Pancakes, Charities and Lent

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, and for many people that brings a period of self-discipline.

A quick search on Just Giving reveals lots of keen fundraisers looking for some sponsorship in return for giving up chocolate, alcohol, meat, or, in one particularly commendable effort, tea(!) for 40 days and 40 nights.  However, lots of people also use Lent as a period to start doing something new. This could involve giving to charity. I’ve done some research and want to share with you three charity campaigns that I think effectively encourage giving during Lent…

1.       Cord – Spend a Penny Challenge (2014 and 2015)

‘All we ask is that you put some money in a pot/ box or jar every time you use water.’ With a good humorous title to draw people in, this cause is all to do with bringing clean water to the people of Burundi. With a handy list to remind you of the many times that we use water throughout the day, this is an interesting way of encouraging some healthy fundraising totals!

2.       Christian Aid – Count Your Blessings (Since 2007)

This clever campaign encourages people to give money for certain things on certain days. For example, Tuesday 16th February - Give 40p for each type of vegetable you have in your fridge/freezer. The wonderful thing about this campaign is that the small amounts are all associated to a different ‘luxury’ in our lives so there is a tangible reason to give. Plus all those 40ps can really add up! Each week of Lent focuses on a different theme e.g. education, gender, hunger and they tie in other initiatives such as buying fairtrade, meaning this campaign also educates about a whole host of issues. They also have a version for children - so everyone can get involved. Definitely one to look into!

3.       Admittedly, this last one doesn’t technically take place in lent – but it’s close enough. Cardiomyopathy UK are encouraging people to join in with their Great Pancake Party! Order a resource pack, invite some guests round, share some pancakes, have a pancake flipping contest and collect some donations! Well, you’ve got to use up that chocolate spread before it’s too late!

Even if it’s not fundraising, I think there are other ways that charities can use the period of Lent to enhance their work. Some charity specific Lenten resolutions so to speak.

  • How about dedicating a couple of minutes every day to thank a donor?
  • Spending some time each week really polishing that theory of change?
  • Or brightening the day of one of your beneficiaries with an out of the blue message?

As for me, outside of the office, I’ll be attempting to avoid cake… wish me luck!