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I’ve written another post for my work blog Bluefrog Creative. Go have a read here.

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I was not exactly brought up in a world of charities and donations. Being in this field now, I often deal with an fair bit of skepticism from friends and family. The average person just doesn’t see giving the way those in the third sector do. There’s too much disconnect and the media paints a negative picture (almost always misconstrued).

But I fundamentally believe that giving would improve each and every one of their lives – if they gave to the right cause. I think a lot of the bad feelings towards charity come from the fact that most people haven’t yet found the deep connection they need.  That’s why I’d like to help every single person I meet, especially those I love, find their cause.

For this, I’ll refer to Fraser Green’s 3D donor. (For those unfamiliar, the 3 dimensions of each donor are the head, heart, and soul)

You see, we can all understand the logic of why helping the needy makes sense on some level. Of course we should try to cure diseases and of course we should feed a starving child. And we’re all capable of feeling the universal (but temporary) emotions of happiness, sadness, fear and anger. If you tell me a compelling story, I’ll probably open my wallet and shell out a 20. It’s almost a guarantee. But that’s not my cause. That’s your cause.

My cause is the thing I truly care about most. It’s the most fundamental wrong I see in the world. And it comes from deep inside. It’s a part of who I am.

My cause – me, personally – is to end factory farming. Many of you know there is nothing I find more important. I seek out charities attempting to do this and I follow their work. I donate small amounts when I can, but know someday, I’ll be able to give a lot more. They don’t really know about me but I sure know about them and I tell everyone who will listen. Because this is the cause at the depths of my soul. When I think about it, I can feel my heart double in size and ache with the desire to do something.

My cause is the one I seek out.

But I seek it out because I know how – I know where to look. I think everyone has something in their lives that they feel this passionate about, but most people have no idea what to do about it. So we have to learn to ask the right questions to help unearth this desire to take action and make change.

Because when we find that person who really connects with what we are doing in their soul rather than a simple emotional reaction, we’ll have them for life. And this is immeasurably valuable.

The way I see it, our job as fundraisers isn’t just to convince people to give. It’s to connect people’s souls with the charities that can help them change the world. And I’d like to take on this challenge.

I’ve written a guest post on the Bluefrog Creative blog, all about my new job as a fundraising copywriter. Take a read.

I Am The Comms Devil

I’m at IFC in Holland this week and have done a guest blog for the European crowd blog, 101 Fundraising. It’s about the Masterclass session I attended. Click here to read!

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Steve Jobs designed the only product that I feel defines me as a person. I’m a Mac.

I know I sound like a snob when I talk about Apple but I can’t help it. I was brought up this way. It’s who I am. I just think Macs are more clever.

I remember using the Macintosh as a small child. I know from my father that the first computer we had at home was an Amiga but I have no recollection of that. My earliest memories are all Apple. I remember playing a lot of computer games (remember those??) and I don’t recall which ones but I know they involved a joystick. I remember having one of the first drawing tablets and I remember the giant roller ball mouse.

Around the time I discovered the Internet (I can’t remember doing a single thing besides email and ICQ) we got the iMac. It was the most beautiful piece of electronic equipment I’d ever seen. By today’s standards it was huge and clunky but at the time it was sleek, modern, and sexy. We had the Blueberry and I remember, as a 12-year-old, being desperate to have one in every colour (flavour?). What a 13-year-old could possibly want with five computers, I have no idea. But that was it. I was in for life.

Years (and many Macs) later, my iPod became an extension of myself. Steve knew exactly how to turn electronics into a form of self-expression. It wasn’t just a tool, it was a body part. People always used to ask me why I felt like I had to carry around 80GB of music with me at all times. It was because no matter what was happening at that particular moment or how I may have been feeling, I could hear exactly what I needed to hear to make everything better.

You can tell a lot about a person by scrolling through their iPod. You can make a lot of really unfair judgements based on this. (You can tell a lot about a person by whether they’ve still got that clicking sound turned on while you’re scrolling through their iPod.) And now, in a new and strange country, I rely on my iPhone’s GPS to guide me through the city streets and get me home safe. At the same time it provides the soundtrack to my best and worst days.

And I may or may not have turned down dates in the past by stating, ‘Sorry but I’m a Mac and you’re a PC. It could never work.’

I’m writing this all down, not to say anything profound, but only to say that I really do feel Steve Jobs may be the total stranger who has had the greatest impact on my life.

And for that, a big thank you Steve.

Steve Jobs Gives The 2005 Stanford Graduation Plenary

EDIT: My dad sent me this after readying this post

I actually bought a Mac a few months before you were born, but we sold it about 18 months later.”

My bad. Apparently I was actually born into a Mac household on the exact year it was released. Makes sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I left school in Toronto, I remember a good friend mentioning to me that he had considered making the move to London when he graduated but had decided that it was better to start out in Toronto as a big fish in a small pond (more or less) than to go to such a big city where you’re a complete unknown. At the time, I told him casually that the idea didn’t bother me and my heart was set on the UK. I barely thought twice about the comment.

The other day, I thought about this conversation again and came to the realization that I actually love being a small fish in a big pond. I always have and I’ve always thrived in that position. I love the challenge of being the new person. I love making first impressions and meeting new people. And I love learning. I’ve always been happiest in a company where everyone else knew more than me. I look up to everyone and trust everyone. I’ve ashamedly acted impatient and cranky in positions where there were newer people who knew less.

I’ve been here in London for only two and a half months and have just been hired into my third position. And although I’ve technically been moving up the ladder in terms of permanence and responsibility, I’ve actually just moved departments each time. I’m still sitting in the most junior position in my new job. I’m happy with the situation but I do wonder what this contentment means. Now that I’ve noticed my small-fish-big-pond preference, how will this affect my career as I get older? Will I move up into management roles? Am I built to lead? Frankly, the idea scares me at the moment.

I may tell myself that being the new person is a challenge but maybe I’m just avoiding the real challenge of expectation and responsibility. I did feel like there were expectations of me in Toronto. There were none of me here. I met a lot of incredible people last year who said a lot of kind things about my potential. I told myself that moving half way across the world was taking a big risk but maybe the real risk would have been sticking around and trying to live up to those expectations. Maybe I’ve just been playing it safe.

Perhaps being a small fish is less about being humble and more about a lack of confidence. I’m hoping I’m just the kind of person who takes a while to get comfortable and confident enough to be the big fish, but that eventually, I’ll get there. I’ve always thought that may be the case but have never really been anywhere long enough to test the theory.

What kind of fish are you most comfortable being?

How Much Is Too Much?

Are you the type to take on more than you can handle? Do you feel overwhelmed and slightly behind each and every day? Two months ago, I did a TEDx talk where I used the line,

“Take on as much as you think you can handle, and then add one more thing. You’ll learn that you’re capable of much more than you thought possible.”

I do tend to live by this, and I will readily admit that I have realized, many times, that I am capable of more than I was giving myself credit for, but I’ve also sometimes wavered from my opinion that this is the best way to live. There is something to be said for constantly pushing yourself and setting the bar high, but over these past few months of pushing, I’ve realized there’s got to be something to learning to let go and breathe.

How do you learn where to draw the line between ambition and neuroses? I know a lot of very successful, brilliant and busy people who still seem to find plenty of time for family, vacation and a social life. Meanwhile, I’m only doing half as much and feel as though I’m struggling to keep my head above water. Every time I try to relax and have fun, I still feel the nagging guilt in the back of my mind telling me there’s work to be done. What’s the secret to letting this go? If there is one, I’d like to hear it. My suspicion though, tells me that I’m not the only one who feels this way.