As part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, today we see the launch of the #SmearForSmear campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the risks of cervical cancer and encourage women to attend smear tests.

Now, let’s get this out of the way first – cancer does not discriminate. Anyone who’s had a loved one suffer from any form of cancer will tell you that it’s harsh, destructive and incredibly cruel, yet, if caught early enough it is treatable and a potentially harrowing journey can be stopped in its tracks.

1 in 4 women in the UK don’t attend their scheduled smear tests and that drops to 1 in 3 for women between 25 and 29. This needs to change.  A study from the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that embarrassment was a key reason for not getting tested.

Whether male or female, the prospect of letting someone clinically analyse your bits and bobs can be daunting and can feel embarrassing, but just remember, they couldn’t care less! Doctors and nurses aren’t there to pass judgement or criticise; when it comes to smear test, their job is to potentially save your life.

Get tested. Be safe. Be happy.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Few people in modern history have had such a profound effect on the world as Martin Luther King Jr. 2018 marks 50 years since his death, assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee and today marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA.

As a pioneering voice in the Civil Rights movement in America, Mr. King was an example of standing up for a cause you believed in and making a positive difference.

Fuelled by a belief that the world should be a better, fairer and more just place, his charisma, ability to engage with people and advocacy for a cause that was bigger than anyone could really comprehend, is a lesson to us all.

Despite the world seeming like a divided place at times, we should all remember that fundamentally good begets good. If you care about something, then as long as you’re not hurting anyone, why not share it? You might interest someone else and they might just find the same passion and enjoyment that you get too. That’s how change starts.

Charity is a great place to focus this feeling. It’s really important to remember that ‘charity’ doesn’t mean you have to fish around in your pocket for a tenner and stick it in a collection box. Modern charity benefits just as much from you sharing their positive message as it does that tenner.

So why not take five minutes out of your day, maybe on the commute home or once you’ve put the kids to bed and find a cause that speaks to you. Then, next time you’re speaking to your partner, your friend, your family, why not raise it – share that positive message and do your own little bit to start the process of change.

We can’t all be a Martin Luther King Jr, but we can all follow his lead and stand up for a cause we feel passionate about.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

The Breakfast Club: London

We had a wonderful time at Aquavit on Wednesday, hosting the latest edition of The Breakfast Club: London.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Breakfast Club, it’s a free charity chat and breakfast that we host once a quarter, primarily for small and medium charities.

We encourage an open and relaxed environment with discussions taking place around a set theme.

Basically it’s a chance to share experiences, ideas and hopefully come up with a few suggestions, all whilst enjoying a rather fancy and delicious breakfast!

The first edition of The Breakfast Club in 2018 saw ten charity representatives discuss the forthcoming GDPR rollout; looking at what steps different organisations had taken so far, the impact on their ability to communicate with supporters and ways to utilise the new rules. Discussions moved from the potential role of social media as the mass engagement channel, to the benefits of cleaning up databases and using GDPR as an excuse for a clean slate.

The second item on the agenda was an introduction to a new charity engagement platform, whatCharity, presented by Founder, Tiia Sammallahti.

Launching in March, whatCharity is a platform for not-for-profit organisations to communicate with companies and supporters, allowing them to engage in a variety of ways, from donating goods or money, to volunteering and matching up charity needs with CSR initiatives.

Tiia gave an outline of the journey that led her to create whatCharity, as well as a sneak-peak at the platform on attendee’s smart phones, before answering questions.

Every charity in the UK will be listed on the site, so if you’d like to find out more about the platform and what your page will look like, please contact Shona on Shona@WhatCharity.com

If you’d like to join the next edition of The Breakfast Club: London, this Spring, please get in touch!

Evenings and weekends only…

It’s a new year and rather than look forward to the year ahead, we’re going to look back at giving in 2017. A report from the Co-op, released just before Christmas showed that women are both more likely donate money to and volunteer for charities, whereas, men donate significantly more money on average, per year.

The stats in isolation might seem a little uninteresting, I mean, what’s the difference between a man and a woman with regards to charity? Not a great deal – if you have a sick relative, you may well support a charity that focuses on that condition, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or woman. So why is there such a discrepancy in giving, especially in volunteering? I believe the answer may well lie in what charities can offer and how they offer it.

Based on research from the Co-op

The sector as a whole is getting better at recognising the need to diversify its support models, moving away from a reliance on and channelling everyone towards regular giving. Instead, charities are looking more broadly at different supporter touch-points; slowly learning that engaging with a charity needs to be on a supporter’s level, not the charity’s.

Despite the improvements, the stats show that men still aren’t volunteering anywhere close to the level of women – this can only be down to a lack of opportunity to do something that is both rewarding and interesting, and that activity being marketed in the right way.

So, it’s over to you! There’s a great untapped resource of volunteer hours if only someone would channel it in the right way. Why not think about what help you need, how you advertise it and see if there’s a way you can garner a whole new army of support.

Time’s Up

We are back in the office today after having a lovely time over Christmas with family, friends and loved ones and what better way to start the new year than with this new strong, powerful campaign…

Emma Stone and Natalie Portman are just two of hundreds of leading Hollywood women backing a new campaign to tackle sexual harassment.

Aiming to address the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential, this campaign follows on from the #MeToo movement, which encouraged victims to speak out in the wake of the Weinstein scandal.

Stone and Portman join other notable names including: Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Meryl Streep and Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer behind popular television series Grey’s Anatomy.

To mark the launch of the campaign, the group published an open letter on a full page advert in The New York Times and Spanish-language newspaper LA Opinion to the letter is a response to 700,000 farm workers who penned their own letter of solidarity in November.

Time’s Up will advocate for legislation to tackle workplace harassment across the US and is also backing a movement for women to wear black at this Sunday’s Golden Globes, in solidarity with those who have been harassed.