Friday, 21 April 2017

Do you really know where your charitable donations go? A few figures

In March 2014 I began a project raising funds for the UK’s biggest Crohn’s and Colitis charity and after 21 months of constant fundraising, in December 2015 we had hit a grand total of £45,000!

I know what you’re thinking “That’s AMAZING” right? Of course I thought the same, until I began to look properly in to where those funds were invested by the charity. For example, looking at the yearend accounts for 2015, I can see that a mere 10% of total donations were invested in to research, and a whopping 39% on staff costs...

My math tells me that if I am to work out by the 2015 accounts percentages, where that £45,000 I worked so hard to raise went it looks like this.
£4,500 went to research
£17,550 went to staff costs

Now you see, it took 1 year and 9 months to raise that £45,000.

Current vacancies at Crohn’s and Colitis UK:
Publications Information manager: £40,000 per annum 
We couldn't even keep up with paying this one staff member

But on the bright side, in those 21 months we did raise enough money to pay this guy for 12 months:
Management accountant: £36,000 - £38,000 per annum
So all is not lost (sarcasm).

If I had known then, what I know now, that whole £45,000 would have gone to research via Cure Crohn’s & Colitis, but alas, I did not look, and I did not know, and I can honestly say that I am gutted about that!

I have since learnt my lesson, and along with Corinne Burns started fundraising project IBDSuperHeroes in January 2016. Our tag line is ‘fighting to cure Crohn’s and Colitis’, and this time we actually are!

Our total is not as grand as the previous project, and currently stands at £11,584, but every single penny of that has gone, or will go to research to ultimately find a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It has taken us just over 15 months to reach this goal.

The previous project, which is still being run by a few of the ladies I worked with, has now raised a fabulous £61,674, and that has take just over 3 years (37 months), meaning (based on 2015 percentages) around £6,167 of that goes to research and £24,052 on staff costs, and as we’re aware from above, that isn’t even going to a cover ONE persons annual salary...

I work in Marketing, so I completely understand the need to spend money to make money. Without spending money on marketing staff / materials and PR people to get you in the media and event organisers to get your walks in front of the relevant audience, you simply will not become well known enough to be 'raking in' donations. Essentially, these are businesses as much as they are a charity.

Cure Crohn's and Colitis do not pay staff. Everyone that works on their behalf, from the guy that built the website to the lady that does the year-end accounts, does so for free. There is no hefty salary for the big CEO and no marketing budget for a fancy website and ads in magazines, because they want each penny to make a real difference to the lives of those with Crohn's and Colitis. The majority of Cure Crohn's and Colitis' volunteers have been impacted in some way by IBD themselves, so they volunteer their time because they BELIEVE in the cause. 

I guess it’s all down to personal preference, where you want your hard earned money to go. Personally, I want my time and effort to be invested in to research for a cure.

I urge anyone looking to fundraise for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis to PLEASE take some time to think about where your ultimate goal lies and ensure that you are fundraising for a charity which aligns with them.

Check out Cure Crohn's and Colitis:

Over and out.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Why would anyone NOT want a pig??

Earlier today, whilst making my regular "it's a cute creature" squealy noises during a video of a teeny pig, I was asked
"Why would anyone want a pig?"

Well I just wanted to pop along and ask the question

Why would anyone not want a pig??

Walks on rainy days...
 A helping hand in the garden...
Warm your cups ready for a brew...
Create Jacuzzi whirlpools...
 Constant fertiliser refills...
More rainy day company...
 Purely, just because...
Warms your hat before you go out in the cold...
Ice cream eating companion during summer...
Can't live alone, therefore a need for more pigs...
Thank you piggies. Point proven I think.

Twitter cosmetics | One less egg this Easter

If you joined Twitter over the last 7 years, you're default Twitter profile picture will have been an egg. Twitter says "This was a playful way to reference how eggs hatch into birds that send all the Tweets you see on Twitter!"
Twitter feels that by changing it's default image, it will prompt more self expression.

"How?" I hear you questioning. Well to be honest, I haven't the foggiest idea.

"We noticed that some people kept the egg default profile photo because they thought it was fun and cute."
Errm? If I was looking for 'cute', it would surely be a piggy in wellies?

Twitter also thinks that due to internet trolls not going to the effort of personalising accounts, the egg has become an icon that users associate with trolling and spam, which is unfair to new users who haven't yet personalised their profile.

In my mind, an un-personalised profile will have the same association, no matter what the default image is.

Over the years, Twitter has had many default profile images.
Apparently a lot of thought went in to the direction of the new default image.

Will it encourage more people to update their image? Probably not.

Will a new and more human default image make users less likely to suspect the other user is a troll? Probably not.

Does Twitter feel good because they added something shiny and new for people to talk about? Probably yes.

Well good for you Twitter! When I feel life is lacking, I go buy me shiny new shoes.
You may now stare in awe at your shiny new default.
Now, what was I doing? 
Oh, yeah.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Growing human tendons on an advanced robotic hand

This apparently is NOT NEW news, but I only came across this a few days ago!

Researchers first created a robot hand that is so accurate it has almost the same dexterity as a human hand. This is a major leap for prosthetics, and the motion capabilities of this hand have never been seen before.

Researchers put the hand through a laser scanner and then 3D printed artificial bones to match, they plan to then grow human tendons and tissue on the robot hand!

Currently, in the event of amputation of the hand patients currently have one of 3 options available to them:
Hand replantation: This is only a viable option if the severed hand is professionally cared for immediately after the accident and the tissue is healthy.
This procedure is carried out of if the hand can function without pain. The goal would be to give the patient back as much function as possible.
Amputation: Required if the tissues are too damaged and the hand cannot be replanted. A cosmetic or prosthetic hand may be offered to improve the cosmetic appearance and function of the hand.
Hand transplantation: If a hand replantation is not an option, surgeons can offer the patient a hand transplantation. This would involve a donor hand being transplanted. An operation like this requires a team of up to 20 surgeons who connect the arteries, veins, tendons and bones. Immunosuppressants are needed to prevent rejection of the donor hand by the patient’s body.

The new prosthetics hand would mean people could have an entirely new hand, human skin and all, if their hand were to be lost in an accident.