Fundraising Ideas that Actually Work

Any fundraising project can be intimidating, especially when you have a huge target to raise! At the beginning of my second year of University, I volunteered to join a fundraising group with a target of £1,750 each for the FutureSense Foundation. Clearly, this is a LOT of money to raise, and the process was a very demanding and sometimes stressful experience. But, one of many silver linings that came from it was that I learnt some lessons along the way. The project ended up being incredibly rewarding. If you would like to see a post about what I would have done differently throughout this journey, let me know in the comments! But for now, I am going to tell you all about some fundraising ideas that actually work:

Throw parties

A bit of a change and a good night out is sure to attract attention. If you are a university student, see if the bars connected to your student union will let you use their location for free! As well as a cheese and wine night at home, at my university I arranged a Great Gatsby themed party at a student bar. These events were extremely helpful in getting us closer towards our fundraising targets. All you need to do to make these nights a success is:

  • Choose a party theme!
  • Make a suitable playlist
  • Decide how you will raise your money. If you can’t charge entry at your venue, consider asking if you could sell wristbands so people can get drinks discounts. At our Gatsby event, this is what we did and it worked wonderfully well.
  • Create some themed food / drinks to serve your guests (cocktails are great if you’re of age, if not, mocktails will do the trick!!)
  • Think about what else you could do entertainment wise, (we did a photo booth). Games and activities are sure to work wonders as well, especially if there is a small extra charge.
  • Think of other small fundraisers you could add to the night (eg. raffle, tombola, food sales, face paint, temporary tattoos, hair braiding). All of this will add up and get you so much closer to your target.

Get your friends involved in a sponsored sporting event.

I would not have gotten anywhere near my fundraising target without the help of my wonderful friends. The more people you can get involved in a sponsored event, the more money you will raise! I participated in two 10k sponsored walks alongside friends, and the money we raised is a number I could never have made alone.

Bake Sales and Tombolas

Not the most unique way to make money, but certainly among the most effective and the easiest to arrange! Cakes are cheap to make and always are appealing! And, it is easy to grab a book of raffle tickets on the cheap. These small events are most effective in a school environment, where hungry students are likely to be generous, or to help your bigger events earn that little bit extra. Get people to help you out by donating prizes! I raised almost £60 by running a tombola for only an hour at a local school. It can easily be done.

Pub Quizzes

This is one of the easiest events to plan! You can write the questions yourself, or simply have a google and find some online! Along with a friend, I arranged two pub quizzes with the categories: Music, Literature, Geography, History, General Knowledge and Catch Phrases. All you need to do is arrange a location, write the questions, advertise and just have fun on the night! We charged £3 for an individual entry and £10 for a team of up to 6 people. Doing this, we raised roughly £60 at each quiz.

Live music events

Who doesn’t love a bit of live music? It is an amazing experience to go out and watch some local talent! While I lack musical ability myself, I am lucky to have wonderfully talented and generous friends happy to help out. Again, all you need to do is arrange a location, advertise your event, sell tickets and have fun on the night. You could arrange a gig, open mic night or even a karaoke. With the right advertising, these events can up your fundraising total loads!

Sell things online or have a garage sale

You can have a good old de-clutter and raise some money while you are at it! It really is a win/win situation! It is surprising how much stuff you own which you do not really need. These objects can find themselves a new home where they will be more appreciated, and the money can go to a charitable cause!

Yes, fundraising is tough. And I didn’t realise how difficult it would be until I volunteered to take part in it myself. But, it can also be fun and rewarding. If you put work in from the start, you can save yourself a lot of stress and make yourself proud! All of these ideas worked well for me, and I’m sure they can work for you too! Keep going and I’m sure you will see results.

Thank you very much for reading,

Hannah Lucy xxx

Learning to ‘Not Give a Toss’: A Review of ‘The Good Girl’s Guide to Being a D*ck’

Rating: 3.5 / 5.

The art of saying what you want, asking for what you need and getting the life you deserve

I view myself as somebody who is always happy to help out a friend. I’ll support them in their talents and passions, proofread their essays and lend an ear to an problems that arise. What I am not good at though, regarding helping people, is drawing a line. And that is not to say that often I want to. For the most part, I am not just willing, but enthusiastic to do these things for people. They make me happy, and hopefully make other people’s day as well. In my eyes, that’s a win-win situation!

Yet, what I have found it hard to realise throughout my life, is that I do not owe this help to anybody. And that if a case arises where I am not happy to spend time with a person, help them with their work, or do countless favours for somebody: I don’t have to. Of course, to me, this does not apply to my friends and family, but those acquaintances that I am not too close to, and that may not return the favour. The message of this book is clear: if a social event feels obligatory or forced, it is simply not worth your time.

