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Part 1. Matthew d’Ancona on becoming a patron for Child’s i Foundation
Well, our (not just for Christmas) wish has come true – Matthew d’Ancona, editor of The Spectator, has agreed to become our Patron.
It’s a sensational honour for us to have him on board, and even more of an honour is how much he cares about what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.
We wanted to hear first-hand just why Matthew wanted to get involved with the Child’s i Foundation, so we popped into The Spectator HQ yesterday for a chat.
Matthew talks about how a project like ours, building a home for abandoned babies in one of the poorest places on Earth, may just be one small step, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s one that will resonate in more ways than we can imagine. Getting everyone involved, creating our own community and using the web to allow everyone in it to watch our babies thrive and grow – that’s the heart of what we are doing, and why he thinks we will triumph.
Matthew also gave us more background on his interest and belief in the digital revolution, which forms the foundation of our project, and how it is changing the world as we speak. Changing the world is no easy task – but if we do it one step at a time, it can be done.
Part 2. Matthew d’Ancona on The Spectator digital dinners
We thank him so much for giving up his time and we are honoured he is part of our team.
Now, in his own words… “I want you out there to do stuff. Help Lucy with her to do list. After you’ve clicked on this, click on the to do list now. That’s the Geldof moment…”
This weekend, I made my Tada list (to do list courtesy of 37signals.com) public to the world – I did it quietly by hiding it amongst a vast array of links on our Facebook Group, but still it was out there for at least 700 people to see.
The list was so scarily long it took two and a half hours just to go through it at last night’s regular Monday evening team meeting.
I am not trying to suggest I am busier than any other person setting up an organisation or that I want to have a “list-off” with anyone. But I do want to ensure our charity is being as operationally transparent as possible. That is one of our core promises.
Operational transparency is of course the whole idea behind Child’s i Foundation’s communication model of utilising social media – blogging, posting videos, uploading photos and tweeting etc. But all of those tools are to a certain degree moderated by our time and the amount of newsworthy content we have to report (well to be fair our tweets are sometimes closer to general enthusiasm than news:).
But by publishing our Tada lists, we hope to open out our day-to-day activities to the world. To show what it takes to get this project off the ground, to make it work and also where and when we need our supporters to step in and step up. It’s no small undertaking building and sustaining a babies’ home in Uganda – and our ambitions are huge but totally achievable with the help of others.
Everything we have done so far has been due to our supporters offering us their skills, expertise, advice and time. Last week we asked for a Graphic Designer. Step forward Georgie Hewitt, who is going to design the Undress For Uganda promotional material. In the past week we have also had over 60+ TV people offer their skills and time. Our “charity 2.0″ or “collaboration model” is starting to work.
We have deliberately not asked people for money during these early teething days (actually we can take money so if you really want to give so don’t be afraid), because we know we have to be patient. We want people to feel part of this project, ask us questions – challenge us – and get involved.
Our personal tada lists are here:
More to follow …
Being a newcomer to the world of fundraising, Michelle introduced me to the legendary fundraising expert Mr Martin Shaw from Midas Charity Appeals. We wined and dined him (well, bought him a coffee and an omelette) and he very generously shared his wisdom from 30 years of fundraising.
He gave us his top five tips which we’d like to share with you:
As well as getting individuals to donate, we will also be approaching ‘major donors’ to contribute towards the project. I’d love it if we, as a community, decided on who to approach for the money – it could be anyone involved from individual moguls (how about it, Peter Jones? Simon Cowell?) to the people behind some of our biggest businesses. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org your suggestions and we’ll start getting on the case. In our digital world, surely we’re all just six (or better yet, one) degrees of separation from a charity-loving millionaire.
In the meantime, a wonderful suggestion Martin had for us was to organise some community challenges – anything from cycling the Great Wall of China, trekking to the Everest Base Camp, or crossing Mongolian on horseback. Take a look at the Charity Challenge website and send us an email if you are a dab hand at raising funds and fancy the challenge.
