Of Your Own Volition

Yesterday evening I attended the inaugural action group meeting of MacMillan’s Leeds fundraising section.

During an informal overview in the setting of a city centre hotel conference room, the Leeds fundraising manager initially reminded the team of the vast array of MacMillan support and services at the disposal of cancer sufferers and their families.

Six years into my wife’s cancer journey, I was fairly au fait with most of this, however, as I keep being reminded by my long-suffering spouse, “It’s not all about you, Gary!”

One of the key goals of the meeting was to inform where voluntary assistance would be required in 2017. As a result Matt’s (the fundraising manager) next task was to walk the group through next years provisional diary of MacMillan events.

It was refreshing to spend my Thursday evening in the company of such selfless individuals. These are people who give their time gratis. Self-effacing souls who contribute, along with team mates, toward the greater synergy of securing benefactors and donations for a highly worthy cause.

There was no self-righteousness or kudos seeking, just a common goal to spare some free time at cheering stations, marshalling, street collecting, running or assisting in numerous other guises at MacMillan events. None of it compulsory; the choice and number of instances purely at the discretion of the volunteer.

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During his overview, Matt mentioned that any ideas for raising money for MacMillan would be welcomed from the group. Disturbingly, my first thought was a mass picking of pockets in the city centre, dressed as Dickensian street urchins. Returning to me later in the day, a scruffy Fagin like character, with their ill-gotten gains.

Obviously that ludicrous idea was kept to myself. I’m fairly wet behind the ears with this fund raising malarkey, however I’m pretty sure MacMillan (or indeed any charitable organisation) do not wish to prosper from any ill-gotten gain.

With this in mind, I also kept my other money spinning thought of a bank robbery on Park Row under my hat. Actually I wasn’t wearing a hat; what I really mean is that I didn’t air the ridiculous suggestion to the rest of the group. I want my contribution to this group to be positive, not risking people’s liberty!……. Although, it has to be said, I did quite fancy wearing the Fagin outfit!!

During the evening, Matt also pointed out he was currently undertaking ’Go Sober for October’ to raise money for his employer’s charitable causes. I’m also abstaining from alcohol in October, although I’ve not got a justgiving page. I intend to make a donation to MacMillan at the completion of a booze free month.

I’m finding my enforced sobriety a lot easier than I anticipated. Saying that, though, I’m glad lager isn’t alcohol otherwise I would have really struggled.

Leaving the meeting I felt enthused, uplifted and seriously concerned at where my mind gets such ridiculous ideas to raise money for charitable causes.

I think I’ll leave the fundraising ideas to Matt and the group, instead I’ll concentrate my energy on undertaking various voluntary roles within the team.

If you wish to become part of one of MacMillan’s nationwide voluntary groups you can get in touch online at macmillan.org.uk/volunteers ……. Hopefully your fundraising suggestions are better than mine!

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