Though the title of the book is what drew me to it, I have no intention, or arguably capability to be a ‘d*ck’, at least not in this stage of my life. I cannot speak for my past, or my distant future. But at present, I like to think I am at least a decent person to those around me. In fact, when I picked this book up at the bookstore, I immediately received comments from my friends that this would be the perfect book for me.

In the form of a memoir, self help, and comedy, this book teaches you to live your life for yourself, and not for the approval or benefit of everybody you come across. It explains that sometimes, you might have to be a bit of a ‘d*ck’ to avoid being a pushover. You are allowed to decline if someone asks you for a favour or invites you to a party that sounds absolutely horrendous. If you would much rather invest your time with your loved ones over your acquaintances, that is not only permissible but perfectly reasonable.

While this book did speak to me on a level that was just a tad too personal, this is not to say it will have a huge impact on how I live my life. But, it has taught me where the line can be drawn between being kind, and having your willingness to help be taken advantage of.

Three Shows to Check Out at Edinburgh Fringe

Choosing which shows to enjoy while at Edinburgh Fringe can be a daunting task, due to the almost never-ending list of talent residing in your event programme. However, I hope to make your decision just that little bit easier by recommending three great shows that I have already had the privilege of seeing. ‘And Then They Died’, ‘Taking Flight’ and ‘Consumers’ are all incredible performances that are well worth the watch! I hope you all enjoy them just as much as I did.

‘And Then They Died’ by Riddled Image

It’s nice working with a friendly, interactive audience as is often the case with these small scale shows.

Josh Bennett, Riddled Image

Five chairs. A podium. And a grave. All in darkness. The design elements of this production certainly contrast the more lighthearted and touching response that it produces. The confusing, unclaimed grave is at the forefront of the stage, and is the only splash of colour in a scene that is otherwise saturated in darkness. It is a constant reminder of the mysterious mortality at the centre of the plot that nobody can quite understand.

The members of Riddled Image are attending a funeral, but this event renders one key problem. Nobody knows who the grave belongs to. All they know is that it must belong to one of them. But how do they solve the mystery? Don’t miss this wonderfully produced performance, and join this theatre company in their mission to discover exactly which one of them belongs in the grave.

Intriguing and lively, this show includes a perfect combination of comedy, uniform structure and moving songs to tell their story. It really is a show that cannot be missed. ‘And Then They Died’ is a perfect composition of the downcast, the high-spirited and the poignant, a compelling abundance of emotions that I’d recommend to anyone. This production has been staged in Bath, London and Bristol – and will end it’s tour at the Edinburgh fringe!

‘Taking Flight’ by Zero Hour Theatre

This is our first performance as an ensemble. We have spent a lot of time creating our characters and scenes together, and the process has been a lot of fun.

Dominic Sweeney, Zero Hour

Presenting character’s frustration, boredom and not forgetting their bright orange suitcases, ‘Taking Flight’ explores the backstories of the passengers on a plane experiencing an emergency landing. While the travellers initially comment on the inconvenience and irritation caused by their current situation, their thoughts soon wander to deeper places, and they reflect on the their personal lives: the mistakes they have made, the opportunities they have ignored, and the relationships they have destroyed.

This production perfectly shows how the same experience of tragedy can impact people in different ways, and how in moments of despair, we agonise over what means the most to us: namely our families, friends, and other meaningful relationships. All of the characters have complex backstories, ranging from struggles among family to being a witness of hugely traumatic mass slaughter. A perfect reminder that everyone around us has their own story to tell, ‘Taking Flight’ impactfully refreshes our memory of the fact that we can never know for sure what others have experienced, and how the events in peoples’ lives impact their current attitudes and actions.

‘Consumers’ by Tough Yolk

The venue provided an intimate space between ourselves and the audience; and gave us the depth we needed to move swiftly through our many transitions

George Hill, Tough Yolk

Intense, creative and albeit ‘slightly’ confusing, the charming randomness of ‘Consumers’ will leave you questioning ‘what on earth is going on here?’. This show thrives off confusing the audience, intentionally leaving key elements of the story unexplained, letting the audience fill in the blanks with their own imagination. The incomprehensible characters and contexts throughout this piece leave the audience fighting to understand the meaning behind the extremely unusual star of the show: the nectarine.

This comedy group flourishes from a high degree of audience interaction, in a way that prompts the audience to have fun with the cast, rather than sit back and be passively entertained. As Tough Yolk’s George Hill says, this performance ‘challenges conventional norms of entertainment’.

‘Consumers’ is certainly a show to arouse a spirit of inquiry. Rather than annoyance at the unexplained features of the show, they kindle the curiosity and creativity of the audience to draw their own conclusions of what the show is portraying. And believe me, I’m sure there are infinite interpretations you could offer. ‘Consumers’ is a bold production with animated energy, which you will indisputably hold in high regard. Yet, despite the great amusement it provides, you won’t be able to stop pondering the deeper meanings both of the show, or life itself.

