Haiyan Damage

Homes have been devastated by Haiyan

On Nov. 8, 2013 the Philippines were devastated by typhoon Haiyan. Thousands have died and officials say millions will need some form of aid in the recovery process.

In many areas people are at a loss for how they’ll find food and clean drinking water over the next few days.

As people learn about the details in the aftermath of Haiyan, many are wondering what they can do to help. Donating to charitable organizations is a great place to start. Although a lot of organizations are providing immediate relief to those affected by the storm, such as the World Vision UK Philippines Typhoon Appeal, it is very important to do a little research on the organizations before making a donation.

In recent years several organizations have operated shady fundraising schemes where much of the money received never made it to the cause it was supposed to help. For example, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an Associated Press investigation uncovered that one Arizona-based charity took in $700,000 for a memorial quilt that was never created.

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What is cyber bullying?

A person or group of people, who purposefully threaten, harass, frighten or upset others through the use of digital technologies.

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Christmas is a time that children love, when they get excited and caught up with all the magic of presents, food and festivities.

While you want your children to enjoy this special time, it is important to teach them about those who are less fortunate at Christmas, and discourage them to think solely of the presents they are going to receive.

Helping children to think about others at this age could hopefully instil a desire to do charity work as they get older, and become generally more thoughtful and caring individuals. Here are our tips to help you teach your children about charity at Christmas:

Operation Christmas Child – Send a Shoebox

This is a great cause and one that children enjoy taking part in. Ask your child to help you select some small toys, gifts and school supplies, put in a shoe box and wrap with pretty Christmas paper.

Explain to your child why you are doing this – that the box you have carefully chosen gifts for together will go to a poor child overseas that would otherwise have no gifts at Christmas time, and lives in poverty all year round.

The Children’s Society – Carol Singing

Carolling at Christmas is a festive and fun way to get together with people in your community and do some good for others. You could gather a group of children and parents from your child’s local school, or join a group that has formed already.

The Children’s Society website has lots of tips and resources to help you do this. This is a great charity to choose, as you will be helping children living in poverty or refugees right here in the UK.

It is best if you pick a specific location and time, then invite the people in your neighbourhood to come and watch for a charity donation. As well as getting your child involved in the local community, this will show them what they can do to make a difference to children who don’t live far away, but do live a very different and less fortunate life.

Born Free – Adopt an Animal

Most children love animals and Christmas offers an opportunity to ‘adopt’ one from Born Free – whether it is a tiger, chimp or whale your child likes best. You will of course have to explain that they can’t take the animal home (!) but will receive news and updates about them throughout the year.

You can explain to your child that these animals were rescued by the Born Free Foundation and that with help from the money spent for their Christmas present they can now live a healthy and happy life.

Must Have Gifts – Charity Gifts

If your child likes animals and has seen goats and chickens before from a local farm visit or maybe seen goats grazing in a field, then why not look to purchasing chickens, a kid goat or one of the other ranges of charity gifts that Must Have Gifts have available to buy on the website. These gifts are brought and help towards improving a child’s life in areas like South Sudan and Pakistan as they provide income, fresh produce and improve lives.

Find your own way to raise money

If you don’t want to get involved with a specific charity you and your child, perhaps as part of a wider group, could raise some money to help a charity of your choice. How about holding a bake sale, where you make Christmas themed goodies and give the proceeds to a charity of your choice? You could do a sponsored bike ride or walk; the options are endless!

Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of The FCA, a leading agency for fostering in the UK. If you think fostering could be the career for you take a look at their website: www.thefca.co.uk

By G. Castaneda

Solar panel charities bringing electricity to people in poverty

The UN states that there are over 1.4 billion people worldwide that lack access to electricity, with 95 percent of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia. With this in mind, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is calling for a concerted effort by governments, businesses and civic society to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030.

Access to energy is important for the social and economic development of countries so the UN needs all the help it can get in order to achieve their 2030 vision. One way to provide these people with access to energy is through renewable energy technologies especially solar energy technologies.

