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We have been busy reviewing and revising how we are going to reach our long term vision of building a transitional home for abandoned babies in Uganda with the ultimate aim of resettling children back into Ugandan families.
We have been writing our business plan for 5 months now and it continues to evolve. At times I wonder if it will ever be totally finished. Perhaps it never will be, as we learn and gather more expertise it will continue to grow and change. We’ve definitely learnt very quickly that flexibility is key.
One critical success factor in our plan has been to partner up with an established charity who have a proven track record of working with children specifically in Uganda. We are very lucky to have now formed a partnership with Hope for Children, a UK registered charity founded in 1994 who work on behalf of helpless, orphaned, poor and exploited children in over 30 countries around the world.
Following consultations with Hope for Children we have revised our original model to include a new phase of renting a property and (instead of building the whole village in one go) have introduced a phased, incremental project plan (see our Roadmap). This way, we will be reducing the risks and proving to our stakeholders that our model works. Ultimately our aim is to create a robust, sustainable structure we can expand on.
One of the contributors to The Big Moo cited business planning for a start-up to be “Twenty pages of wishful thinking”. That is where we started. Now our business plan is around forty pages of absolute intention and every line has been considered, reconsidered, questioned and refined but we still have a long way to go.
Once we have revised the figures we will publish our fundraising targets on the website but in the meantime please continue to donate and together we will build a Home for babies we can all be proud of.
Last night, I stayed at my great Aunty Pat’s. She is 83 and likes making teddy bears, so I was suddenly struck by an idea – I’ve asked her to make 50 teddy bears, one for each of our babies.
She thinks it will take two years – I’m hoping it won’t take us quite as long to build the actual home…
Whilst we were discussing teddy bears, I ran a few initiatives of the charity by her.
As you may know, I come from the world of TV and we pride ourselves on the number of celebrities we can name drop in a single paragraph.
How can we use that to our advantage when it comes to fundraising?
Well, we are in the process of building a virtual wall at the moment so that our supporters can help build the actual home by purchasing bricks for themselves or their friends and family. Collette Callus, a friend, assistant producer and super-supporter of Child’s i Foundation has already suggested we pool all of our celeb contacts and ask them to purchase exclusive “golden bricks”. We think this a grand idea.
How many celebrities do you know, or know of, who might be happy to support us by donating a small portion of their great riches?
Aunty Pat gave us her short list: George Clooney (“he’s quite attractive”), Noel Edmonds (“he makes wishes come true”), and her all-time favourite celebrity, Lulu (“what a voice!”) So there you go, Aunty Pat has suggested the first three celebrities. We will do our best to get them involved.
Back to our main aim though – it’s not all celebrities and teddy bears. We are establishing a worldwide community of supporters to work together to build a home for abandoned babies in Uganda. We have been referring to this process and ourselves as “charity 2.0″ as we are using internet-based tools to help achieve this.
But is all this techno-speak double-dutch to most people? To find out I am jumping straight in at the deep end – next Monday I’m going to give a talk about our charity to the Rotherfield St Martin’s senior citizen group. It will be an interesting exercise to see if they understand the concept – and how well I can explain it…
I popped up to the village hall to do some research and talk to a few of the local seniors and potential “silver surfers” . I was excited to discover that a few of them have decided to enrol in Internet lessons to find out what all the fuss is about.
I had a great response, especially from Marjorie and Doreen who were happy to tell me on Flip camera about their experience of the Internet.
Next visit – we are going run a focus group with 16 – 18 year olds who all have squillions of Facebook friends to ask their opinion and get them on our team.
Our top 11:
- Raise enough money to build a babies’ home
- Work towards at least one brilliant innovative idea per month
- Lucy to perfect her elevator pitch
- Matthew to give up his day job so he can manage the daily delivery of disposable cameras
- Fraser to become the world’s greatest “legal” blogger (watch this space)
- Kirsty to grow enough produce to sustain herself for more than a week
- Michelle to complete the barn project
- James to follow the path of least resistance and join Facebook
- My mum (Hazel, of Undress for Uganda fame) to become more “internet savvy”
- Be prolific tweeters
- Be in more places, more of the time, around the world, around the web
As an homage to Celebrity Big Brother (starting tomorrow) I thought we could all read the title of this first blog post of the New Year with a Marcus Bentley “Geordie” accent:
Right back to business … A new year, not a new start, but an official beginning. This project has been in the making for a long time now (read more about my inspiration) but over the past couple of months we have gained enough critical momentum to allow it to really kick it off. The key drivers:
- gaining charity status so quickly
- launching our first iteration of the website and social media profiles (twitter, facebook, delicious, youtube, flickr etc.)
- gathering a core team that give their time and love to the project
There have been some initial set backs, such as the delay in being able to set up any kind of online donation scheme (and we are still waiting for the relevant code from HMRC). But actually this has worked out in our favour; instead of watching the pennies roll in we have been been building our community, making connections, seeking advice and watching our supporters roll in.
But we do need to start fundraising with force. We need those pennies, dollars and euros if we are to make our promise a reality.
In the next few weeks we are confident we will be able to deliver our much anticipated “buy a brick” campaign and will give our supporters the first chance to buy the first virtual bricks in the wall of our Home.
My mum, very practically, is of course already making us money. Her community fundraising team have created fundraising brilliance with Undress for Uganda.
We really need Supporters across the globe to host an event, if the idea of a clothes swapping for our charity appeals to you please email my mum, Hazel Buck, for further details. It is after all a perfect time to trade in unwanted Christmas gifts or acquire a credit-crunching new wardrobe if you couldn’t face the Boxing Day sales.
There are loads of more fabulous fundraising ideas simmering away that we look forward to sharing with you in more detail over the coming months. But in the meantime, this is just a big thank you once again for your support so far.
Please continue to tell your friends, write about us, blog about us, or get involved. Everything up until now has been a rehearsal for the real show. Day 1 is today.