(another long post ...)
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, today I was invited down to the Cancer Research UK centre in Oxford – this time to present the 365challenge concept to the Central Division Area Volunteer Managers and their teams. This group deal with all volunteers and supporters of CRUK across the central band sweeping across the country: from the West coast of Wales to the far eastern edge of England; from Manchester in the North West to Bristol at the lower end, a catchment of some 20 million people (if any of the AVMs feel that I need putting right on this descriptor, please get in touch, I want to try to get things right on here!).
Peter Whalley, Regional Manager for this sector had spoken to Andrew Penny, AVM, who was part of the organising team behind arranging this division’s meeting, and as a result, I was invited to fill the final slot of the day, which is usually reserved for someone with an inspirational story or a fund-raising event to report on. Apparently, I ticked all the right boxes!
Anyway, I was invited to come along earlier in the day to attend a talk by one of the science team, and then some presentations by other CRUK personnel. And it certainly made for an interesting day. The science was inconclusive, but demonstrated how large the research studies going on around the world are … but more data is needed! Hey, where have I heard that before then?
But the other presentations helped me realise just how huge the CRUK organisation is: 2000 staff, plus 3000 scientists supported in research labs around the country (and beyond, probably!). It’s one of (if not THE) biggest charities in the country. And there is lots of work going on to develop their fund-raising initiatives so that they are more streamlined and effective in achieving their targets for the year. They set very impressive goals, and seem to have a pretty good success rate. They are involved in running hundreds of events each year, and their most successful last year was the Race for Life – 660000 women around the country raised £40m. Amazing!
One presenter spoke of new initiatives that they are developing, and I am now better able to understand why it can take a couple of years to bring some of these ideas on-line – there is a lot that they have to consider from the legal side, the promotional side, every side, and all this takes time. So, although they are now starting to look very seriously at the 365challenge, I expect that if they do get behind it formally, it could be a while off yet!
However … just ‘cos they might not officially be able to back it just yet, the reality is that more and more of the people on the ground for CRUK are getting to hear about the 365challenge because of my presentations, etc., and they all seem to love it – so as long as they go out there and spread the word, and potential 365’ers come looking to learn more from me, I’ll keep building it with them and beyond them!
Today’s group amounted to around 45 people, all hands-on folk with volunteers and supporters, the people who will actually be interested in this, and they really seemed to enjoy my presentation, just as last week’s group did. Lots of encouraging smiles and nods of heads, some good questions at the end, and again, several people saying that they want to take it on for themselves, while others let me know that they were already thinking of likely candidates from among their groups of supporters.
Lots of encouragement then, and Peter Whalley was very positive at the end, reassuring me that he would be following up with the Events and Business Management teams soon to see where they are up to.
One person asked about how they might get my message “out there”, perhaps in an information pack, and “what about a DVD?” Peter picked up on this, and started muttering about recording my presentation to put into the AVMs information packs, so they could sit down with supporters and play them … ME! Apparently they reckon I did a good job of selling the idea to them, so why not use me to sell it to everyone! Well, I’m up for most things, if it helps spread the word, but Donna, when she reads this, is going to just roll her eyes, look to the heavens and sigh “where will it end … ?”
Hopefully with the 365challenge established as a serious, on-going fund-raising strand for CRUK, generating lots of much-needed dosh!
As I‘ve said more than once … watch this space.