Tag Archives: sponsor

A Long Drop

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As I sit and write this I am now in Egham, Surrey (or thereabouts) and counting down the hours until the dreaded bungee jump. I think I am far more nervous about the jump than for leaving England or any of the other challenges I’ll face on India. I don’t mind the thought of falling – I’d love to do a skydive, just as soon as they make it cheaper – but the recoil from the rope, and having no control over your motion, already makes me feel queasy.

Fortunately I’ve had lots of positive responses from friends, work colleagues, and family. My sponsorship form has been pinned up at work for a few weeks gradually gaining signatures, and more people have been asking me about it. I haven’t really been concentrating on getting sponsorship in recent weeks however due to the proximity of other fundraising events, and hence I have yet to reach my target amount. Sponsorship currently adds up to just under £200, and ideally I would love to triple this!

I know that I have only 23 hours and 35 minutes in which to do this (oh god), but I know I can get more people to sponsor me. This is so important for me to be able to cover the accommodation costs whilst I’m volunteering in India. Though comparitively cheaper to live in than the UK, Bangalore is still reasonably expensive for India, and over a year’s stay will likely cost in excess of £2000. As my budget currently stands, I do not have enough to pay for the whole year and really need to up my ante in this regard.

For the first two months I’ll be living with a family about 5km from the SICHREM office. I don’t know if they have any children, or what sort of home/area they live in, but I am so excited for the chance to live as part of the local community. It will far exceed any tourist guide or book, and should let me settle in very easily. Once I’ve got acquainted and can navigate my way round the city like a pro, and maybe even having picked up some culinary prowess, I might then go on to stay in an apartment with another family, or share a place with a professional city worker. I may even get super-confident and stay by myself in a newly-built set of apartments in the city. All of these options, my supervisor at the charity tells me, come in under 15000 INR a month (£200ish), and the homestay option where I also receive 2 full meals a day, is only £130/month!

Despite this, I still desperately require funds to be able to afford everything. I therefore ask, if you would like to help me in working unpaid for this fantastic charity, and support a volunteer placement which will be making a genuine and important difference to people’s awareness of, and experiences of, human rights issues in South India, please support me online, or in person by signing my sponsorship form. I am in Egham until Tuesday or Wednesday next week, so if you don’t see me before my ordeal, you still have time to make my day. 🙂

I cannot emphasise enough how much I am loathe to do this bungee jump, and am genuinely scared at the thought of stepping off that platform. If nothing else, please sponsor me just to see me suffer. Evidence of my pain will be posted tomorrow, in full hd!

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A Busy Week

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As the title suggests, this week has been a bit jam-packed. Thus, despite my good intentions, I have again not come around to putting up this blog post as soon as I would have liked.

Anyhow, I received a call late on Thursday night last week from a lady I have been liaising with from Brigg Town Council, asking if I wanted to gatecrash another event (not quite her words) the following evening. I went along with bucket and fresh raffle ticket book in hand, and perched at the top of the stairs waiting for any unsuspecting attendees to walk in. My placement was clearly spot-on, as it enabled me to capture £46 from all the people who didn’t manage to sprint past me fast enough. What a fantastic and rapid way to boost my fundraising! I also succeeded in inundating all of these lovely people with flyers for my upcoming fundraising evening with local business Design Orchard. Looks like my efforts might be more successful yet!

The Saturday following this was devoted then to a pre-planned stall at Wrawby Autumn Fair, in the village hall. I was indecisively umm-ing and aah-ing about going beforehand, as I was meant to be at work that day, but committed in the end to the fundraising task ahead – and I am so glad I did!

I walked into the hall during the initial set-up expecting it be dead, and was shocked at the number of stalls that were already in place. I think I was the last one to be ready. I had a huge table (which I spent about 20 minutes re-arranging, much to my Nan’s annoyance – thanks Nan for the help by the way!).

My Nan, the ever-faithful helper

There was a real village atmosphere (or was that just me?) as I saw old faces from my primary school years coming in  and pretty much every one of them bought something from me. Even though the completion of some of the Christmas tree decorations was still ongoing during the 2 hours that the fair was open to the public, I managed to make £42.50! That’s over £80 in two days – enough for…about a month’s food in India? Or perhaps a quarter of the cost of my visa if you want to put it that way.

I was so pleased with myself, and the stall looked fantastic, as did all the decorations.

Some girl stood behind a stall

The professional touch…

After clearing up and taking the remaining stock home, I spent the rest of my week putting the finishing touches to the final few decorations still needing buttons/ribbons/wire. It may not sound like a lot of work, but such small things can take a very long time to get through, especially when you keep stabbing yourself with the needle. If I wasn’t self-employed, I’d be able to sue my boss for damages.

