I tweet  and network with many different people working in the charity sector and find that many of them have their ‘Broadcast’ button stuck on.  “Help us…”, ‘Donate here…”, “We need more followers..”   There are a few exceptions to this of course, such as @eczemasupport  and @freshties  who are real people taking the time to support others, and you will see me regularly conversing with them online

Personal and ‘to the point’

So, when I received this message from a charity connection of mine via Linked In, I could not help but be touched.  The author had taken the time to tell a ‘real’ story, with a compelling message that gave me reason to revisit their website to refresh my mind regarding their objectives.  The message was personal and did not overwhelm me with facts and did not feel intrusive.

Focus on IMPACT

It simply focussed on an example of the IMPACT the Charity’s objectives were  having on real people – not the brand, not statistics and not how desperate they are for your money. 

And of course, I clicked the giving page and donated: Perfect charity PR with intended result achieved. 

My opinion

My only comment would be (because I always have to have my ‘two pennies worth’) to take the time to personalise the message, so it was even less of a broadcast and more of a friendly communication and perhaps leave the fundraising link until after the ‘real’ story.





Gabby’s Message

Dear Friend

I doubt if you know how flat footed I am, so this personal challenge [5k run] is not an easy one for me! It is also for an extremely worthy cause and I would be really grateful if you would do your bit to support me!

Please visit my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GabriellaBeddows

27 of the children that we support, spent this weekend at the Malvern Hills Outdoor Centre as part of our Noah’s Ark Activity Weekend. It is a very difficult time for the young people, helping them to discover and understand their feelings.  One of the young ladies wrote on our facebook wall:

“Thank you so much for such a brilliant and life changing weekend! I’ve met such kind, lovely people, and made some beautiful new friends including all the staff that were on camp!  Words cannot explain how grateful I am for everything you have done for me and how it’s helped me!  I didn’t know that I could ever move on after my Grandma’s death and you’ve helped me to achieve that so I honestly can’t thank you enough! “

With many thanks x

Gabby Beddows
Noah’s Ark Trust
Chief Executive

T: 01905 340019
F: 01905 745121
M: 07967 467958
E: gbeddows@noahsarktrust.co.uk
W: http://www.noahsarktrust.co.uk

If you are not aware of the work of this organisation, please take a moment to look at their website.

Working hard…..

Gabby says “Coming to terms with the death of a loved one is difficult enough for an adult, but for a child or young person it can be overwhelming.  Children regularly tell us that they feel isolated, misunderstood, to blame, angry, sad and struggle to cope with the finality of it all.  

At Noah’s Ark Trust  we help them through their bereavement, offering one-to-one support and guidance along with activity weekends where they can meet other bereaved children.  The service is offered free of charge to families in Herefordshire & Worcestershire and there lies our biggest challenge during this current economic climate. Last year we supported over 800 children and raised over £450,000. We are working hard to raise the essential funds we need to help these children towards a brighter future.

Your ‘two pennies worth’

Of course, I am an accountant working in the Charity Sector, not a marketing/PR professional.  If you are experienced in dealing with the 3rd sector, both Gabby and I would be pleased to hear your views on this type of PR activity, please leave a comment.


The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.


  1. paul brown says:

    Hi Toni

    thanks for the comments and the ” two pennies worth” – will make sure it gets passed along to others setting up donation pages for the run

    best rgds, paul

  2. Micala says:

    Read this blog article with great interest and felt that it was a timely read as we are in the process organizing our web launch and presenting to a number of local businesses. Whilst we have a specific project that we are looking for support for. This article has reminded us of the IMPACT of what we are about – helping children smile and we will be certainly adding that fact continuously throughout our launch and presentations.

  3. Liz Lewis says:

    Hi Toni

    Thanks for sharing your feelings re this message – and yes I do mean feelings! All too often people ignore – but that’s why people give – because they feel a connection. The triggers may be various, but they are feeling-based, right-brain-based. ‘Behavioural economics’ shines a light on why we all make certain decisions e.g. whether to donate or not.

    The research provides incredibly useful tools to increase donations and other forms of support. Gabby at Noah’s Ark demonstrates how to do it – use stories and pictures and focus on one person at a time, not many individuals. Cut the statistics, the academic analysis – oh, and cut the despair. Give people hope and tell them how their money will solve a problem for someone.

    Two great books on this subject I can recommend are: ‘Predictably Irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions’ by Dan Ariely and Nudge by Richard Thaler.

  4. Ann Hawkins says:

    Toni is right, not just about the charity angle but about communication in general. In a fabulous book “Give Your Speech and Change the World” Nick Morgan explains that every bit of communication should have only one outcome, to get people to do something – to take action, change their opinion, laugh, cry, shout, whatever. If someone reads your stuff and their reaction is ‘so?’ you may as well not bother.
    Creating emotion is key to all this but, as Liz says above, despair is not one that works well. What people want more than anything is to feel good (usually about themselves)and whether this is done by buying certain products or helping someone worse of than themselves doesn’t matter – that’s the action that particular bit of communication has set out to achieve.
    Pictures of battered children or doleful dogs don’t make me feel good.
    Seeing how someone’s life was changed for the better does.
    However important the message, we have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention and I’d have stopped reading after the first sentence of Gabby’s message above (no offence Gabby :))whereas something like “How do you make a child who’s lost her mother smile again?” would make me wonder what it was all about and carry on reading.

  5. Toni says:

    Thank you for your contribution

  6. Gabby Beddows says:

    Hi Toni

    Thank you so much for including my piece in your blog, it has been very interesting to read the feedback and has given our fundraising team plenty to think about.

    Since I wrote my plea for sponsorship I have completed the run and managed to get just £50.00 short of my targetted £1,000. Following my first email, I sent a further 2 requests, each one with a humorous picture and some upbeat messages from the children. When I asked those people who sponsored me for some feedback they said that they loved the ‘hippo chasing the runner’ (supposedly me)and they continued to smile at the words written by one of our children. As a result, they couldn’t resist helping me!

    Thank you for helping me to promote our work and to everyone who took the time to donate or read the article.

    Kind Regards Gabby

  7. Toni Hunter says:

    A CHILD’S RIGHT TO GRIEVE – Can you help us?

    How do you tell a child from our local community that they need to wait for our support following the death of their loved one?

    Sadly, 120 children are in this position. As a result of our awareness raising campaign we have seen a large increase in the number of referrals over the last six months, highlighting the need and importance of our service within the local community. By helping us to raise an additional £32,320 we can provide the children on our waiting list with the support they need at this critical time in their lives.

    Noah’s Ark Trust have supported 899 children between April 2010 and March this year.


    As a company – Engage employees to put on a fundraising event in aid of Noah’s Ark Trust and have some fun! This will ultimately increase staff morale and foster good working relationships whilst raising money for a very worthwhile local children’s charity.

    As an individual – Make a monthly donation, no matter how small or large, every little helps us to provide the support a grieving child needs.

    HOW TO MAKE A DONATION – Please go online at http://www.noahsarktrust.co.uk/crg or telephone: 01905 340019

    Alternatively please send a cheque made payable to:
    Noah’s Ark Trust
    One Coventry Place
    Blackpole East
    WR3 8SG

    For more ideas on how to help us reach our target or advice on running your event, please visit our website or call 01905 340019 and speak to our friendly fundraising team.

    With Kind Regards

    Gabby x

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