Whilst walking the West Highland Way for Cyrenians last month, I tried to be a bit too clever in “teeing-up” Twitter comments by prewriting general sections of text about the trip to cut and paste and then adding up to date info and pictures. In doing so I committed the cardinal error of using the wrong Twitter handle for Cyrenians, mostly because I depend on Twitter identifying whoever I am mentioning – but because I was prewriting in a Word document the mistake was not picked up by the usual Twitter algorithm or however it predicts these things. I was 4 tweets into the journey before I noticed! Very embarrassing indeed for a CEO to get his organisation’s Twitter handle wrong…
Given that level of digital incompetence I feel a bit of a chancer promoting participation in a powerful digital based campaign this week – but I think it’s worth the risk!
Giving Tuesday is an annual initiative set up by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) which encourages people to do good things for their favourite cause. It follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday on and off-line sales and is a way for people to give something back after a glut of consumerism. In 2017 it is Tuesday 28th November. #GivingTuesday was the most popular hashtag of 2016
On the day people can choose to support any charity in any way they want; bake good stuff, make good stuff, donate good stuff, tweet good stuff or even say good stuff ‐ along with a donation.
The campaign was first brought to the UK in 2014. The early campaigns were incredibly successful, with over 800 partners on board in the first year, growing to 1,400 by year two. Cyrenians became a partner in 2016.
In 2015 over £6,000 was donated every minute to charity (via UK visa cards) and the campaign helped to break the world record for the most amount of money donated online to charity in 24 hours – £35m globally (via PayPal). In 2016 the campaign underwent a re-brand and raised £48m on the day.
This year, Cyrenians are encouraging people to support Giving Tuesday by posting an Unselfie.
Each Unselfie will be a photo of that person with a sign stating what pleasure they are going without in order to donate the money saved to Cyrenians Christmas appeal. E.g. Take-away coffee or chocolate
Cyrenians Christmas Appeal runs for the whole of December and asks for donations to The Perfect Christmas.
What makes the perfect Christmas? There are many answers to that question – few of which in truth really refer to the shopping list approach “but this will make the perfect Christmas” promoted by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What we do know is whatever we might like to find in our stocking, we all need food, shelter and company to make Christmas (and life) work, however much we layer on top.
Cyrenians support access to these things, not only at Christmas, but 365 days of the year – which is why this blog is being published the day after #GivingTuesday – and not because of more incompetence in my part – in this case it’s a deliberate move to promote something after the official date. We need support all year round and so our #GivingTuesday appeal is the start of a longer and wider appeal for support all year round.
Cyrenians year’s appeal aims to raise £10,000 and encourages people to donate linked to a different kind of Christmas shopping List. On the list are items which provide the basics for a perfect Christmas:
- £5 could pay for someone to enjoy a Christmas lunch at one of our Community Cook Clubs where they would be made welcome every week of the year to enjoy good food in good company.
- £10 would over the cost of Christmas lunch for a young person at one of our residential communities, enjoying a traditional Christmas for the first time.
- £25 would pay for a monthly mediation session for a young person at risk of homelessness to sit down with their family in a safe space and try to keep them together through Christmas
- £50 could pay for a family in housing crisis to access support and advice at Christmas.
- £500 could fund a series of Christmas lunches with Golden Years; our project for older people who find themselves excluded in later life.
If you can help, thank you very much indeed. Please let us know via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtags #perfectchristmas, #365days, #notjustforchristmas – 3 to choose from but you can be sure I’ll be checking and double checking them before I try to use them myself – otherwise my now almost shattered digital reputation will not just be for Christmas but for life!