Just when it seemed that all was nearly completed, with only the final 20 or so pieces to finish, my poor, overworked sewing machine had a massive tantrum and started eating anything I put under its foot. Feeling confident, I pulled out my special lubricating oil and subjected every moving part I could see to rivers of the stuff. After this didn’t work however, and my machine continued to make a horrible clacking noise, I enlisted the help of my Dad. Together, we nearly dismantled the thing in an attempt to get at the inner machinery. Eventually I found the problem, smothered all the cogs in petroleum jelly, and it began sewing again like a dream. Pity it only took me a whole afternoon to figure that out.

Thursday evening then saw the completion of the final favour, which brings us to today.

This Saturday was the date I’ve been counting down to for over a month and a half, the one which began the entire crazed sewing project. The Humberside WI Christmas Fair. I therefore expected to sell as much of my stock as possible, and in the best scenario sell out, making a couple of hundred pounds in the process. I also had some silk scarves imported from India which sold like hot-cakes at the Wrawby fair.

Scarves imported from India, modelled by my mannequin

But I was bitterly disappointed by the lack of customer interest. Despite a great deal of footfall throughout the day, and the fair being open for six hours, I only sold 5 items from my stall, and made up the rest of my pitiful £34.50 profit from raffle ticket sales. In all honesty it wasn’t really worth me going, and I’ll now have to put the rest of my (mountain) of stock onto ebay or etsy (more to come on that). It’s ironic that I did much better on an event which only arose because I was already planning to attend this one. It wasn’t for lack of customer interest. I think the people who came to the fair were in general more interested in having an afternoon out than seriously purchasing goods, as several of the other stall holders also did poorly on sales.

Well, the experience has still served me a valuable lesson. I’ll now be focussing more of my attention onto selling raffle tickets – they’re easy to carry on me at all times and have a low mark-up price which encourages more people to buy. Furthermore, they don’t need to run out, as I can always purchase another book. 🙂

On a brighter note, my next upcoming event should be great fun. Scunthorpe’s Amnesty International group have kindly agreed to hold a joint fundraiser evening for me, where some of the profits will be mine, and the rest Amnesty’s. It’s basically a curry evening where people pay to attend and get their meal. I still need to think of something to contribute, edible or otherwise…until next time!

Frustration

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Different events are drawing near, and time seems to be running out. I’ve got my first craft fair coming up this Saturday in my village, but I’m already triple booked for that day – what to do!? I’m currently debating whether or not to enlist some parental help in getting my stall sorted, whilst simultaneously working in two other places at once. In addition, my pile of decorations, though looking beautiful and fairly substantial, are still not finished. I’ve been frantically hand-stitching for a whole day and I still have to attach all of the ribbons to hang them with. Looks like my next day off is going to consist of me being locked in a room by myself until they’re all done!

I’ve finally started to bite the bullet on collecting bungee jump sponsorships off people too. I hate asking people for money, and it’s been stopping me for quite a while. However, now that there’s less than a month to go, and given how much I’m dreading the jump, the back of my mind has started shouting at me to make it all worthwhile. Last night I descended on my lovely work colleagues and badgered them all into giving me their autographs…”£100? Yes, just sign here please…”

Things are also starting to become increasingly real. I have my vaccinations booked for tomorrow, thankfully only the one, and all my medications sorted for the year. And I don’t have to take anti-malarials in Bangalore! I’m so glad that I won’t be constantly itching for a year (the tablets don’t agree with me). Though the travel nurse assured me that if I was to go anywhere north of Hyderabad, or into Goa, I must get some. So, basically, I should be taking them anyway, as I intend to go to all those places.

Most of the weekend was spent trawling price comparison sites and deal-finders, and I was ready to book yesterday – I even got so far as ringing the flight agency – only to be told my flights had disappeared (apparently). 😦  Time to start looking again.

Earth Energies Evening

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My first (proper) fundraiser event!

Jan Cassells from Earth Energies, giving her talk on the benefits of fruit and veg

I was invited by Jan from Earth Energies (www.earth-energies.co.uk) to attend her talk in Broughton (a nearby village) on her business and its ethos. She spoke about the multitude of benefits from eating fruit and veg, and about so many of the ill-effects from other foods that I think I may never eat anything but apples again. The one that sticks in my mind is the plastic coating that develops from margarine if you leave it long enough. :S

But on a happier note, I gave a quick speech at the end about the work I would be doing and appealed for donations. Even though there were only a handful of people there I managed to raise a fantastic £20.88. I never cease to be amazed by how generous people are.

This has been highlighted again by two of my friends donating to me online almost as soon as I created an event for my sponsored bungee jump. I never would have thought people would be so willing to help me get to India. My running fundraising total so far is £235.49. Keep it coming!

Mad Ideas

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After last week’s success in the fundraising stakes, things have gone less well this week. The Rotary Club have no monies left for me, and my cakes that I left in the work canteen got thrown away by the kitchen staff. Damn them and their food hygiene! Having also sent off my dubious application to the local council, and having just received a pay cheque substantially lower than what I expected (:O), I decided it was time for to take drastic fundraising action.

