To be honest I don’t see myself as much of a premeditated writer. I seem to write what I think is my best stuff very quickly when I’m in the moment or am grabbed by something I really want to say.
So when I decided that I wanted to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in lieu of birthday presents for my 40th birthday, I put off writing the reason why on my JustGiving page for weeks.
Then I wrote this, and I like what I wrote...
The fact that you are here means you are thinking about donating which is fantastic. Thank you so much. I should explain why I asked.
My grandad, Aniello de Gregorio and I shared a birthday, the 25 August. If he were still alive today he would have been 99 on my 40th birthday. He died aged 95.
There are few people I view as a hero, but my grandad is on the list. A hard working man born in the south of Italy who came to England to make a better life for his family.
He was a man of few words, but I hung on every one of them. He loved his family, his garden, his wife's cooking and the odd glass of red wine. He worked hard to keep southern Italian culture alive in Somerset and for that I love him even more.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needed full time care. I didn’t see him enough towards the end of his life, but when I did I was convinced I could see a flicker of recognition in his eyes. I was probably wrong.
I decided to ask for donations to the Alzheimer’s Society in lieu of 40th birthday presents because I don’t need anything. And no one should have to watch someone they love fade away like you do if they are struck with this horrible disease.
Thank you so much for giving.
And what happened next blew me away.
I had set myself the target of £400, well initially £300, but I decided that as a fundraiser I should set what I thought was a stretch target! I expected some close friends and family to give me a few pounds in lieu of the bottle of red wine or novelty gift that they would normally get.
Nothing of the sort. The response was amazing. People I have met briefly in real life or never met ever bar on Twitter proved to be unbelievably generous. And of course my family and close friends were superb. I've said thank you to everyone who has given, but I will say it again. THANK YOU! You're amazing!
Today, Sunday 18th September the total is £1,830. My JustGiving page helpfully tells me that’s 458% of my target. I am genuinely humbled by this.
And doing it all via JustGiving connected with the geek fundraiser in me. The thrill of getting an email telling you that you have a new donation is extraordinary. And when I sorted out the text to donate function I was in GEEK heaven, some numbers that will satisfy your inner geek:
- 96 donations in total
- £165 in SMS donations - 9% of the total value
- 21 gifts labelled as SMS - 22% of the total number
- £375 in Gift Aid
- £140 offline
So, here comes the financial ask I’m sure you're expecting.
Do you fancy helping me get to £2,000?
You can use your mobile phone and it’s very very easy. Think of it as sector research if nothing else.
To give £10 text PAUL71 £10 to 70070
To give £8 text PAUL71 £8 to 70070
And as all good telephone fundraisers know, 25% of response comes from the third ask, so to give £4 text PAUL71 £4 to 70070
Thanks very much.