A fury over Sports Personality of the Year

One of my favourite shows of the year is BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. It is always essential viewing over the Christmas period for me, as I am a huge sports fan. Watching this programme is one of my many traditions over Christmas and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

This year the show has grabbed more headlines than any other year, with the nomination of Tyson Fury for the main award. The show is less than a week away but it looks like that before it goes to air a petition to have Fury removed from the shortlist will have amassed more signatures than a petition against bombing of Syria!

Not shying away

The BBC have been playing up the fact about the petition on their own website, trying to make the Fury out campaign to look farcical and to keep the publicity embers very much alight as they milk this publicity for all its worth. As the saying goes there is no such thing, as bad publicity but BBC would normally shy away from bad publicity and controversy.

I think the panel who selected Tyson Fury had to know what the reaction would been to him being nominated as would the BBC, so part of me thinks BBC must have selected him and let it stand whilst having in their mind that this would generate a wave of publicity. If viewing ratings are up this Sunday then the BBC will know they have done the right thing, but only time will tell.

Plan

I hope that the BBC hasn’t done this with a plan and an agenda, as they should be above that. The BBC has such a strong brand and image that I think that something like this would only tarnish it. The BBC is held to higher standards than any other media firm and they know this, so unless it does gain a huge audience increase then publicity stunts are just not worth it. A media organization which is funded by the UK tax payer should always be wary and careful of every decision they make, as without the government and the public, they would not be able to exist on the scale they currently do.

The events of the last few weeks won’t stop me from watching the show but I don’t know if others will vote with their feet and not watch this year. I don’t think Tyson will win and I think more people will vote for other nominees to guarantee this but it has been interesting to see for the first time the comments and views of a nominee being brought in to question for if they should be nominated or not. If Tyson hadn’t recently become a world champion in boxing this would not be the issue that it is, but that’s the joy of timing and publicity.

Raising Money

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As many of you know I am currently running a Crowdfunder campaign to crowdfund the print version of my book ‘Unbreakable Bond.’ You can find out more about it and donate to the cause by going here:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Through this experience it has shown me how the internet has helped so many people with good causes and ideas raise money, that they wouldn’t have been able to do 10 years ago. Securing funding for projects used to be about filling out funding application forms, pitching ideas to panels of investors and standing behind a stall in a street or at an event. Now in the space of five minutes you can set up a crowdfunder page for free, where people can donate online and the money gets dropped straight to your account.

As easy as online shopping

There are lots of people out there who have money, who are generous and who are willing to give. People are becoming more aware of crowdfunding everyday and everyday it is being seen as a normal and successful way of raising money, with more people donating to crowdfunder campaigns. The other beauty of crowdfunder sites is that it is as easy to donate money to something as it is to buy something off Amazon, so there is nothing putting people off. With more and more people shopping online, more and more people will give to crowdfunder campaigns.

Media, Social Media and YouTube have made it so easy now to let people know about your project and to encourage people to support it. On social media I think people share statuses and links a lot more with other people now, so by putting something online it can quickly be spread and be seen by 1000s of people who you don’t know or will never meet. I have had so many people donate to my crowdfunder that I have never met, which I think is amazing. It touches me when my story touches people that have never met me and they feel so supportive of the project that they feel led to give. This is when crowdfunding is at its best, as it shouldn’t be just friend funding.

Media is a powerful tool

Regardless of what you are raising money for, media is such a powerful tool. Media has the ability to shape our opinions and can encourage us in to action. Well-worded statuses and well-created media can be the difference most of the time between people giving and not giving. Even though I passionately believe in my cause, sometimes media is that powerful that if done well it doesn’t matter what the cause is.

With social media everyone is watching and can watch what you do, so when you start a campaign like a crowdfunder, organisations like news companies, magazines, blogs etc. can pick up on your campaign as they are actively scouring the internet for stories. By this happening you can get coverage for your project and have it exposed to wider audiences.

I am so happy I got in to the crowdfunding game and I hope this project is the start of many more in the future. Crowdfunding is something which is evolving and an industry where there is lots to learn and I would love to experiment further with it.

My first adventure in to Crowdfunding

I have been a big fan of Crowdfunding for some time. I have contributed to some Crowdfunding Campaigns and have helped promote some, but never have I done one myself before and I have to say I am quite excited to have this week started my first.

The mission – to raise £600, so I can release my book ‘Unbreakable Bond’ (which is currently available in eBook form), in print. For those that don’t the story about my book, it was something I wrote as a promise to my mum before she passed away in 2013 at the age of 54, after battling early onset dementia. The book is full of my stories and experiences caring for my mum, over the years before she died.

Doing everything myself

As I am self publishing it means that I have to do everything myself from getting the ISBN to making sure the artwork for the cover, spine and back are all in the right format. I have also budgeted money for marketing and buying stock of the book.

The reason for getting it published in print form, isn’t for vanity, the reason behind it is a want to get the book in as many hands as possible. Having it available in print with an ISBN number will mean that anyone can walk in to any bookshop in the world and a order a copy. Although eBooks are becoming increasingly popular, there is still a huge market for paperback, so it is important that the book is available in that form.

Awareness

On top of just making it available in paperback, I think the marketing budget is key as I just don’t want to make it available, I want people to know that it is out there. This is why I have gone down the Crowdfunding route. I could have just released it on my own in print without an ISBN for free, somewhere that no one will find it but that to me seemed pointless.

Going down the Crowdfunding route will give those that donate to the campaign a sense of ownership of the book and the campaign in itself will act as a marketing drive, for when the book finally does become available in print. I think my book is an interesting Crowdfunding proposition as it ticks so many boxes. The book isn’t just a book it’s a cause; it is something I have created to make a positive impact in the world. Writing is art and a book is art, so it is a creative project and I am trying to do something new and get a project off the ground, which are all things that to me Crowdfunding is about.

Ownership

I have been involved in charities for many years and have done many fundraising activities and events. It just feels great now to be able to do a fundraising campaign for my own project as I feel so much ownership of it.

I hope this blog has inspired you in some way and I would really appreciate it if you had the time or money to donate to the cause or help me promote it by sharing the link:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Raising money has never been this much fun

For a lot of my life I have been heavily involved as a volunteer with various charities. In all these organisations I have been involved in fundraising as fundraising is one of the key things that any charity does. Because of this I am always interested in ways that charities raise funds and how they engage with their supporters.

Another passion of mine is social media so when I see organisations using social media in a creative way to raise funds and awareness it always grabs my attention. One great campaign earlier this year was from Cancer Research UK with their “No Makeup Selfie” where females posted photos of themselves without makeup to their facebook, instagram and twitter accounts, at the same time making a donation to the charity. This really captured the imagination, was empowering to those that took park, became a trend and raised a truck load of cash.

The campaign recently that has caught my attention is the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” This involves people being brave enough to either tip a bucket of ice over their own head or have it done to them by someone else whilst it is being filmed. The video is then uploaded to social media with the person who does the challenge then challenging 3 other people to do the challenge and most importantly donating money to the ALS charity.

You can draw a lot of similarities between this craze and the “NeckNominate” craze which was headline news earlier this year, both involved posting a video of yourself performing a challenge on social media whilst challenging others to do their own. The “NeckNominate” craze however endangered people’s lives as they tried to pull the most outrageous stunt whilst downing a pint of alcohol. Although the ice bucket challenge is slightly risky the worst you’re likely to get from it is a cold.

I think it’s great when charities see what works on social media like selfies and “NeckNominate” then putting their own spin on it to create positive campaigns that engage people and raise valuable funds.