Big society? Ahead of you, David….

Howard Lake | 24 September 2010 | Blogs

There’s been such a lot in the media about Big Society but at easyfundraising the causes we work with have been putting the ideas behind David Cameron’s new initiative into practice for years – working tirelessly and often without adequate funds to make a difference in whatever way they can.
In the course of my job, I talk to fundraisers from a wide variety of causes and I am constantly amazed by the dedication shown.

Making a difference

Take Linda Taylor and her colleagues at Hantsar (Hampshire Search & Rescue), a group of volunteers who help the police search for vulnerable missing persons. They can be called out at any time of the day or night, fund their own vehicle costs and rely on fundraising for essential equipment like radios, first aid training and uniforms. Or Jill Parker who is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care by scaling Kilimanjaro next month. Or Explorer Scout Luke Robertson who gives up his evenings and weekends to help organise fundraising events for his scout group. I could go on, there are so many stories to choose from, within our group of members alone.
And for many, fundraising is not their day job. They have families, jobs and commitments, yet they all take time out to make a difference to their good cause, be it by raising awareness, volunteering, organising events, shaking a collecting tin or shopping online.

Social society

Twitter is a great example of Big Society in action. Tuesday has become Charity Tuesday and it makes me smile every single week to see how many charities and good causes take a few minutes to give a shout out to one another. And Follow Friday, where causes actively encourage their followers to follow other causes too. They don’t have to do that; they want to do it and I think that’s great.
Social media seems to be a great medium for causes to tap into a network of people who want to help out. There are plenty of tweets asking for people in a particular part of the country to get involved in a specific event and no shortage of replies and retweets. If you’re reading this as a fundraiser, be on the lookout for people within your networks who want to help and tap into the resources already available to you. It seems many people would love to help out but they just need to know where, when and what. If you’re a supporter of a good cause, follow them on twitter, like them on Facebook and ask them how you can help in a meaningful way.
So, call it Big Society or call it something else – the fact is there have always been people who do things because they care and there always will be. And if you’re reading this, you probably fit into that category.
Becky Coleman is Web Content Manager at easyfundraising.