Where Should I Volunteer?

Do you have some time off this year? Perhaps you have an extended summer break, maybe you have just finished your studies and are contemplating what to do next, or perhaps you are no longer working as often as you used to and have a lot of free time on your hands.

Here at Shareagift we have seen hundreds of projects and campaigns over the years where groups have raised money to sponsor people to go help in far away countries, build or resurrect community projects, and even run a sponsored abseil down the side of a church! If you want to give something back to the world we live in then perhaps one of the following endeavours may interest you…

The Internet is awash with people crying out for volunteers, and it is very easy to get lost in the sheer amount of projects that are available to us now. Over summers it has become very popular to take some time out and go to work abroad in countries that are struggling and need help. Be that helping to build structures for families to live and learn in, working to help teach in areas where education is needed, or working to comfort and heal the sick. The first thing to think about if you are considering working abroad is where do your skills lie? Are you good with people or do you have experience in construction? Take a look at how two of our Shareagifters recently visited Nepal and raised money to help victims of the recent earthquake.

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The next thing to think about is how far away you are willing to travel, remember that working in deprived areas can be very dangerous, how long is your journey going to be to get back home if you have an accident or something goes wrong? The third main point to reflect on is how much your trip is going to cost you and if you can’t afford it how many people do you know that may be willing to sponsor you?

If your considering helping out a little closer to home then again there are so many different projects and charities that you can get involved in. Is there a project in your local community that is close to your heart? This could be something as small as helping to pick up litter around your street to getting involved with building a local park or setting up a youth group.

Even if you only have a few hours a week to dedicate to helping others places like charity shops, youth groups and retirement homes are often crying out for volunteers to either cover shifts or just help out around the place. By doing this you are not only just helping others but it gives you a chance to work within the wider community with people that you may not necessarily encounter in your everyday life.

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Once you decide what you would like to do come and take a look at Shareagift and see whether we could help you in your role. Whether it’s collecting sponsor money for a trip abroad, raising funds for a local project, or collecting money to pay to run activities within your local community, with our newly added option of being able to donate using gift aid we are the perfect platform to help you raise funds.

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Giving Back

When a loved one passes away it can be an extremely emotional and difficult time. Many people find it hard to approach the subject of arranging the funeral and it has become in many societies a taboo subject that people try to avoid talking about as they believe it can cause more upset and heart ache.

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Unfortunately when someone passes away there is a lot to sort out, this can be especially difficult if their is a limited budget.

Helen decided to set up a Shareagift page dedicated to her friend Sue who had sadly passed away. Sue dedicated her life to helping others, not only did she do an amazing job at this, but much of her time was spent raising money for charities in many different and imaginative ways. Helen described Sue as the most kind, warm hearted lady that she and many others had ever met.

Helen set up the Shareagift page in Sue’s memory and invited some of the people that Sue had touched during her lifetime. This has lead to an overwhelming outpour of messages and donations with everyone wanting to raise as much money as possible to give her the perfect send off she deserves.

The page goal was set at £2,000 and has now gone well over £4,000 with donations still pouring in.

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“Sue Valentine was the heart and soul of charities, always thinking about others before herself, she was an inspirational women to everyone! With the help of Shareagift the response we had was phenomenal to helping raise money for her two children to give their mum Sue the very best send off she deserves”

Top 5 Unconventional Weddings!

Save With Shareagift Towards … The Perfect Wedding

Everyone likes to put a personal touch to the happiest day of their life (so far). Conventionally, the most important decisions to make are regarding the flower arrangement, the bridesmaid’s dresses and the color scheme – to name just a few. But some people go to great lengths to make their wedding extra unique and memorable… Here are just 5 of the strangest wedding ideas and themes; weird, wonderful and controversial.

The Naked Wedding

Yep, that’s right, a couple decided to reject social norms and ditch the physical barrier between themselves and the natural elements. They decided to just wear nothing at all!

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After winning a radio competition which gifted them this free wedding, Mel and Rene Schachner were required to tie the knot in nothing other than their very own birthday suits.

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And they’re not the only ones! The au naturel look is very in vogue. Whether or not you’d personally choose to ditch the traditional attire, it certainly makes for a very memorable wedding.

