In my gap year, I knew I had to seize as many opportunities. Every moment could be beneficial to my future if it is put to good use.
Updating my blog with my experience of university and any other personal experiences was first on my agenda. Then, of course there was planning and writing my own stories.
I hoped to develop them and make them into finished pieces. I also planned to channel my hurt, anger and frustration creatively and use it to write my stories.
However, neither of these would allow me to use affective use of my time, so I decided to contact Birmingham PHAB Camps, to see whether they needed assistance.
Corresponding with the fundraising committee of the charity, I was updated on the happenings of the charity since I’ve been away. I wanted to know what had been going well and going not so well.
Offering them my help for the year, I started to devise a plan to help them as best I could. Glancing at previous strategies I could see what I had done previously and what had worked well.
As time had progressed, I had to evaluate the needs of the charity and the extent of the funds they require.
After completing further research and referring to my notes, I wrote out a pitch, which I could send out to people and potential companies who would provide any support or possible sponsorship for the charity.
To begin with, I researched and found those people who could provide the support and sponsorship the charity needs, then I made detailed notes on a description of the charity and a personal account of the charity’s impact on me.
Then I made notes, focusing particularly on the lack of government funding for the charity and the importance of the support they receive and the importance of the denotations and sponsorship would be to the charity.
Then I concluded by detailing the positive impact the donations and sponsorship would have on the charity.
Typing these notes into a draft, I altered it several times making sure it reflected the importance of the charity and pacifically targeted each of people and companies which I would then distribute to them.
Having already contacted Champneys Health Spa on a previous occasion and upon informing them about the charity, Birmingham PHAB Camps received a “Guest Charity Donation” package which entitled them to a grant to spend on any equipment they needed to use in the operation of the camps.
Inspired, I got into contact with them once again, supplying them with an updated pitch and see if they could provide any promotion or sponsorship for the charity.
Unfortunately, the “Guest Charity Donation” opportunities had ended and they were unable to offer another form of donation or sponsorship at current time.
However, they could offer the charity a raffle prize such as a spa break at their resort or a selection of products in which the charity could use as prize in their next raffle at any upcoming fundraising event the charity may hold.
Delighted by Champneys Health Spa’s response, I started to construct a new list of those people and companies who would possibly provide the charity with prizes and, or experiences which the charity could use in raffles and competitions held at their funding events during the year.
I sought out restaurants and cafes with the hope that they could offer us any form of prize or donation which when contacted, agreed to promote the charity or did give us a generous offering for at least one of the raffles.
I also worked on behalf of the charity and developed a number of posters and leaflets about the charity and spread the word and the charity’s aims, in hope that people became more aware the charity and try and increase donations to them.
Wanting to spread the word as far as possible, I put the posters up where I thought wherever I thought would be effective. Having my creative mind on, I looked up the events and activities that the charity would be holding throughout the year. I wanted to help promote them and try and get more people to attend.
This way we as the could therefore raise more funds for the charity to benefit from. I included all the crucial information that everyone needs to know.
In doing this I tried to make the posters eye – catching and themed them to the event or activity they were holding.
I used these techniques to make sure the posters appealed to people and encourage them to attend.
Upon looking at my various committee meeting notes, I saw there was a great opportunity for fundraising for the charity.
Going shopping along my local high street, I saw that there are tins with different charity names on them, which people could put money in.
This inspired me to speak to different shops and cafes about having one of Birmingham PHAB Camp’s tins in their shop.
Walking the street again and again, we didn’t find many places that were happy to have one of the tins on their counters, but they did offer us raffle prizes for us to use.
Determined to get one tin on one counter, I entered each shop with a goal, still we were turned away.
Just when we were about to give up, we entered a pub and on delivering a written pitch of the charity we were successful in them agreeing to have one of the tins on their counter.
I then was in charge of going back to the pub weeks later, monitoring the income to the tin. After doing this on a regular basis, I finally appeared at the pub and found a full tin. Delighted, I extracted the tin with the promise of bringing another to replace it.
Meanwhile, I decided to do some personal fundraising for the charity. One aspect of my personal fundraising events is holding a cake sale every year prior to the camps taking place.
Friends and loved ones were very kind and donate cakes and other sweet confectionery for us to sell in name of the charity.
To suit all tastes and preferences of customers, people donate cakes which are gluten free or egg free to suit dietary needs which overall helps increase sales.
We sell the cupcakes and smaller cakes for 50p and the bigger cakes and slices for cake for £1.
These prices work well as we hold the cake sale in a university and most of the people we sell to are students, we target our customers by making the prices affordable, this then leads onto students passing the word on, encouraging friends to come down to the cake sale.
We provide leaflets and signup sheets where people can look at the charity and sign up for more information, sign to join the different committees within the charity or even volunteer. As we try and do the event annually, volunteers and participants attend to help us run the stall which is great.
By doing this we are able to sell more confectionary and help showcase the charity, raising awareness and interest in the great cause.
Then if any costumers have any questions on the charity or are interested in getting involved in charity, we have at least one person to be able to answer any questions on each aspect of the charity.
The chairperson can answer the questions about the charity, giving all the important details someone needs to know.
Volunteers can answer any questions about the care they provide, what activities the charity do during the week and how they help manipulate the activities to be sure that all the participants, disabilities or not can take part in the activities.
Finally, I as a former member, amongst other participants can describe the activities we’ve participated in, what we’ve enjoyed about it and what we’ve taken from the experience.
It is a brilliant way to raise money and awareness and we will be sure to continue this in the future.
Though I was unsure what the future held for me and the decisions I would make, but I really enjoyed helping out Birmingham PHAB Camps in my gap year and will continue to do so as much as I can.