Initially I was contemplating a sponsored skydive, but the cheapest I could find cost over £200. £200 for 30 seconds of free-fall!? Next was bungee jumping, but I really hate the idea so just put it to one side. I then found an online offer to take a fire-walking course – amazing! – but it was all the way down in Taunton. It was looking possible, and I was about to use my tesco vouchers for the 5 and a half hour train journey there, when I clicked the button ‘activity days: adrenalin’ and found that I could bungee jump for absolutely nothing (well, in fake tesco money).

So I’ve now ended up doing the one thing I least wanted to do, and actually feel quite terrified about it. I love free-fall rides at theme parks, but I’ve been on those bouncing things too where they strap you in a harness, and I hated the feeling of being pulled back up again. :S The only thing that will make me jump off the edge of that platform is knowing people will have sponsored me. Might have to get a helpful shove on the day. I’ve set the date for December 1st, what a way to start Christmas! 😀

Fundraising Target

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So I got a letter in the post on Friday from the village parish council, saying that they wanted to sponsor me with £50! I’m so happy! That equates to nearly 6 months of anti-malarials, or 1/6 of my visa. I didn’t expect such a quick response, having only sent a request to them the week before. Following on from this success I’ve now just finished another application to my regional council, which would make a massive difference to my fundraising target if I got it as their standard amount to give to individuals is £500.

This also made me think perhaps I should let more people know what the money is actually going towards, and the sort of target I’m aiming for. Obviously I’m hoping to fund as much as possible from my own pocket, but unfortunately minimum wage waitressing/betting assistant/mystery shopper/avon sales rep/busker just doesn’t cut it in the savings stakes. So here, for you perusal, is my budget for the year:

Item Total cost
Return flight London-Bangalore £500
Employment visa (working unpaid with a charity) £310
Anti-malarials (12 months) £120
Travel insurance (12 months) £450
Accommodation (12 months) £2000
Living costs (est. £30/week) £1560
10% contingency £494
Total project cost £5434

…about £5400, which is cheaper than you can live on in the UK for a year.

The Ball is Rolling

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Wow! Things are really starting to pick up now. My day-by-day to-do list has extended into a two week deadline sheet, and I have so many people to contact and liase with I am in danger of needing to make an excel spreadsheet.

I also had my first online donation today, at a fantastic £20! This was however after I realised that the first site I had been using worked in US dollars, and thus came out at around twelve pounds. My tech-savvy brother then pointed me towards another blog site where you can manipulate the html code, allowing me to post my very own paypal buttons onto the page!!! I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but at the moment it makes me feel very accomplished and professional. The “sponsor me” link from this blog remains the same. Here’s the site: donatetoabigail.blogspot.co.uk.

I implemented my cake plan at work too, and by the time I left at lunch there was already £3 exactly in the little collection tin I cobbled together. Pictures will ensue soon. For now, here is one of the collection bucket I made for my cake sale yesterday.

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Making money

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So the last few days have been VERY productive. I managed to get a member of the local Town Council on board with my cause and she’s already set me up with loads of events. Today I made £34.55 at a wedding fair with a stall selling my own (fine) efforts at cake-baking and with a massive orange bucket which I nicked off my Dad. People were far more willing to donate than I ever would have expected, which makes me think I could do more, though I must admit not many people wanted to buy the cakes. Obviously they just weren’t very hungry, and it had nothing to do with the butter cream melting everywhere.

I also gained another offer for sponsorship in voucher form from one of the other stall-holders, and we banded about plenty of new ideas, including face painting children and then holding them to ransom (joke). I’m planning to do a car boot selling cakes, and it’s looking likely, with the rising offers of vouchers, that a raffle may be possible. Maybe also a guess-how-many-sweets-in-the-jar…yum.

Further, I’ve been given the idea to leave cakes in the canteen at work with an honesty box for donations, as a good regular income source, and to try and find a sky-diving voucher on groupon. I’ve been racking my brain for a while over what sort of activity I might be able to do to generate individual sponsorship, and sky-diving was definitely one of them. With a voucher to reduce the cost, it would definitely be worth doing.

I did actually consider selling my eggs – they go for £750 in London! – but apparently nobody wants babies with asthma, so that’s my quick cash fix out the window. Back to the cake-baking 🙂

Hold your breath for the next batch of fundraising news, when I’ll try and remember to take loads of pictures!

Sponsorship

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So I got my first proper sponsor this week from a local business, who gave me a £25 voucher and invited me to come and take donations at a talk they have set up in September – fantastic! I just wish more  businesses would respond so positively. I’m planning to use that voucher as a raffle prize…just need to set up an event where I can sell it. All ideas welcome!

I’ve also been trying to set up links with some primary/secondary schools in the area to do talks with the pupils. I was thinking around the subject of human rights, but to be honest, at the moment, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It would be better to raise awareness when I return, but some interest is better than no interest.

Having now started working (properly) I’m also permanently tired and mentally frazzled, so printing off a pristine to-do list has been about the only step forward for the coming week. I’m going to be tough on myself, despite working every day over the next 7 days, and force myself to achieve certain tasks. First stop, the local parish council!