I do a lot of work for charity. I don’t like to talk about it. I prefer writing it down in a blog so it will stay on my website FOREVER and direct hits to my contact page so I get the maximum exposure possible.
Seriously, it is a lovely, yet difficult, prospect. The charity I am currently supporting is the Mityana Charity, who are doing unbelievably wonderful things in Mityana, Uganda.
They work tirelessly to ensure that children in Mityana get sponsorship from the UK to enable them to do the things that we just take for granted – go to school, for one thing. Have school books, a uniform, a school bag, school meals… and all for a yearly cost of just £125. This sponsorship includes…
“a year's school fees, a pair of shoes, shoe polish, a school uniform, pens, pencils, paper, exercise books, maths equipment, a school bag, a broom, soap, toilet paper. The school fees pay for a lunch for the child and for a mug of dilute maize porridge at break time in the morning, often the first food or drink they have had since the previous evening.”
You can also donate directly (http://mityanacharity.org/donate.php) and sponsor older children (http://mityanacharity.org/sponsorship_sec.php). Their projects include sanitation, education, health, and much more.
This work came about through another client who asked me to give Mityana a hand with their marketing. I’m doing as much as I can, providing advice and contributing to their social media feeds, but it’s a difficult thing to juggle with paying work. You want to help more, but practically it’s not always going to happen. So I feel that my contributions are sporadic, not always as thought through as they could be, and although generally helpful not as professional as I would want (much like my approach to blogging).
Perhaps this is the problem with a freelance approach to marketing – would Mityana Charity be better off approaching a larger agency with more time and a CSR allocation to help them (are YOU that agency?) or should we all just muddle through because any help is just that?
From running a marathon (someone is running a marathon for Mityana Charity, you can find out more and donate HERE) to making it a school wide charity thing (Mityana has had a lot of support from Wellington College) to writing out a few Twitter or Facebook posts from time to time, we all have a part to play in supporting those with less than ourselves.
I had a sudden ridiculous revelation today. I am pretty amazing. Look at me, running my own business, looking after a kid, a dog and a husband, always something to eat in the fridge (slightly soft apples count) and a house never that untidy that it will give you a flesh-eating virus (yet). Clothes clean, bills get paid, stuff gets fixed. I’m actually not doing that bad.
I was on a high as I’d actually done something usually beyond my comfort zone – stuck to my guns, said no and stuck up for myself… and actually got results. I couldn’t believe it. It took so much for me to be quite blunt about the facts and risk it that someone might not like me because of what I said… and the hard work paid off. I felt amazing.
I’d also drunk a zillion coffees today too, but let’s ignore that detail.
So, yeah, I was feeling pretty on top of things. I am feeling pretty on top of things. It made me think about the planned strike in America for International Women’s Day. I think it’s a fantastic idea – the idea of stopping all the paid and unpaid contributions that women make to society is a big one, and it has been proven to have made a significant impact in Iceland in the 1970s.
However, will it make that much of a difference now? Women have so many responsibilities to keep the world turning and we really REALLY feel that sense of responsibility. We are so worried about eating right, looking right, having the right home, teaching our children the right things, making sure they are watching the right amount of television, reading the right books, have we done all the washing, have we signed that petition, could we be doing more, is the PTA thing today or tomorrow, how can I help them, should I stand up for myself a bit more in meetings, is that pipe leaking, does my car need a service, should I lose some weight, I don’t think I’m organized enough, has my child got a concentration problem, should I be doing more, am I doing the right things…. And on and on and on.
I just really don’t feel like we can turn that switch off so easily. Striking from a job is one thing, striking from a life is another.
So here is what I am doing –I am on strike from being guilty. I am on strike for trying to do the right thing all the time. I am on strike from making myself feel bad.
I am going to recognise all the awesome things I do everyday and I think you should join me. Give yourself a high five or a stupid dance every time you do something good. Even if it’s just a smart email or dropping the kids off at school. You did good, lady!
If we start appreciating our contribution to society for what it is, other people will do too. Trust me – Good luck!
Freelance Marketing Consultant, especially that Social Media stuff.