities and my apologies to them if any details aren’t completely accurate:-

Unicef – Does anyone assume Unicef get funds from the UN? They don’t you know. All their funds come from their own fundraising efforts, be they donations, working with corporations or the sales of their cards and gifts. They raised over £60 million in 2009, a significant amount. About 22% of this will go to raising more money, spending to accumulate for future years. In total about 76% of the income raised will go to their causes. This means 4% goes to keeping the organisation going, I think this shows tight financial management considering their size and the scope of the work they do.

Oxfam – From my research the total raised by Oxfam in the last year was over £300 million. A huge amount of money but there is a huge amount of good that needs to be done. This money comes from individual and organisational donations plus some Government funding. They will use 7% of the funds to generate more income, 10% on running costs and governance with 83% spent directly on emergency, development and campaigning efforts. A lot of money but a lot of projects, I do like their option to donate to specific projects with a targeted amount to be raised.

Save the Children – In 2010 Save the Children UK had fundraising totals of just over £290 million. This came from a variety of sources, individual and corporate donations, business partnerships, Government funding for example. Future fundraising and investments uses 7% of the monies raised, retail and governance/property uses 4 % and 89% is spent on charitable activities, including 41% on one area, hunger.

Looking at the figures above I see 3 major organisations trying to do good and trying to do that good in a financially responsible manner. They use revenue to generate more revenue and keep overheads to a percentage minimum. They are open with their financial reporting but use their websites to focus on their main aims. I add some extracts from their mission statements below. I think they are worth stating, worth the little time it will take you to read them:-

Unicef – UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.

Oxfam– Oxfam International is an international group of independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. The Oxfams work together internationally to achieve greater impact by their collective efforts. Oxfam believes that Poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. Basic human needs and rights can be met. These include the rights to a sustainable livelihood, and the rights and capacities to participate in societies and make positive changes to people’s lives. Inequalities can be significantly reduced both between rich and poor nations and within nations.Peace and substantial arms reduction are essential conditions for development.

Save the Children – Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

You may read the words above and think they are high-fallutin? Perhaps you think them over-worthy or too optimistic? Then please read some of the other facts I was able to pick up from the websites, here are facts to be aware of:-

  • 22,000 children under 5 die every day. Every day.
  • One child dies every 3 seconds largely from preventable diseases that could be combated by the availability of basic health care.
  • A billion people go to bed hungry every day
  • Worldwide in 2009, there were an estimated 16.6 million children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS
  • Thousands of the world’s poorest people are losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of a new wave of land deals, including 22,500 people in Uganda who lost their homes because of a timber company.

I could add many more words, many more horrible facts to this blog but I hope these will be enough to make you think and even act?

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm 2 comments

Walkies? Oh My…..

We all know I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities direct. Today, however, I will have a short blog about a different kind of fundraising, Lesley fundraising to be exact.

Next Saturday me and my knees will be taking a walk, an 8 mile walk. Not that far you say? I agree but it is the nearest I will ever come to doing a marathon. I am looking forward to it, just hoping that the weather won’t be what I see this morning looking out my kitchen window. Rain, please, give us a break next Saturday, pretty please in fact…

This is the walk I will be taking part in –

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Fundraising/Inyourarea/Northern_Ireland/Northern_Ireland/Local_events/AntrimWalk2011.aspx

It will be through gorgeous local countryside with two of my best pals. It is very possible that we will laugh all the way round as well as planning our night out to reward ourselves. That I am looking forward to:)

Some of you may think it odd that with all my blog-preaching I am not taking part in fundraising for a children’s charity. There is no big mystery to this. I, like most other people, have friends and family who have been affected by cancer. Children’s charities are my main focus but Macmillan is also close to my heart. It helps as well that this will help people in my local area. Any funds I raise will help people around me, those I know and those I don’t. Charity begins at home, some say. I don’t subscribe to that notion unless you think the whole world is your home. Charity to me should have no boundaries but I do appreciate the chance to help my community. Also, isn’t it time got doing instead of just saying? 🙂

I will leave my normal request in place at the end of this post but before I do I will make a request that you visit my fundraising page. It can be found here – http://original.justgiving.com/lesleymiller1. If you wish to and you can afford it please donate. Also, please go the the latger Macmillan Cancer website; you might find something there you would like to do? Thank you from me and my knees, let us hope they don’t end up like this:-

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment


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