My Latest Book Haul!

When I first mentioned to my boyfriend about making a book haul post, he looked horrified. Because in his mind, me making a book haul post would involve me scraping the remainder of my bank account to buy more texts that I really do not have room to store. The accuracy of that statement, in my opinion, is irrelevant.

Okay yes, I spent money that I should have saved on some new additions to my extensive paperback collection, but I doubt anyone can really blame me! And since I am sharing these books with you, technically it’s a productive purchase.

So, here is a list of the new books I have bought:

Boy Erased’ by Garrard Conley

LGBT representation in the media is a topic that I feel passionately about, so when I saw this book I knew I had to buy it. This memoir focuses on the author’s experience in conversion therapy, which I am expecting to be a moving and unsettling read. I am keen to use this book to learn more about the experiences of those in conversion therapy, as I am fairly ignorant to the topic. I’m sure this book will be a great reminder of why pride is a necessary event, and how far we still need to go to reach equality and acceptance regarding sexuality.

‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero

I believe that we all need to hype ourselves up sometimes, and in my case, the way to do this is through a good old self help book. Insecurity and self doubt is a huge part of my life, as I am sure it is for most of you as well, but it is a part of myself that I have a strong desire to combat. I have so much faith in the talents and abilities of my friends, and there really should be no reason why that same level of confidence should not be attributed to myself as well. Books like this are a strong motivating factor in working to improve my life, and make the most out of it while I still can. I need some help along the way, but that is my primary goal at present. So hopefully, this purchase will influence me in the most positive of ways.

‘Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction’ by David Sheff

I always find stories of drug addiction intriguing, though I cannot pinpoint exactly why. I suppose it is because it is enlightening, in a way, the tales of how easy it is to get sucked into a self-destructive way of life, and how difficult it is to combat it once you are there. I have thoroughly enjoyed other books on the topic, for example ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Fray, ‘Mad Girl’ by Briony Gordon, and ‘A Streetcat Named Bob’ by James Bowen. This combined with a father / son relationship, I feel, will make the story very touching. The expression of male emotion is also something I am keen to find in literature, as it is a very important thing to acknowledge, and one that is often sugarcoated and ignored.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Being a D*ck by Alexandra Reinworth

While at first, patience and helpfulness may seem like desirable traits, they have become some of my worst. I often find myself prioritising others before myself, even in situations where I really should look out for my own well-being (it sounds like a humble brag, but it is a genuine problem). Supposedly, this book will teach me how to prioritise myself more, stop worrying about what others think of me and aim for what I want in life without devoting it entirely to others. Of course, I don’t envision myself becoming a ‘d*ck’, but becoming more self motivated and empowering is high on my list of life goals. Realistically, I don’t think I am capable of being too demanding and assertive in my day to day life, but this book will hopefully guide me into being slightly less of a pushover. Or at least, a pushover who knows what she wants and how to get it, despite having some distractions along the way.

‘The World Was Silent When We Died’: A Review of Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Rating: 4.5/5

The World Was Silent When We Died

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

Set in 1960s Nigeria, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is a wonderful presentation of how both political and personal life can be wrecked by chaos. Narrated by three key individuals: Ugwu, a young, poor Igbo boy, Olanna, an upper-class Igbo woman, and Richard, a white, British writer fascinated with Nigerian life and culture, this novel explores conflicts of both physical and emotional nature. The text delves into the fragile co-existence of loyalty and infidelity within the state, relationships and families alike. Fluctuating between the early and late 1960s, the non-chronological format of this book adds an aura of suspense, a capriciousness between war and peace, love and hate.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie adds a personal touch to the all too recent political crisis of the Nigerian Civil War. She explores how the lives of innocent civilians can be torn apart by the abominable journey from peace, to massacre, to rebellion, and to war. Her presentation of the bitter contempt of enraged crowds, the inconsolable grief of mothers holding their dying children, and the ugly, raw depictions of carnage brought an overwhelming sense of horror to my ignorant mind. As someone who prior to reading this book had little to no knowledge of this historical event, my eyes were opened to it through her mournful and vivid descriptions.

My favourite aspect of this book was most certainly the distinctness between the attributes of each key character; the three narrators in particular of varied classes, races, genders and ages. This allowed me to view the same conflict through the eyes of these different social groups. Not only does this show how reactions to emergencies can differ between individuals, but also how crisis can reduce those of all social types to the same degree of loss and suffering. No character is without flaws, and on many occasions I found myself disapproving and judging the actions of even the most lovable characters. Yet, my disgust at their actions was in a way necessary, as in a novel tainted by political catastrophe and social desperation, a morally ‘perfect’ character would be amiss.

