Spread the Word: #GivingTuesday is Coming to the UK

Earlier this month saw an exciting development in the charity world, with the announcement that the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) will be introducing the international giving campaign #GivingTuesday to these shores later this year, in partnership with Blackbaud.Facebook Profile2
#GivingTuesday is a campaign that originated in the United States, and takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year.
Over recent years the retail sector has cashed in on the holiday season through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday has typically been the busiest shopping day since 2005, and Cyber Monday acts as a spur to encourage more people to shop online. From compression socks for women to christmas ornaments for men, "SHOP NOW" has become the watchword. Do you really need designer products? Instead of screaming "HELP amazon!" and spending all your money, ask yourself if you really need any compression garments at all?
But the creation of these two shopping days meant there was something missing. Someone needed to put the ‘giving’ back into ‘giving season.’
In response, and to create an antidote to the consumerism of the previous two shopping days, New York charity 2 Y partnered with the United Nations Foundation to launch #GivingTuesday in 2012, a day committed to getting people to engage in charitable activities.
#GivingTuesday brings together individuals, businesses, charities, celebrities, politicians – everyone committed to using their resources to making positive change happen.
Some participants choose to give money, others prefer to volunteer, charities launch campaigns, businesses match funds and give their staff the chance to volunteer – in short, there is a wealth of activity dedicated to supporting good causes and the range of action taking place means that there is something for everyone.
And the organisations supporting #GivingTuesday shows just how successful it has been. Well-known businesses such as Google, Microsoft and Skype have signed up to the campaign, in addition to the thousands of SMEs like Comprogear doing their bit to help charity on the day. In addition, the campaign has been backed by celebrities such as Kevin Bacon and Tiger Woods, with President Obama chipping in to add his support.
Starting in the United States, #GivingTuesday expanded significantly in 2013, with activities reaching Canada, Australia, Latin America, Mexico, Singapore and Israel. 2014 will see #GivingTuesday imported to the UK for the first time. Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, the recent adoption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has proved to be very successful for retailers, and we’re keen to make sure that charities have their day too!
More seriously, the success of the ‘shopping holidays’ in the UK shows that there is an appetite for themed days over here, and we would be letting our great country down if we didn’t give the millions of generous donors and volunteers the chances to get involved with #GivingTuesday. Our proud heritage of charitable giving as a nation makes us a natural partner for an international day of giving.
It’s exciting to be part of a global movement for good.
Part of the reason that #GivingTuesday has been so successful is because it harnesses the power of social media to give everyone taking part the chance to let others know what they’re up to and inspire even more people to get involved with giving.
Last year, the hashtag ‘#GivingTuesday’ was trending for most of the day and saw more than 269,000 tweets. Particularly successful was the use of the ‘unselfie’ – urging people to post photos of themselves and their favourite charitable cause.
Since announcing the launch of #GivingTuesday in the UK we’ve had some great messages of support from people and organisations keen to get involved and to show that the UK can compete with the best when it comes to giving. Last year, CAF’s World Giving Index ranked the UK as one of the most generous nations in the world, and this year our participation in the global giving day #GivingTuesday will prove it.
Over the next few months we’ll be helping co-ordinate activity, but the reality is that #GivingTuesday belongs to you.
The success of #GivingTuesday relies on businesses, charities and people in the UK coming together and committing to using December 2nd 2014 to make a difference. We’ll be launching our website shortly where you’ll be able to find out all about #GivingTuesday, but in the meantime follow us on twitter @givingtuesdayuk, find us on Facebook or for more information get in touch – givingtuesday@backbritainscharities.org.uk
We hope that you’ll join us in making #GivingTuesday UK a great success!

Steve Clapperton


Keep on Running - why do people run to fundraise?

Last weekend thousands of runners hit the streets of London to raise money for good causes, including Gareth Vidler from Drakes Plumbing Supplies, who ran in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. CAF’s Campaigns Manager Steve Clapperton interviewed Gareth to find out a little more about what inspired him to lace up his trainers…

GarethWhat made you decide to get involved in running marathons to raise money for charity?

