Making Sandpaper interesting

Can you imagine the conversations when this brief came into the agency! Love this creativity

(originally posted this on Pinterest)


The Irish Charities Expo

The Irish Charities Expo 2012 will be a one day first of its kind exhibition to be held in Ireland.

The Exhibition will get charities and businesses, along with members of the public, together in the same venue so that they can network, develop partnerships and learn from each other.

The Irish Charities Expo is FREE to attend and over 5,000 company representatives will be invited to attend the event to engage and communicate with up to 100 charities that will be showcasing and promoting themselves to the key charity related personnel in Irish businesses.

Totes Amazeballs cereal

Its great when brands listen. Its a shame when its exclusive though (this wouldnt have happened if it wasnt a celebrity tweet). Surely there is a bigger idea in this for Kellogg’s

Info below is from AdWeek:

Totes Amazeballs might seem like an un-Kellogg-like name for a breakfast cereal. But the company has created it anyway over in the U.K., following a Twitter request from Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess.

Explains Burgess: “I heard someone use the expression Totes Amazeballs, and it sounded like something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I sent a cheeky tweet saying I’d invented a new cereal and that Kellogg’s were interested. But within an hour they’d got in touch.”

A Kellogg’s spokeswoman adds: “It all came about a few weeks ago when Tim tweeted his fans about wanting to create a super cereal called Totes Amazeballs. We really try to make the most of Twitter here at Kellogg’s, and when we saw the tweet, we knew we had to make something special for him.”

Alas, they only made one box—for Burgess. (It’s a mix of Rocky Road cake, Coco Pops Rocks, marshmallows, shortbread pieces and raisins—apparently a Burgess favorite.) But with fans clamoring for more boxes, we likely haven’t heard the end of this story.

Chugger Debate

There is a serious amount of chugger bashing going on at the minute. I have never seen or heard such negative sentiment around this form of fundraising. I have never worked for a charity that had chuggers, so I have no strong ‘pro’ chugger agenda. I do however know lots of charities that do use them, both in house and contracted, and I know the value they provide to the organisations (financially).

What frustrates me about the whole “debate” is that its not a real debate with any proper understanding of this revenue stream.

What happens instead is people make comments when they haven’t taken the time to research the issue. So for example we see comments like these from Senator Catherine Noone (clearly seeking column inches), where she says that Chuggers have:

“started to turn charity from an act of giving into an industry, with volunteers being replaced by people who are paid per hour”.

What planet is the Senator on!? Charity is an industry. Charity is a business. She clearly hasn’t taken the time to talk to anyone in the sector…but sure why should she, she  is

“…. somebody who gives a decent amount every year to charity”.

Similarly this morning Ian Dempsey on TodayFM said that

“charities need to find another way to raise the money”.

Again, an off the cuff remark made by someone who hasnt taken the time to understand how charities work. If he is going to use his airtime you would really like him to at least be informed (or take the time to be informed).

I am not saying there are no issues with Chuggers. I am not saying it is the greatest way to fundraise. Like I said I have never worked for an organisation that uses them (maybe that says something, I dont know). But the mis-information that is being bandied about by people is frustrating. This revenue stream works for charities. That’s why they do it.  Next people will say they are fed up with Direct Mail, because charities are spending money on postage!

If there is going to be a debate about chuggers, firstly there needs to be a better understanding of the business of charity. There also needs to be an understanding that there is a code of practice that all charities sign up to (Senator, maybe you should have checked that one out!?). Also people have choices. Every day I walk past a chugger, and I can see them trying to make eye contact, I just say no thanks and walk on. It doesnt really ruin my day!

NOTE: I have asked two people, one from either side of the debate to do guest posts on this blog….hopefully they agree. I will keep you posted

Everyone Gives

I like the idea of this. I love the concept of networked giving. There is a clear ask (5 euros/pounds/dollars). I like that it is international…so it kind of feels like you are part of a big movement.

There doesn’t seem to be any information about who is behind it, or how much money the charities get. This video actually over complicates the explanation of it too.

