– by Nick Lawford, Fundraising Manager
Working for a charity means that I do, on occasion, find myself standing outside a supermarket, or a theatre, or at the entrance to a country show, grinning at strangers and holding a brightly coloured collection bucket.
There are three main things that these experiences have taught me:
a) When standing still for long periods of time outdoors, two pairs of socks are better than one.
b) Never judge a book by its cover – very often the people who, on first impression, you think are least likely to donate are the ones who open their purses and empty in the contents.
c) A high proportion of the people who put money into your bucket will be under the age of 10. This is often initiated by the child themselves – tugging on their parent’s arm and pointing at the bucket until a coin appears. Or a parent will give their child a coin, encouraging them to put it in the bucket. This valuable early introduction to the importance of charitable giving will sometimes lead to a stand-off while the diminutive donor looks down at the shiny coin, and up at bucket-bearer, and then down at the shiny coin again, wondering if it would in fact be better off in their pocket…
The coins always end up in the bucket, though, and the joy of giving – from a very early age – is something that we have the pleasure of seeing time and again.
This year we have been overwhelmed by the number of young people who have been getting involved with fundraising for Nottingham Hospitals Charity. My colleagues and I have had the honour of meeting Abbie who told her family and friends that she didn’t want any presents for her 9th birthday and asked instead that money be donated to Nottingham Children’s Hospital; 10 year-old Ben who has set himself the challenge of running, cycling and swimming 90 miles this year to raise funds for the children’s cancer wards; and 4 year-old Finlay who decided he wanted to take on the Robin Hood Mini Marathon to support the Neonatal Unit that looked after both him and his baby sister when they were born prematurely.
These inspirational stories of pint-sized fundraisers go on and on. Take 5 year-old Dan, for instance. Tragically his older sister Bella passed away on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Nottingham Children’s Hospital in 2015 after suffering from a sudden brain aneurysm. She was just 7 years old. Ever since, Bella’s family have raised money for the Unit in her memory, and Dan has been at the centre of this – taking on a Junior Mud Run last year and CLIMBING SNOWDON earlier this year. This young man is a true hero.
We also see schools, and businesses, teaching young people the importance of social responsibility and charitable giving. A few months ago, our friends at Sainsbury’s in Beeston initiated an enterprise challenge for students at Bluecoat Academy and Alderman White School. Young people were given a £20 voucher and encouraged to use their business and fundraising skills to grow this initial investment in support of the Big Appeal for Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Incredibly this resulted in the schools raising more than £2,500 – an incredibly impressive return on investment!
And at the end of September 6 year-old Evie took part in the Robin Hood Mini Marathon, in support of her Dad who was also running the Half Marathon to raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity, twelve months after having major life-saving lung surgery. Evie wasn’t the only one doing the Mini Marathon, though…she also managed to convince 361 other pupils from her school, West Bridgford Infants and Junior School, to do it with her, in support of the hospitals that saved her Dad’s life. We could all do well to learn some of Evie’s awesome persuasive powers!
If you can spare a couple of hours to support bucket collections for Nottingham Children’s Hospital at 10 branches of Sainsbury’s over the weekend of 15-17 December, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 962 7905.