Monday, February 26, 2007

Bitchin' Badges

About a month ago I received a very exciting parcel from the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity. It contained a box of Rainbow character badges to sell on their behalf to raise money towards my target. Paul, my contact at Rainbow had told me about them on the phone and I hadn't given it much thought. Of course when they arrived and I realised they were gorgeous little pins of Zippy, Bungle, George, or all three in a group-hug, I nearly keeled over with excitement! (If you don't know who I am talking about, you are clearly from overseas, or daft. But if your memory needs jogging, you can look at a fansite or two.)

These badges have turned out to be a real blessing for my fundraising because they just sell themselves - and this gave me an idea. I proclaimed myself to be the 'Pin Pimp' and promptly invited friends, relatives and colleagues etc to become one of my 'Badge Bitches' and sell a box of Rainbow Character Badges on my (and the Rainbow Trust's behalf).
So far I have got through about four boxes. I sold one boxful at the Trash or Treasure and hijacked my friend AJ's birthday one weekend with another boxful. Actually, when hijacking the birthday bash I discovered that drunk people are the most generous! For some reason the George badges weren't all that popular and I got stuck with five of them at the end, but AJ's mate Trez saved the day by giving me a whopping £20 for them, just so that I could retire for the evening (and stop bugging people I guess! ;-) My Mummy has been selling them to her staff and my pal G has got a box, but she keeps forgetting to sell them - although she did help me sell a load at the birthday part and also helped bump up the cost of them by offering a 'pinning-on' service. My hairdressers have also very kindly taken on a box, but the most triumphant Badge Bitch is Suzina, my personal trainer, who sold a box in a matter of days and has already asked for another one!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Unexpected Generous Sponsors

I haven't really started asking people for donations yet, but a few unexpected ones have come rolling in nonetheless.

Firstly there is my Mummy's cousin Liz (who I guess must read my knitting blog more often than I thought, or else how did she find my donation page? ;-) who sponsored me online for £50. Thanks Liz - and thanks for the Ralgex advice too!

I'd also really like to thank Mick, my plumber, who worked on my new palace before and after Christmas in harsh (read VERY purple) surroundings for a girl who only knew what she didn't want (gold taps for example). Anyway, he just dropped my keys back with a £100 donation which I'm absolutely thrilled about.

Another sweetie is Amanda, a bit of a high-flyer who used work with my Daddy in the 1980s and who always used to seal envelopes with big lipsticky kisses. My Mummy invited her to my Trash or Treasure and instead of attending she chose to send me a cheque for £40. If only all the other people who didn't make it to the T or T had been as generous!

I hope lots more people donate without being asked, it would make all this fundraising a breeze!

Trash Triumph

If I had blogged about the Trash or Treasure Fundraiser in the few days before it happened, I would be writing a very different account. The Trash or Treasure (T or T), was my first ever attempt at organising a charity event and I found it much harder than I thought.

There were some clear problems. I decided to organise an event for singletons, despite the fact most of my very closest friends are in relationships and therefore wouldn't be able to support the event. Another problem was that, although I still maintain it was way cuter holding an event which, as one person put it 'championed singleton's rights', on Valentines, I do realise that many single people want to completely ignore such a comercial bunch of nonsence. And a final problem I uncovered was that not everyone has trash in their lives. That is, the idea behind a T or T is to take a person of the opposite sex with you, who you are not interested in - for example, I took my cousin. However, some people manage not to acrue many mates of the opposite sex who they'd happily see get together with someone else. Oh and other people hedge their bets and then accept Valentine's dates at the last minute! So, basically, I had my work cut out for me from the outset.

On top of those problems, I had a few hitches with the bar. They believed when I booked the event that they would be able to promote it in the bar and sell tickets from there, but after a council crack down, they discovered they were forbidden from promoting private events. And of course generally people often don't book for events in advance, but rather decide on the day whether they are going, which doesn't help the organiser let the bar know how much free bubbly to order.

On Monday this week, however, I had gone past the 'tearing my hair out stage' of people booking and canceling, I had given up any hope of being able to order the right amount of Cava, I had accepted the fact it was too late to cancel and the event might go ahead at a cost to me, and, I had begun to get a cold! But when the night actually came around all my hard work and worrying was, thankfully, rewarded!I arrived at 7.00 to set up and was introduced to Ben who was managing the bar for the night. He instantly put me at ease becasue despite my Sudafed-haze, he knew exactly what needed doing and was really capable and kind - of course it didn't hurt that he and the other guy who was working the bar in the room I hired (French Cedric) were rather cute. My friend Nina arrived to help me take the money and issue people with their drinks tokens and pretty soon people began to drift in. My other fabulously helpful and supportive friends Helen and Alice soon arrived and set about making and issuing stickers with the names of one half of a celebrity couple on them. The idea behind this was that it would get people talking as they had to find their 'other half' at some point during the evening. I was given Charlotte (rather aptly) and told to find Gavin, whilst there were the usual suspects such as Katie and Tom, Jade and Jack and Charles and Camilla knocking about. I should point out that 'Gavin' was rather nice and it seems there was a perk for me in my mates being in charge of the stickers! Actually it was such a popular gimmick and there were so many pretty girls and boys there that first, Ben and Cedric behind the bar asked if they could get in on it, and soon people started to drift up from the bar downstairs and buy tickets so that they could join in - thanks also to Helen and Alice's publicity work.

Overall I found that people seemed to talk to each other quite easily and I did see some definite flirting and number-swapping, which was heaps of fun to witness (move over Cilla!), and I met a great bunch of new people through the extended network of my single friends. Towards the end of the evening, to make sure people had found their celebrity other halves, we announced a prize of cash to spend at the bar for two randomly chosen couples who reported finding each other to Alice. The prize money was donated by my great pals Jess and her husband Dom, who live in Chicago, and it was brilliant because it made sure everyone had a last rush around.

What I didn't like having to do was chuck everyone out at the end. The event was scheduled to finish at 12.00, but quite a few of us could have gone on for hours and it felt so rude having asked people to come to then urge them to leave, but I had no choice, because of council restrictions - I couldn't get the bar in trouble now could I?!

Quite a few of the attendees asked me if I'd organise another one, but although it worked really well in the end, I'm really not sure I could take the stress again. But I guess I should never say never!