Friday, 23 October 2009

Mega-Raid and mini-rant

Today is one of my favourite days of the year when I down normal tools and become a volunteer. It is our annual mega-raid where Raggies (students!) descend on London and collect for us in a number of central stations to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and next week’s wear it pink. They collect the money and we support them which means that almost every member of staff is involved because they want to know how much each team has collected at the end of the day.

Our Community team has the logistics of this down to a fine art. One staff team comes equipped with back packs and travels all over central London collecting cash and bringing it back to base. The other team takes over our main meeting room and counts and bags the money. That’s the best bit and I elbow my way in to make sure that I get to operate one of the cash counting machines. The money is then banked by the third team.

As I write this during the afternoon we have already passed the £25,000 total and we will work until all the money has been counted and taken away.

It is also an opportunity for me to talk to some of our volunteers and members of staff that I don’t normally spend much time with and also to forget about the nightmare that is the Royal Mail strike. We were savaged by this a couple of years ago and here we go again – just at the time when we need the mail the most. We have volunteers all over the country who are going to great lengths to raise money for us – we raise over a third of our income this month – and they can’t get the materials they need and are frustrated, as are we. We have had to resort to much more expensive ways of sending things which isn’t how we should be spending our money.

It isn’t just business that is affected by this – charities are as well. We have staff who work nights and weekends without overtime. We are incredibly grateful for all our supporters, volunteers and staff at this time of year. As much as strikes like this are complex issues, the inadvertent impact for organisations like ours is less funds, and in our case that’s less money for life saving research.

To our supporters, I say please bear with us through this period if your fundraising materials haven’t arrived and we all hope the strike is resolved as soon as possible.

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