I have always been very keen on sport and played a lot of Saturday and Sunday park football. I witnessed a good friend of mine break his leg and decided that, with a young family, it was time to give up football. But I also wanted to make sure I kept fit so I signed up for the “Run to the Beat” half marathon. While I was training for that I entered myself into lots of local 10k runs and some further afield, travelling as far as Canvey Island. After I had run the half marathon I knew I definitely caught the running bug and wanted more of that.

How do you decide which charities to run for?

I follow a lot of runners on Twitter and at the time my decision to run a marathon, the New York Marathon was taking places so I contacted Hospice in the Weald to see if this was something they had in their fundraising programme. I had previously jumped out of a plane at 10,000 ft and raised about £800 doing that for them. They didn’t have any marathon places so I then contacted Macmillan Cancer Support and they were happy to offer me a place in their running team.

I will be honest and say that my family has never been affected by cancer, but I have heard of the excellent work that Macmillan does and before I ran I attended an emotional evening, as Anna Watkins (Olympic rower) gave a speech explaining how Macmillan helped her father-in-law in his fight against cancer.

What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced during a marathon so far?

Until you run a marathon I don’t think you can completely understand how dark a place you can go too. New York made me an emotional wreck. Not just the fact that you are in this great city running one of the best marathons in the world, but also that hundreds of thousands of people have come out to support you and call your name. My wife and children couldn’t come with me on that journey but I took my mum with me as she had never travelled anywhere like that before.

I knew she was waiting at mile 23 for me at the Macmillan cheer point and I remember thinking “I just want to see my mum” and that is what I needed to get me over the line. It was then that you start thinking about why you’re doing it. Reading the vests of people around you helps as well as there are so many charities being supported.

Dieting to get down to race weight was crazy difficult. I ended up eating every meal with wooden chopsticks and spoons to keep me from eating too much. I started cooking all my own food, which added a bunch of time shopping for groceries. Then there was the added exercise. Yes, I said ADDED! It was worth it when I got to London though.

One thing that really stands out for me in London is the last 1 mile and 385 yards as at the Macmillan pasta party they had said that if you see a fellow Macmillan runner struggling, a simple tap on the shoulder can spur someone on. At the 25 mile marker I noticed a Macmillan runner walking so I went over to him and said that I think we should run over the line together which we did and he said to me afterwards that it was me that got him over the line as he was really struggling. I needed him as much as he needed me and that is what a marathon can do to you and for you!

When you’re running do you find yourself thinking about the cause that you are running in support of?

Definitely! When you need that extra push then you need those thoughts to give you a reason to carry on. As I mentioned there are so many charities that you can’t help but see vests with pictures of family members on and that does help. This can be from grandparents to children, and having a young family I know how special they are to me so for those that have lost young family members it can mean that much more.

What kind of reception do you get from your friends, family and the public?

My friends, family and colleagues have been superb in everything I have done in raising money and hearing me talk about the running all day long! It has become a bit of a standing joke at work that they ask me if I’ve ever run a marathon as I don’t talk about it much! I had a huge target of £5300 to reach for all three marathons and I managed that inside 10 months. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their support, and when I put together my “Black Tie Charity Evening” it was friends and family that came and supported it. We made £1600 that night evening.

MedalsDo you feel a difference between running and running in support of a charity?

My marathon running has been charity orientated and although I have now joined a running club (Tunbridge Wells Harriers) I expect it to stay that way. I see the marathon distance as a challenge still. There's a lot more training and a lot more recovery. Things like getting measurements on your hip, ankle, calf, and thigh so you can use compression socks for edema relief after runs. Not to mention all the additional training miles. I’m the sort of person that needs a target to aim for and that is why the fundraising appealed so much.

Do you have any plans to run to raise more money in the future?

I do indeed. I have entered the ballot for London 2015 and I am also contacting Macmillan about running the Paris Marathon in 2015. That would mean two marathons inside two weeks this time so perhaps I could squeeze another one in between! I am also tempted by the London to Brighton (62 miles) ultra run but that is something for the future. The running bug has got me and so has the fundraising bug!