And we were very excited to read Howard Lake’s blog post about our charity. We contacted him last week and he gave us loads of great tips for our website. Kirsty and I are looking forward to meeting him for a cuppa tomorrow and picking his brains even more…
Thanks to both Howard and Martin for your time and wonderful advice.
Yesterday we launched our website and went to a Digital Dinner at The Spectator magazine, hosted by Matthew D’Ancona.
On my way up to London, I was desperately trying not have a panic attack at the thought of my life being on the world wide web and going to The Spectator to dine with very influential people. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to discuss the Child’s i Foundation with Matthew D’Ancona, Simon Andrews, Amelia Torode, Deb Khan, James Forsyth, Don Boyd, Matthew Knight, Kirsty Stephenson and Richard Osman.
I didn’t have to worry, we had a wonderful time and everyone really liked the idea and discussed how we could make the project a ‘charity 2.0′ collaborative proposition. I wanted to capture the moment for all our Supporters so asked our friends at Flip to lend us a camera so you can see the evening for yourselves.
Today Michelle and I were signing off our fundraising strategy, but we’ve hit a huge snag. We’ve just discovered it could take up to 9 weeks to get a code from HMRC – and that means we can’t activate our Justgiving account. We didn’t want to make the website active before we had a means for our supporters to donate, particularly because we’re developing a beautiful ‘Buy A Brick’ application, which will allow everyone to buy virtual brick to help build our home.
So should we launch Child’s i Foundation to the world without an online donation mechanism?
Just as we were puzzling it out, my phone rang. It was Deborah Meaden. What followed was an amazing 20-minute conversation, which I find hard to believe actually happened. She told me she had read my proposal, and was incredibly impressed with what I had accomplished and what an impressive team I had put together. I had turned the idea I pitched to her in the lift (apparently ‘very well’) into a reality. Her only remaining question was whether anyone else was already doing this kind of thing out in Uganda, but as our priority is resettling our children into families, we have a USP.
I then took the opportunity to pick her brains over the current quandary – should we launch without the donation mechanism in place? She replied with advice she had never given before – Yes, launch. Commercially, she would never suggest us to go ahead but as our aim is to create a worldwide community of supporters, she felt we should focus on building up the community, then launch ‘Buy A Brick’ at a later stage, when we’d generated lots of support and interest.
As for her involvement in our project, she is already working with Action Against Hunger. She is a lady of her word and when she says she is going to commit to something she puts in 100%, so she can’t commit to our project as well. I really respect her and wish her lots of luck on her trip out to visit one of AAH’s projects in the New Year. She did say she is always at the end of the phone if I needed advice, which is extremely comforting to know. Thank you, Deborah. You made my week.
Oh. My. God. I have just had the most brilliantly productive meeting with Richard Osman and Clare Pickering, Head of Production at Endemol. Having worked there since 2002, Clare (so very nicely) informed me I was ‘part of the Endemol family’ and asked me for a wish list of things they could do to help us with the project.
Tentatively, I suggested we could use a Z1 camera, tripod and Sennheiser microphone – basically £5,000 worth of kit…
“That shouldn’t be a problem”, she replied. “Anything else?”
“Erm, well, we really need an edit suite…”
“That should be fine. Do you need anything else? What about tapes? You’ll need tapes?”
“Yes, we’d love tapes. I’m currently paying for tape stock”
“I’m sure we can dig up some tapes for you.”
Wow! I’m overwhelmed by the sheer generosity of this – it’s going to mean we can film videos of our progress and keep all our supporters updated, I love being part of Endemol’s family, and I’m so proud they can now be part of ours.
I wanted to give her a big hug, instead a ran out of the building and performed my best riverdance routine outside the lift. One of my finest performances.
I love the videos we have been produced so far. Thanks to our Producer / Directors Miranda Glasser & Ros Coward, our editor Jamie Shemold and Jack Edney at The Farm for generously giving us a free edit for the day and Ad Ahmed and Max Newson for the City Boy VT.