I didn’t expect it to become such a big part of what we do and how we do it. Took me by surprise.
I called our charity It’s Good 2 Give because for me it has been.
Good to give.
Good to give time, ideas and skills.
And I wanted to share that idea and encourage others to join me. It wasn’t exactly a new idea after all – it was just new to me.
Until 7 years ago I hadn’t really considered volunteering. I certainly hadn’t fundraised before.
So if I could find ‘giving’ at 49 perhaps I could encourage others too.
Almost three years after setting up my own charity (taking my ‘giving’ to a whole new level) I am delighted to say that I am inundated with volunteers of all ages.
Let me tell you a bit about the young people who help me.
Many teenagers get in touch when they are doing the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. They compete with their peers to win £3k for their chosen charity. They start off by researching the charity then arrange to meet the charity contact. They ask lots of questions and then have to put together a presentation to their class mates. If they get through that round they do a longer presentation to a panel of judges. So far we have managed to get into four finals. Even more importantly to me though is the fact that most of the young people who come to find out about It’s Good 2 Give ask if they can continue to volunteer with us and for us in the future.
I am a serious fan of YPI for just that reason.
While our longer term ambition is to create a retreat for short term use by families somewhere in East Scotland, It’s Good 2 Give provides healthy snacks each week to the local children’s hospital oncology ward and to do that we needed a team of delivery volunteers. We started with four and now have ten! So, once every ten weeks they take their turn in coming to me, picking up the snacks and taking them to the ward. They check any items left from week before, tidy our shelves and then bring our trollies back.
We have an army of volunteers for events like the one coming up in four weeks time – our fashion show. The backstage crew number over 40 and most of them are young people. My ‘second in command’ is a student at Queen Margaret University and is now also a Young Ambassador for our charity.
Indeed we have six Young Ambassadors – young people aged from 15 to 22 who support us and represent us. I am very proud of them all. Two of our Young Ambassadors have taken lead roles in organizing the fashion show. One of those is a very busy young woman as she also co-ordinates and organises our calendar of workshops for young cancer patients and their families.
It was important to us that we also recruited young trustees and we are very proud of our two young trustees – in their twenties they quite naturally bring a different perspective to our board.
I do feel very lucky to be surrounded by quite remarkable people, of all ages, who are willing to give up their time to help us achieve our goals, to believe in our dream.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”
― Maya Angelou