Solar panels and solar powered devices are very useful in off-grid regions because the advancements in the field has produced devices that are rugged and affordable. Thankfully, there are non-government organizations that are helping the UN in their goal for universal access to energy by bringing solar technology to off-grid communities.

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By Chris Lenois

Christian Aid Direct Mail image

[Image credit: Flickr user Howard Lake]

With response rates to email solicitations from nonprofits on the decline, the effectiveness of direct mail has become more critical for organizations that rely on fundraising campaigns to achieve their mission. Here are six guidelines to follow to help ensure your requests for support are fulfilled:

1. Focus messaging on results, not the process.

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The focus of this article is to spread the awareness about this international non-profit organization, Earthwatch. The charity employs scientists, educators, students, and businesspeople from all over the world. Started in 1971, and with 93,000 volunteers, Earthwatch specialises in protecting threatened species, researching the impacts of climate change and work with local communities, assisting in sustaining indigenous cultures and livelihoods.

This article is to demonstrate some of the charity work that Eartwatch has accomplished in support of countries that are less well equipped then ours in the Western world.

Working with Earthwatch

We are supporters of Earthwatch and directly aide people around the world directly affected by working within the gemstones industry. Without trade direct from Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, India and Madagascar, we wouldn’t have achieved such fantastic success.

We ensure that we only resource an ethical and eco-conscious method of extracting and obtaining gemstones. This is part of the Earthwatch worldwide operation too, as they were already out there helping people in these regions in Africa, Asia and South America.

Alongside Earthwatch we have funded an Eco-stove project in Madagascar that has seen 6,000 of these efficient stoves distributed to families to reduce harmful fumes and deforestation. We also have supplied and the Samburu tribe in Kenya to develop a jewellery range that brings employment to the area and allows us to invest profits in to water harvesting projects.

The Genuine Gemstone Company Limited is a family run enterprise, and specialist gemstone expert in genuine gemstones and jewellery, which is sold through our TV channel which specialises in home shopping and through our website.

Madagascar Eco-Stoves

One of the projects is to provide mud hut rural home with a new type of stove named the Rocket Stove. This stove while simple in design, halves the amount of firewood used to cook. This directly impacts on family life in many ways. It’s far safer than traditional methods and frees up children’s time so that they can go to school. It also means that fewer trees being chopped down. Most importantly though it means that children and their parents are breathing in less fumes.

Prior to the rocket stove, families were effectively using a charcoal fire, a bit like a barbeque but in a very small enclosed space. Already, (in 2012) we have created 6000 news stoves, potentially benefitting up to 30,000 individuals.

Support of the Samburu tribe, Kenya

Working with three different communities, The Genuine Gemstone Company and Earthwatch has developed a work program for local women from the tribe. Each day the ladies of these tribes sit under the shade of the acacia trees and hand make beaded jewellery which brings them money, food and water.

Let me give you an alarming statistic, due to diseases and the lack of clean water, one in five children in the region under the age of five die.

Not only are the ladies of the Samburu Tribe paid a wage for making each bracelet, but as each one is sold, a portion of the profit goes back to fund projects to provide sustainable clean drinking water solutions for the region and support these women and their families. Alongside Earthwatch we are working on two separate projects; one which collects water from the very infrequent rains as they run down outcrops of rocks and a more ambitious project that collects water underground using sand banks and a submerged dam.

Plus for every bracelet sold, Earthwatch will build an “Eco-Stove” for a family in Samburu.

Supporting conservation research

Earthwatch also conducts conservation research in Kenya and Madagascar for wildlife and the environment.

As a country where our business has operations, in resourcing precious gemstones such as Blue Apatite, Strawberry Quartz, Madagascar is a real gemstone treasure chest. With exiting and unique wildlife including the Fossa, Freaky Gecko and Dancing Sifaka, it’s only fitting that this country is rich and diverse under the soil as it is over it.

Some of the other rare finds on the island include Aquamarine, Blue Garnet, Tourmalines and Beryls including Morganite and more recently Diamonds. There is also a source of corundum including sapphires and rubies that has helped the nation excel, as resources in Thailand and Burma have fallen.

