This is a funny time of year for me. It is the first time in four years that I have not been preparing for a charity trip abroad . Three trips to Africa with Comic Relief seeing the work have done over the past 27 years, and last year with World Vision to meet Syrian Refugees in Jordan. All very different trips but at their core the same principle: money raised here in the UK is being used by charities to make a real difference to other people around the world. It felt odd to not being nipping off for my cholera vaccination between Christmas and New Year, or picking up a prescription for malaria tablets. To then spend an afternoon reflecting on how lucky I am that I can do that, pick up a prescription to save myself from malaria.
Some of the people that Comic Relief help are not that lucky. I haven’t seen first hand the desperate families bringing sick babies into hospital with the symptoms of malaria, but I know people who have. What I have seen are the incredible clinics where families can have their babies vaccinated thanks to charity donations. Leaving knowing that they now wont lose that precious loved one to a preventable disease.
If I could give up work and spend my time supporting charities I would. In a heartbeat I would be jumping on a plane at regular intervals to go and see the work that is done, and report back on what still needs to be done. For there is so much that still needs to be done. And not a month goes by without another humanitarian crisis hitting the headlines. A crisis needing our support.
What I can do though is help fundraise and so whilst I am not travelling this year I am still determined to raise money. Just this week Annie, Penny and I had a Team Honk catch up and formulated our plan for getting bloggers together all over the world this time with a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel (is that not one of the greatest lines in Blackadder ever?). But ahead of Comic Relief opening their fund raising pages, how to raise money for them?
Or indeed any other charity at any time of the year?
Well that is where a new service from BT called MyDonate comes in. It is a-not-for profit online giving platform which means that people can create their own fundraising page for their chosen charity and know that every penny they raise will be given straight to that charity (apart from credit or debit card fees).
“But there are already sites that do that” I hear you say. And yes you are right, there are. Some of them though charge a fee to both the charity AND the donor. Some of these platforms charge as much as 5% which comes off the donation made, which just feels very wrong to me
What is different about BT MyDonate, is that they don’t charge any fees and don’t charge the charity a fee either. No monthly fee, no registration fee, no commission. BT MyDonate will also automatically collect gift aid too.
One of the other great points about this platform is that the money is paid to the charities on a weekly basis, which if it is for disaster relief or the migrant crisis makes all the difference. Last year for instance when I was raising money for World Vision the focus was on “Barefoot and Coatless”, people walking in the snow who were literally without shoes or warm socks. They needed help immediately, not in a couple of months. Having that money paid to the charity on a weekly basis is going to make such a huge difference.
From a fundraising perspective it is easy to set up a page for whatever activity you want to do , and for whichever charities, you can have more than one running at a time (up to six charities). There is also a BT MyDonate app so that it is possible to keep up to date with donations and activity even on the go.
So easy in fact I have already done mine: Mummy Barrow’s BT MyDonate Fundraising page for an event I am doing in February. I am going to walk a half marathon over the course of a week (stop sniggering at the back) so have set up my page already with all the info needed, I can also add photos to prove I have done it, and share on social media any updates along the way.
Do you fancy joining in? Maybe with a new year’s resolution? 28% of Brits have said they are more likely to stick to a New Year’s Resolution if it is linked to a charitable cause. Or how about this for an incentive …
If you sign up for your own BT MyDonate page and raise £100 in donations for your chosen charity before 20th February, you will be automatically entered into a prize draw where five people randomly selected will have the money they have already raised doubled. Called the “Donation Doubler” competition this could be a great way to get more money for your charity without having to try too hard! There is a cap of £1000 on it but think of the difference it would make to a cause you feel passionately about to have that kind of money.
Raising money is hard, there is always another whip round at work for something, or somebody wants to be sponsored for another activity. So knowing that every single penny you get from sponsors is going to your charitable cause is something to feel proud about.