What do you think?

(edit: I have seen that Colliers International are the people behind it)



So many new social networks pop up and its really hard to keep up…really hard. I tend to download the apps when I hear of something new and interesting . So often though I find its just not for me.

But Pinterest has really kept me engaged. I have set up a few boards and am starting to follow people, I’m still getting started, but enjoying it. I enjoy seeing what other people pin, and yes some pins are totally irrelvant to me…so its great that I can just unfollow the pin, but still follow the person.What I find interesting is that the majority of pins I see are about  Food, Fashion and Homes. It seems to be quite an aspirational place.

I am still coming to terms with it (sounds like hard work right!). I am especially wondering where brands fit in. I see that brands like Whole Foods and Martha Stewart are really popular…and I can see how that makes sense. They can post things that are useful (recipes) or things they are interested in (like homewares) and these are things that people will re-pin.

I wonder where other brands fit in? I guess there is a place and its about finding that place. Like any social network its about being relevant.

Yesterday on twitter a few of us were having a conversation about it. I said that I really liked what the National Wildlife Ferderation were doing in the US. Sarah Hughes came back and said that she thought there was greater potential for causes to use Pinterest. She suggested that they dedicate a whole pin board to telling a story and how the charity impacted on the issue. So her example for the NWF was that they could have a “pinboard dedicated to the world’s smallest chameleon (3cms!) and the Foundation’s work to protect it”

I thought this was fantastic, (I had an old lightbulb moment!!). How do you think you could or will use Pinterest…or will you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you’d like to follow me on Pinterest…here I am

If you are looking for some more information on Pinterest, here is a link to the Ultimate guide to Pinterest!

Promoting Philanthropy in Ireland

I saw yesterday that the Ireland Funds have opened their Grants rounds. One of the categories that they will accept requests under is “Promoting Philanthropy in Ireland”. A few years ago, working with Niall O’Sullivan, we got a group of fundraisers in Ireland to attend a meeting that  talked about promoting Philanthropy. We pulled together a “thoughts” document and shared it with the Board of Philanthropy Ireland. I believe that there is more movement in this space again, which is great to hear.

But there was one line of thinking from that day that I have been keen to progress. My belief is that one of the ways (and not the only one)  of creating a culture of Philanthropy in Ireland is to think long term and about the next generation. I had heard about a campaign in the US that encouraged children to not just save their pocket money but to also spend some of it and share (donate) another portion.

I don’t know who runs it, or even if it is run by anyone, but I want to adapt it and bring it to life in Ireland.

I sincerely believe that a “Spend, Save, Share” movement, targeted at children in junior school (with a plan to grow with them as they develop) would be a massive step in promoting philanthropy in Ireland. Imagine, if, from a young age children think about money differently. They think about saving (that’s good right) but they also know that its ok to spend some too. Just as importantly though, they start to think about what some of that money could do for others? So they would start to think about sharing. I firmly believe that this would be the start of a mindset change, which would need to be supported by a full programme that, as I said, develops as the child develops, which could be incredibly powerful and game changing for the future of philanthropy.

This isn’t about the amount, so fundraisers should put the calculators away. This is about the action. It’s about creating a movement that changes how we think about philanthropy. It’s a step towards the idea of planned giving. Ireland is a generous nation, we all know that. But we aren’t a nation that really plans or thinks about its giving. I believe that a programme like this would create a culture where we start to think in a planned way.

So why am I telling you this?

Well I want charities to get on board with me. I would love to take this on, but I need charities to buy into it. Maybe organisations like Fundraising Ireland, Philanthropy Ireland, ICTRG, The Wheel could row in behind it too? Maybe even some financial institutions too!

We could apply to the Ireland Funds for seed funding and then look at where else we could get support. This is clearly in the ideas stage. But there is an idea here.

If you think it’s a good one and think your organisation would like to get behind something like this, let me know, drop me an email, tweet me, call me, whatever, just get in touch. We will then set something up with everyone who thinks it’s a good idea and do something about it.

I believe in this and would love to bring it to life. But I need you.