Shrek Is Love Shrek Is Life

We’ve all heard of the story of the adorable Ogre who gets the girl and lives ‘happily ever after’ melting hearts across the globe.

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One couple decided that to mark their love, they would don heavy green make-up and have a Shrek-themed wedding to symbolize their journey.

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But their eye-catching efforts weren’t just a fancy display for publicity, it was in order to raise awareness for cancer.

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We hope that Nathan and Amanda get the happily ever after that they dream of.

I Did Nazi That Coming…

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Apparently, there’s a strange trend across Asia where many young Chinese couples decide to wed in Nazi Military Uniform… Perhaps they missed the memo about the truly horrific things that occurred in Nazi Germany; it certainly didn’t impress Netizens of China.

Wedding Suspense

On April 20, 2007 in New Orleans, PiercedSmurf decided to wed his long-term girlfriend hanging from his and her piercings…

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They wanted the occasion to showcase their love for one another as well as sharing their passion for body modification. Let’s just hope they didn’t leave each other hanging much longer!

Big Labels Small Prices

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Members of the public had to weave their little red trolleys around the size 8 shoe isle at the Mt. Pleasant TJ Maxx store on a July morning in 2012, when Drew Ellis and Lisa Satayut married in front of a small crowd of close friends and relatives. Described as her ‘happy place’, Satayut said that she ‘never once even looked at the shoes’ during the ceremony and that it was ‘perfect’.

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It’s certainly an unconventional place to get married! 

Whether you’re planning a crazy wedding or just a very ordinary affair, Shareagift can help to fund your wedding. Set up a wedding fund online and collect money from friends to go that extra mile with your perfect day.

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Charity And Narcissism

Social media is a great tool for sharing moments with your friends and loved ones and has catapulted international communication to a level never seen before. It has also raised the profile of many worthy causes such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease with the Ice Bucket Challenge which has seen the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association increase the size of its donations from $2.7m to $98.2m within just a year.

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But where is the line between genuinely caring about a worthy cause and promoting yourself through social media? Did Michelle Keegan really wear make-up for her #nomakeupselfie? Is the #nomakeupselfie just trivializing breast cancer?

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Some people argue that despite all the controversy surrounding online viral fundraising campaigns, the end goal of raising money is still achieved and organisations benefiting from the influx of donations such as ALSA and Cancer Research can go on to do a better job with the cash that they have raised.

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However, one of the main worries for non-profit organisations is that interest in these causes is just a flash in the pan and donations will start to falter once again. Post-#nomakeupselfie and #ALSicebucketchallenge, charities are still fighting to survive another day.

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So what can we do? Take action. Do something about it. It’s easy to set up a ShareAGift page and invite friends to donate. Take a look at the stories and testimonials from past fundraisers that have proven to be huge successes from Jamey and Willow to name just a few. Here at ShareAGift, we believe that no cause is too small. You can easily collect funds online and share your worthy cause.

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Does Giving Really Make Us Happy?

Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’. Whether it’s raising money for charity, giving change to the homeless man on the street corner or even surprising your other half with flowers, many of us give on a regular basis but why do we do this?

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Giving and Happiness

In the mid 2000’s whilst working at the National Institutes of Health Dr. Grafman began to investigate where empathy and generosity originated in the brain. He discovered that when recipients donated to what they believed was a worthy cause the parts of the brain that lit up were in the same region that controls our cravings for food and sex. Therefore concluding that giving is rewarding, and the brain churns out a pleasurable response when we do this. Next time you are feeling down in the dumps rather than eating that Mars that’s in the bottom of your bag give it to the next person you see and in theory this could make you a happier person!

In one of the most comprehensive studies of American’s giving habits ever conducted sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson found that out of a group of Americans who donated more than 10% of their income, 41% of them said they rarely or never experienced depression. They conducted the same study with a group who didn’t donate and found that only 32% of them rarely or never experienced depression. This study suggests that giving could actually help make people happier and even help to avoid depression!

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What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’ – Nelson Mandela

The Season Of Giving

Thinking about the relationship between happiness and giving, one of the merriest and happiest times of the year for many is Christmas, (which coincidently is) the season of giving! It has been suggested that as many of us get older we prefer the giving part of Christmas to the receiving. This is one of our favourite Christmas videos and just shows how big of an impact giving can have on people.

