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Collection Tins, Grenades and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Twenty Years of Trying to Save the World

Collection Tins, Grenades and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Twenty Years of Trying to Save the World

A fast-paced and lively journey through the life of a charity-sector worker including the good, the bad, the humanitarian victories and the “can’t fail” failures. The intentions are always good if the execution isn’t.

It all starts after university when Williams discovers that he wants to save the world but get paid for it. The journey includes a bit of sex with a coke-snorting charity campaigner, getting on the first rungs of a career with Oxfam and then falling off again, picking coffee during the Contra War in Nicaragua and nearly getting blown up for his troubles, working for a book-aid charity run by the aristocracy, securing a Big Break with Save the Children and the Disasters Emergency Committee – and quitting in a state of profound disillusionment, after managing the record-breaking Rwanda Emergency Appeal in 1994.

Later, motivated by the desire for moral resurrection and dwindling savings, after months in the wilderness, the author secures a position with an international federation of charities. The job entailed travelling the world at donors’ expense in a partially successful attempt to improve the welfare of children in numerous countries – with relaxation provided amongst other things by tango lessons in the Head of the World Bank in Argentina’s penthouse apartment in Buenos Aires.

‘Gareth Williams’ is not surprisingly a pseudonym.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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