Born To Run: How runners are raising millions for charity

This weekend saw thousands of runners hit the streets of London for the thirty-fourth annual London Marathon. Whilst the Marathon is a world renowned feat of endurance featuring elite races bringing together some of the most durable athletes on the planet, it is equally well known for being one of the largest annual fundraising events in the world.

Since the launch of the event in 1981, over £600m has been raised for good causes, and research following the 2007 event discovered that 78% of all runners raised money for charity. In addition to those dressed in the latest sporting clothes aimed at helping them through the 26+ miles, others run in fancy dress, with one of the most famous costumes being that belonging to Lloyd Scott, who completed the course wearing a full diving suit in 2002. Other examples from this year, including Tony the Fridge, are well worth a browse.

It isn’t just the London Marathon that sees people running to raise money for charity. According to research by the Charities Aid Foundation, in the past year nearly seven million Britons have raised funds in this way – a 36% increase from the previous year. The average runner raised £358 for charity, an increase of almost £78 on the previous twelve months.

The average age of a runner is 42, and the most popular causes that runners choose to raise funds for include medical research (48%), hospitals and hospices (20%) and children and young people (16%), with many runners donning a vest in support of a charity that they have developed a personal connection with.

The race also sees MPs taking a break from daily life in the House of Commons to run, and each is faced with a challenge significantly greater than anything party conference season can throw at them. This year saw a record number of Parliamentarians lace up their trainers, with Alun Cairns, Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan, leading the way with a time of just over three and a half hours. None of this years entrants were able to touch the blistering time set by Matthew Parris in 1985, when the-then Tory MP and future Times columnist ran the race in a shade over two-and-a-half hours. Perhaps next year, with the election looming and MPs getting their feet prepared for weeks of pavement-stomping, will see his time come under threat.

In the next few days we’ll find out how much money was raised this year for charity, and our congratulations go out to those who completed the famous course. Our condolences also go out to the family of a runner who sadly passed away shortly after crossing the finish line.

Whilst the Marathon is perhaps the highest-profile event, we know that millions of Britons run throughout the year to raise money for the causes they care about. If you’ve supported charity in this way, why not get in touch with us at contact@backbritainscharities.org.uk and share your story?

Tell us - why do you give?

The Charities Aid Foundation have published a new report entitled ‘Why We Give’. We surveyed over 700 of our customers to gain a better understanding of the reasons why people support charities.

One of the key findings was that 49 per cent of people think that society is too cynical about those who give, and nearly two thirds of respondents believe that those who give to charity need to be more vocal about the reasons why they give.

Most people pointed to their personal values, morality and ethics as their main motivation for giving, with three quarters giving because of a personal belief in a specific cause and 71 per cent motivated to give because of their faith. Others gave to more common charities like shelter dog rescue. Reasons ranged across the board.

Following the publication of this report, CAF has launched a social media campaign asking people to share the motivations behind their support for charitable causes and tell others about the charities that they support.

We want YOU to get involved by using #whywegive to explain your reasons for giving. We want to build a national picture explaining the motivation behind the British public’s generosity. To this end we will be collecting all of the messages on our Pinterest board. Make sure you check it out!


Explaining your reasons for giving won’t only help charities better understand why they receive support, but could also win you a £100 charity cheque to donate to a charity of your choice. What could be better?! The competition closes at the end of March, with the winner chosen at random, so make sure you get on Twitter immediately to be in with a shot of giving your favoured charity a much needed donation!

We are hoping that this will raise awareness for all of the great work that charities do and stimulate an online debate about why we give. We hope you join in:)

If you would like any further information about the ‘Why We Give’ campaign please do not hesitate to get in touch with Steve Clapperton, Campaigns Manager on sclapperton@backbritainscharities.org.uk.

New Survey Aims to Investigate Life in the Charity Sector

Part of the aim of the Back Britain’s Charities campaign has been to raise awareness of the important work that charities do in communities across Britain, and in the past we’ve highlighted research showing that charities have seen a significant rise in demand for their services. The recession included a drop in disposable income for many people, which means that they are increasingly turning to charities to help them through difficult times.

