Why can we give to charity yet find it so hard to accept charity ourselves?

Did any of you see this article in the Metro yesterday? It’s quite possibly one of the saddest things I have read in a long time (excluding the recent Kenyan hostage siege, of course).

I can’t believe that people would rather shoplift than turn to a food bank in their hour of need. Why is it so hard to accept charity? 

According to the UK Giving Report 2012, commissioned by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), although individual giving did decline from 2011 to 2012 there were still 28.4 million adults giving on average £10 to charity. The total amount donated by British adults in 2011/12 is estimated at £9.3 billion.

So if we are relatively good at giving to charity, why are we so bad at accepting charity when we need it the most? The majority of us would accept help from a charity if we suffered from a disease or an illness, hence why giving to medical research and hospitals is top of the donor list, so why do we shy away from help with basic human needs such as food?

Do you think we need to do more work in changing public perception of accepting charity? Really interested in starting this discussion….

My 300 Seconds Presentation on How to Build a Successful Personal Brand

Image I was delighted to present at the latest 300 Seconds event, which took place on Wednesday 11 September at The Guardian, on the topic of How to Build a Successful Personal Brand.

If you are not familiar with the concept of 300 Seconds, they are a series of talks by and for the digital community. They are about ‘hearing from the brilliance of the many, not the few’ and you can read more about the concept here.

I was the first speaker up and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous but the audience were warm and there were some friendly faces in the sea of people who gave me lots of encouragement. I won’t go into too much detail about my presentation but here are the main points:

  • We all have a digital footprint. Whether you like it or not.
  • Many of you are already building your personal brand, you just don’t realise it yet.
  • Building a personal brand is not always easy. It takes time, effort and dedication and you may have to do things that take you out of your comfort zone (like public speaking).

So what is a Personal Brand? It’s essentially a way of marketing yourself and what you represent. But what do you represent? You need to find your sound bite. Can you describe yourself in a word or two? For example, Nigella Lawson is known as a Domestic Goddess, Kate Moss is a Catwalk Queen.

Once you have figured out your sound bite you need to decide which area you want to be know in. Is it the sector you currently work in or a sector you want to move into? Do you have a particular specialism you want to be known for such as PR, Digital, Tech?

Now that you have this figured out, like all brands you need to build your network and earn your reputation. So how can you do this?

  • Follow relevant people in your social media circles
  • Join in conversations and add value
  • Attend events and network
  • Find guest blogging opportunities in your sector or specialism
  • Put yourself forward to speak at events

As I mentioned, building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight but it is well worth the effort. Just remember that once you have built a successful brand you need to maintain it. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste once you land your dream job or work gets too busy. You need to find ways to integrate your online presence into your everyday life.

What I’m looking forward to at the Institute of Fundraising’s Digital Fundraising Conference

The Institute of Fundraising’s Digital Fundraising Conference takes place this coming Monday, the 9th September.

I am really excited to be their Conference Ambassador at the event and will be live tweeting throughout the day using the event hashtag #IoFDigital. So if you are unable to attend the event, you can still follow all the presentations with the hashtag and by following @IoFTweets and @LondonKirsty (that’s me).

Here is the programme for the day and, as you can see, it is jam-packed with great speakers and interesting topics. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Laila Takeh, Head of Digital Engagement at UNICEF, talk on Digital Transformation. I’ve heard Laila present a number of times before and she always leaves you with lots to think about.

Another session that has caught my interest is the Google and Grow your charity online Workshop with Richard Craig from Charity Technology Trust and Maryam Mossavar, Industry Manager for Nonprofit at Google. I’m hoping to pick up lots of tips to help small charities, in particular, through my freelance work.

Lastly, the Marketing Automation – Building the Strategy presentation with four speakers, including Robert Elliot from Save the Children, should be really good.

Not only will I be live tweeting but you can also count on there being a Storify the next day. Don’t forget to join in with the event using #IoFDigital