Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The kindness of strangers (and friends + family)

I am rather overwhelmed (to say the least) by people's response to my Do Lectures appeal on Twitter. I thought that at best I would be met with disinterested silence and at worst I would be met with scathing 'who do you think you are?' comments chastising me for abusing the goodwill of my twitter followers ... boy was I wrong!

Since Sunday folks have donated a grand total of £610 plus a book (undisclosed title at the moment). Even folks from the non-Twitter world have stepped up and donated! I'll do a proper grovelling thank you post soon but for now here's a quick run down:

£100 from @traceymadden
a book to take with me from @warmstrings
£100 from @paulcarruthers
£100 from Michael Dodd (colleague and mentor)
£100 from @carencarter (my twin sister)
£100 from @betsybeth (my best friend and honorary twin sister)
£100 from my Mum!
£10 from @dswviper (£10 as a thank you for my TED Global tweetfest!)

So that means I'm currently 2/3 of the way towards my Do Lecture ticket and have raised £751 for charity ... (including £20 which I'm sponsoring @paulcarruthers for his Lands End to John O'Groats cycle ride:

*Wow* *thank you!* Each person will get a hand drawn doodle from me as an additional little thank you.

I've never been so glad to be proved wrong!

Fingers crossed I can get the rest of the money raised before the tickets sell out - The Do Lectures website says there are 36 tickets left but I think that figure is out of date ... eeek! If you want to help out and raise money for a charity of your choice at the same time then drop me an email (iamhelenharrop [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk) and I'll let you know the best way to do-nate (if you donate by credit card using the button on the left that incurs a charge so I've found a better way to do it via PayPal directly)

By the way if you buy a £15 Do Lectures t-shirt from Howies you have a Willy Wonka-style chance of winning a free ticket to the Do Lectures: ... if you win the ticket but can't go then give it to me and I'll donate £1000 to a charity of your choice over the next year. If I sound *desperate*, that's because I am ;-)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Do Lectures dream update

In the two weeks since finishing my Do Lectures inspired animation I have been mulling over how I could come up with the £1000 ticket money I need (forgetting about travel etc which I'll need on top). There have been a few days I've felt like just damning the consequences and whacking it on my credit card but that didn't seem like a particularly sensible solution (particularly as my finances are not exactly in a blissful state as it is). I thought about getting all my completed art pieces up for sale on Folksy (which I've been meaning to do for months) but then I can't guarantee I'll sell any pieces let alone sell them quickly enough to secure a ticket to Do Lectures before they sell out.

Last week I came up with a crazy but possible solution and tweeted my proposal:

If someone gives me £1000 now, I'll donate £100 per month for the next year to a charity of their choice.

That would means someone's favourite charity would get £1200 (plus gift aid) over the course of the next 12 months. Unsurprisingly no-one responded to my tweet but then today one of my close followers sent me a Direct Message which simply said:

"I'll give you £100; can you find 9 more?"

So I sprang into action and set up a mechanism whereby folks can make a donation to me via Paypal (I wanted to use but you need to specify a charity upfront for that to work)

The idea is simple: instead of one person giving me all the money I need, ten folks give me £100 each and their charity of choice gets £120 (plus gift aid) in return within the next year.

I tweeted this new idea and waited ... so far *nothing* but then I tweet a lot so it would be easy for folks to miss the idea even if they follow me quite closely.

If anyone would like to help out then they can use the PayPal 'Donate' button on the lefthand side of this blog. If I get ten people donating £100 then I'll buy a ticket to Do Lectures and make a payment to a charity of each person's choice as per my plan above. Each person will also get sent an original doodle which I'll do for them while I'm at the Do Lectures. If tickets to Do Lectures sell out before I reach my target of £1000 then I'll give donors a choice of taking their money back or letting me go ahead and donate the money to a charity of their choice (but without my extra amount on top) - they'll still get a doodle from me to say thanks :-)

If I get anyone donating less than £100 then I'll donate to a charity of their choice with 10% added on top and they'll get a doodle too.

Theoretically I already have my first donation of £100 pledged by the person who gave me this idea ... so that's just £900 left to raise, hoorah!!

I dream of Do Lectures

A couple of weeks ago I was (once again) drooling over the Do Lectures website and wondering how I might be able to afford/justify spending the £1000 I don't have on buying a ticket. Suddenly I spotted a single line on their tickets page "There is one special [free!] ticket going to someone who can create the best Do inspired animation." I had never really even thought about doing an animation before let alone actually sat down and made one but doing so seemed to be the only way I would have a chance of getting to attend the Do Lectures so I got to work. Two days later this is what I'd made:

Do Do Do Do Do animation from Helen Harrop on Vimeo.

I never imagined that my first ever attempt at animation would be good enough to win the free place so I wasn't too distraught when I got the 'it's lovely but' email back. The feedback from Claire was really encouraging and I was *thrilled* to see it featured on the Do Blog a couple of days later :-) The thought that it might inspire someone else to have a go is fab ... please do share your efforts with me if you do :-)