The qualities of this war give a perfect opportunity to explore the themes of race and oppression in the context of African minority groups. Through my own ignorance, and unfortunate lack of experience with cultures that diverge from my own, I know little on the subject and seek to find books that can educate me. A noteworthy example of Adiche’s inclusion of the theme is the addition of Susan, a white woman who views all minority ethnic groups as less educated and cultured than herself. Ironically, and most certainly intentionally, she is the blandest character in the whole novel to add a level of satirical hypocrisy. In all, the sinister beauty of Adiche’s words reveal the true horror of these brutal racial attacks.

Drawing this review to a close, the love shared between the characters of this novel brings a crucial element of unity to lives that have been torn apart. Combining personal relationships and national catastrophe has created a heartwarming novel that I highly recommend.

A Small Collection of My Favourite Book Quotations

A fascination of the beauty of words has played no small role in my growing love of literature. While reading, I often make note of quotations that I particularly enjoy, and would like to share a modest sample of them with you. The task of narrowing these extracts down to a select few has proved itself difficult, so more of these posts may well appear in the future! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint

Jane Austen, Love and Friendship

The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it

Anne Bronte, Agnes Grey

The most subversive people are those who ask questions.

Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World

Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

When deep intrigues are close and shy, the guilty are the first that spy

Daniel Defoe, Roxanna

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.

Jane Austen, Sense And Sensibility

I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

And the past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion.

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

I feel that someone’s favourite quotations can say a lot about them as a person. I would love to hear some of yours, if you would be so kind as to offer them in the comments.

Thank you very much for reading, and you will hear from me soon,

Hannah Lucy Xx

My 5 Favourite Classic Novels That You Must Read

Classics, whether you love them or hate them, it is fair to say that they are important contributions to our society. Decades and centuries after their publication, these books are still being widely read and spreading important messages and values to new generations. Whether political or social, classics can always tell us something about the past. Today I will share with you some of my favourites, alongside the messages they present to our society.

Five: Animal Farm, George Orwell

A brilliant anthropomorphic criticism of communist society. This tale uses animals to represent the build up to the Russian Revolution, and to criticise the political system. A brilliant read portraying the potential corruption of power; and explaining major historical events in an accessible form. I first read this book at fourteen, and it helped me to develop a better understanding of possible problems within politics and leadership. Exploring the dangers of propaganda, totalitarianism, revolution and class inequality, Animal Farm shows the potential of a working class to be oppressed and exploited by seemingly admirable leaders.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Four: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

One has not had the full ‘Frankenstein’ experience through pop culture alone. Before reading this novel myself; first of all, I mistakenly thought Frankenstien was the name of the monster. Secondly, I thought that was exactly what he was, a monster. Rather, this early science fiction novel explores the theme of appearance and reality, and how people run from what they fear. While in pop culture the monster is presented as inarticulate and terrifying; Shelly’s original creation is capable of eloquence in speech and uses this ability to explore themes of loneliness, prejudice and isolation; and how mistreatment can lead to a change of character. Shelley explores how abandonment and loneliness can spite someone into a hateful life of revenge. And probably how you should not create a life form out of dead body parts if you can’t handle the appearance of it … just a thought.

The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone

Three: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

I first read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ when studying for my GCSEs and fell instantly in love with it. I love how this book tackles difficult social issues such as racial prejudice, sexual assault and sexism through the eyes of childhood innocence. It is a fantastic reminder that our first impressions aren’t always to be relied on, and people can always surprise you. To not judge a book by it’s cover, and to not judge a person through prejudice and speculation. A perfect representation of growing up, from a place of young naivety to a realisation that there are a plethora of flaws ingrained in our society.

People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for

Two: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott. Fitzgerald

Speaking of unreliable first impressions, I have to admit that on my first reading of ‘The Great Gatsby’, I wasn’t it’s biggest fan. And having the stubborn nature that I do, it took me a while to admit that this opinion was changing. Now, I feel this novel is a perfect representation of the lack of attainability of the American Dream, and how love can be overridden by an admiration of wealth and power. This novel gives a wonderful insight into the 1920s economic boom, a time where materialism was prominent, businesses were thriving and those of new money were sneered at by those of inherited wealth.

I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life

One: Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Any reader of this blog by now should know I am fascinated by Wuthering Heights, so this will not come as a surprise. A radical view of Victorian society containing abuse, blasphemy, violence, failing marriages and a twisted view of love – this novel subverts expectations and gives insight to Bronte’s portrayal of what contemporary reviewers labelled savage and appalling. This novel explores the destructive powers of love, and how concerns over reputation and self-image can strip you of what you really care about. And, much like Frankenstein, this novel explores how maltreatment of individuals can lead to an urge and execution of revenge

I am Heathcliff – he’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more then I am always a pleasure to myself – but, as my own being

Let me know in the comments below your own opinions of these books, I would love to hear your point of view. For now – thank you very much for reading!

Hannah Lucy xx