CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME!

My name is Lynne McNicoll and I am co-founder of It’s Good to Give! and currently Scotland’s Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year.

I started fundraising in December 2005 as I hit my 49th birthday. I wanted to find a different and more giving way to celebrate my 50th birthday.

I very much appreciate all I have, count my blessings daily!

I wanted a way to express that gratitude and I have found it in helping others.

I said I would raise £50,000 for a young persons cancer charity by my 50th birthday.

I was named Fundraiser of the Year in 2009 and now run It’s Good 2 Give.

It’s Good 2 Give…. It’s Good 2 Give! has had another great month.

Many more people have offered support – in the form of ideas or time.

George Heriot’s School asked me to take on a 5th year student on a work experience placement. I knew we had a lot to offer to the student – as an emerging young charity still setting up many processes there is a lot to learn! However our office is also our home and to have someone share my workspace meant that they also shared my home space!

While my workspace is often shared with volunteers that is only for a few hours at a time not for five full days. Would this work? Would I mind this invasion of my territory?

When I first started out working from home – about nine years ago I thought working from home sounded idyllic. And you know what? I was right. Oh sure there have been occasions when it wasn’t going quite right but we managed to iron out those issues. (ironing literally being one of the issues – solved that with my wonderful dad coming once a week to iron his way through a pile of my husband’s shirts! He has since expanded his task list to vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and window washing. No, you can’t have him!) Accepting that we are all different has helped too. I used to feel so guilty if I took time out to have a cup of tea and read a magazine or sit in the garden. Now I am grateful at how lucky I am to be able to do that and still do a full day’s work. After all many people in offices take tea breaks – why was I worrying about taking one?

Where we work isn’t the same as how we work. It’s a case of making the best of any given situation. And that’s what I did last week with my work experience student – we had a fantastic week – and I did what I usually do – worked about 50% time in the home office and 50% out meeting people. Hanah, the student loved it so much she has offered to help me during the summer holidays!

There are loads of benefits to working at home – today I had the sunroom doors wide open – lovely flow of air and I could hear birds singing and children playing in nearby gardens. December and January’s blizzards didn’t bother me much either – I just shopped online and stayed put for about two weeks! Stayed nice and cosy and didn’t have to worry about slipping on the ice.

I have the radio on all day – got a remote control to mute it when the phone rings so there’s often a singalong happening in this happy home office!

I might take my working from home a wee bit far – we headed off to Spain earlier in the month for 9 days holiday and I took the laptop and ipad with me. So my temporary ‘home’ became temporary ‘home office’ too. I have to say I was super relaxed as I worked for about 2 hours each evening!

Running a new small charity means you really have to stay on top of emails and offers. I love what I do so it was hardly a hardship!. I do miss spontaneously sharing ideas with colleagues and there’s no Grand National sweepstake here either. Birthday cakes, Christmas nights out – I guess I make up for those with the fundraising events I organize!

June also saw us start work on our biggest challenge ever – to raise £150,000 in 30 days – in September. July and August will see us fine tune it , market it and recruit volunteers willing to participate! Home working will take on a whole new meaning during those months – I am organizing two events at home – one in July and one in September – the spare room is filling up with raffle and auction prizes for the many events planned. Already the dining table sits unseen under a huge pile of envelopes waiting to be stuffed with flyers and letters. Small teams of volunteers will help with the envelopes, and the garden event and the million other wee jobs.

Home will become a hive of fundraising activity.

Watch this space for updates!

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