As regular readers will know, we’ve been keen to get charities to share their experiences with us to help demonstrate the need for the important work that they do, in addition to the impact that the recession has had on their ability to provide support and services to people with nowhere else to turn.

Getting data about the reality for charities isn’t always easy, and we’re delighted that ACEVO has launched a new Social Sector Tracker Survey which they will be using to inform their priorities ahead of the writing of manifestos for the election in 2015. They’ll be listening to what the data tells them about the sector and looking to see how that information can be used to call for a strengthening of the charity sector.

The first survey is now open for responses, and focuses on the value of charity, as well as investigating levels of economic confidence in the sector. This is an area in particular need of scrutiny as charities wait to see whether the return of growth to the economy leads to a consequent improvement in their fortunes.

You can take part in the survey here, and we’re encouraging all Back Britain’s Charities supporters to take ten minutes of their time to respond in order to build up a picture of the health of the sector. The survey is open for responses until 7th March, so please do use it as an opportunity to express your hopes and concerns for the months ahead!

Rise In Charity Income Welcomed

There was good news for charities last week, with the announcement from the Charity Commission that the income of registered charities in England and Wales rose by almost £3bn in 2013, meaning that the total income of charities now surpasses £61bn.

This equates to an increase of more than 5 per cent from the previous year, which suggests that the return of growth to the economy is tallying with an improvement in charity fortunes.

However the income of the largest charities, classified by the Charity Commission as those who have income of more than £10m, saw a rise of more than 7%, which suggests that the growth in income is not equally spread across the whole of the charity sector.

As NCVO’s Karl Wilding told Civil Society, there could also be a slightly misleading picture being formed if there are a few new large organisations entering the register, which could account for the majority of the growth reported. He also warned that the headline figure cannot be used as a barometer for the whole sector if it is disproportionately skewed towards larger charities.

Whilst any boost in charity finances should be celebrated, there are still great concerns about the ability of charities to meet the problems posed by increasing demand for the services that they provide. This problem is particularly pronounced amongst smaller charities, and these figures suggest that more needs to be done to ease the burden they are dealing with.

The Back Britain’s Charities campaign has been calling on all people to do their bit to support charities across the country, and at party conference we were explaining that 9% of people are responsible for two thirds of all charitable activity. We need to do more to get more people engaged with giving.

Speaking of our conference activity, regular readers might remember our people power theme from Glasgow, Brighton and Manchester last year. Our stand was visited by the likes of Justine Miliband, and it looks like she might have passed on what she heard to her husband. Ed Miliband’s speech last week about public services included the idea of introducing greater people power to the public sector, so it looks like our message hit home!

Has the economic upturn changed the fortunes of your charity?


The Charity Finance Group, Pricewaterhouse Cooper and the Institute of Fundraising, have released their annual survey ‘Managing in a downturn’, the 7th since the economic crisis began in 2008.

The survey asks senior fundraisers and finance professionals how the recession has impacted upon the charity sector. With early signs that the economy is recovering this year, it will be interesting to see the results. In particular, it will be useful to benchmark this year’s results against the last couple of years when the sector was really struggling to see if the slight improvement in the economy has trickled down to the charity sector.

Over 400 charities responded to the survey last year, highlighting how they are responding to both a cut in funding and an increase in the demand for services. Key findings from last year’s survey found 9 in 10 charities reported a squeeze on fundraising, 67 per cent reported demands on their services had increased and nearly half (42 per cent) reported that they might have to dip into their cash reserves.

Figures released in January by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated the UK economy was expected to grow by 2.5 per cent this year. The British Chambers of Commerce have revised up their predictions for both this year and next year, albeit with some caveats.

Pricewaterhouse Cooper Director, Ian Oakley-Smith noted that ‘many charities are adjusting well to the “new normal” taking positive steps to understand the changes that continue to be needed’. He goes on further to say ‘..the results of this survey will provide further evidence as to the scale of the challenge that continues to face the sector’.

How is YOUR charity faring this financial year? Have you noticed a positive change, or does the situation remain largely the same? The findings of this survey will be of interest to the sector, so make sure your voice is part of that conversation. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday 14 February and can be accessed here.

Holly Mitchell


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 347 other followers