Giving and our Health

It has also been suggested that as well as making us feel happier, giving can actually have positive effects on our health. A study by Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University reported that giving has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses, including HIV and multiple sclerosis!

So there you have it, from the studies that we have seen, giving can in fact make you a happier and healthier individual! Don’t forget that you can give through the thousands of campaigns that have been set up through Shareagift, or you can create your own campaign and encourage others to give.

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‘We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.’ – Winson Churchill

Start Campaign

Tillie Mae raises £4k in just 72 hours

This is testament to the amazing generosity of the general public.

10 days ago Tillie Mae Mawdsley’s family created a Shareagift Page for her as part of the campaign for MPS Children. Tillie has a rare childhood disease and we’re involved in a campaign with the MPS Society to help raise over half a million pounds for the drug she needs to treat it (please see this blog post for more information).

Her parents originally sent the Page out to their friends and family who were hugely supportive and did all they could contributing what funds they could spare. The local paper picked up on her story and ran an article in the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

Then something amazing happened. The UK national press got behind the campaign.

For all the moaning and groaning we do about the British press, they’re power to influence for the greater good is phenomenal. On October 16th The Daily Mail ran Tillie Mae’s story and the public response was overwhelming. Overnight her Shareagift Page received over £2,000 in contributions from members of the public, strangers who had read the article and been touched by the story.

The following day other major national newspapers had picked up the story and articles ran in the Mirror, The Sun and the Metro sparking a whole host of generous contributions from people up and down the country wanting to help.

 

Tillie’s Shareagift Page received over £4,000 in contributions in just 72 hours – the most we’ve ever seen for one Gift Page in such a short space of time since our launch.

We’re delighted to report that at time of writing, Tillie’s Page has collected £4,618 in contributions from over 300 generous contributors, and the number is rising every day.

Follow @Shareagift on Twitter to keep updated on the progress of the MPS Children’s campaign or search for #MPSchildren. Click here to go to Tille Mae’s Shreagift Page.

MPS Children’s Campaign

A few weeks ago we told the story of 2 year old Jack, who suffers from a rare fatal childhood disease called Sanfilippo disease. Jack’s family are using Shareagift to help raise the £580,000 needed to fund clinical trials that could help him and children like him in the UK.

We were all really touched by Jack’s story, and wanted to help support the campaign. So over the last couple of months we’ve been working closely with the MPS Society and Wicked Genes initiative to help other families with Sanfilippo children gain public support.

Creating Micro-Campaigns

The charity and the children’s families created their own Shareagift Page for each child. That meant we could create ‘micro-campaigns’ to help spread the word and drum up support from lots of different angles all fundraising for the same cause. There are now seven children with Shareagift Pages all raising money for the clinical trials and the public response to their stories have been amazing. At time of writing, they have collectively raised over £26,000 towards the fund in just a matter of weeks.

Attracting press 

We’ve gained some amazing support from the press for the campaign. Because we had seven different children as the ‘faces’ for the campaign, we were able to reach out to local press for each child generating regional support, and off the back of this secure coverage from national press including The Evening Standard, the Metro, Daily Mail, Mirror and The Sun.

Jack’s Shareagift Page has now raised over £8,900 and has been featured in the Metro, the Sunderland Echo and the Sunday Sun

Bobby Gill’s Shareagift Page has raised Over £12,200 and has been featured in The Evening Standard

Tillie Mae’s Shareagift Page raised over £4,000 in just 24 hours and was featured in the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Metro and The Sun

Gaining public support

The public response to this campaign has been absolutely overwhelming, with some of the children’s Shareagift Pages literally going viral overnight as people shared the pages with their friends – posting to their Facebook walls, pinning on Pinterest and Tweeting for support. To the generous public who have made contributions we cannot thank you enough. Through Shareagift and other fundraising initiatives the charity has now raised over £144,000 towards the funds – with one generous donor saying he would match the £25,000 collected on Shareagift to date with a single one-off contribution.

If you’d like to support the campaign please:

  • Search for MPS Children on Shareagift to see all seven of their Gift Pages
  • Follow the campaign progress on Twitter with the hashtag #MPSchildren
  • Visit the Shareagift Facebook page as we chart their progress 🙂