Through the success of our company’s relationship with Earthwatch, the charity has been able to provide business-relevant community research in countries like Kenya and Madagascar, with the impact towards almost 40,000 people in addition to supporting critical research into endangered species of wildlife and animals.

It is through partnerships with organizations such as The Genuine Gemstone Company that Earthwatch can be within reach of all sections of society. It enables Earthwatch to connect people with environmental issues and give them the opportunity to make real difference to the natural habitats and surrounding wildlife. Like Earthwatch, TGGC are looking forward to developing our relationship further and in a way that will contribute to ensuring there will be a lasting difference in the environment and in the communities of people worldwide.


For this post I am assuming that you are already familiar with the idea of charity gifts. These are the presents you buy for people here, which give those living in poverty around the world something they need to live – whether it’s a set of emergency cooking utensils and rice or new classroom. You may have heard of the idea of “giving a goat” for charity. It’s a fun way to help people in need as well as finding a present for those who are hard to buy for.

However, you don’t have to look far on the internet to find articles about charity gifts with people angrily announcing that they “aren’t real presents” and that the money “doesn’t really give those in need the things that they need. Instead the money goes to funding the charity’s wider work.

There are many reasons why applying the typical trading standards logic of consumerism isn’t appropriate to charity gifts in my view. Of course, I am in favour of charity watchdogs and think it is important that charities are official – there’s no sense in giving to an organisation which will waste your money or – even worse – stop the money from going to the cause you need. Even if there are some charities which don’t convert the money into the gifts that you intended to purchase, there are those which always do. And surely if the money is helping the cause you wished to give to in the first place, does it really matter if the money doesn’t become the pots and pans you were thinking of? As long as a family in crisis does get to eat, should it matter?

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In honour of National Volunteer Month, let’s take a moment to spotlight some awesome volunteer opportunities for those who want to go above and beyond with their volunteer work this year. Even though a lot of help is needed in America, need also exists in developing countries across the globe, where poverty is rampant and drinking water is scarce. If you can find some free time in your schedule, take advantage of these awesome volunteer programs around the world.

1. Volunteering Solutions: Orphanage in Delhi, India

Follow in Mother Theresa’s footsteps by spending just two to four weeks of your time volunteering at an orphanage in a needy Indian city. Volunteers will spend their days helping children with homework, playing with them, exchanging cultural views and teaching students about health and hygiene. The program also encourages volunteers to get involved with the organization of the orphanage and to participate in non-required activities like taking the children on picnics and trips to the city.

One of the perks of travelling to volunteer is that you can experience your surroundings while giving back. This particular program allows volunteers to travel on weekends and after working hours Monday through Friday.

2. Peace Corps: Volunteering in Colombia

Since the Colombia Peace Corps volunteer program was first established in 1961, more than 4,720 people have served this region by promoting the organization’s main goal of world peace and understanding. Today, 56 volunteers serve in Colombia, with most focusing on teaching English to residents. Volunteers are trained and work in Spanish to make this educational process more effective.

3. Greenheart Travel: Wildlife Conservation Project in South Africa

It’s not just people who need help around the world—it’s animals, too. Greenheart Travel’s Wildlife Conservation Project in South Africa is devoted to protecting the abundant wildlife in this region and building a society where humans and animals can coexist peacefully. Volunteers involved in this project will spend the duration of their experience learning about the different types of animals in the area, their habitats and how to care for and protect them from potential threats. Part of offering protection for these animals involves creating a sustainable environment by planting vegetation, building wells and erecting sturdy structures.

4. Habitat for Humanity: Rebuilding Vietnam

During this 10-day volunteer trip in Vietnam, participants will work alongside 300 of their peers to build 25 homes for impoverished families in the area. Scheduled to take place from Aug. 1 through Aug. 10, the project will assign priority to families in vulnerable situations, including those with female-headed households, children and elderly or disabled members. Decent homes with sanitation facilities aren’t as easy to come by in this region, which is why Habitat seeks to provide a dependable shelter to improve health, academic performance, opportunity and—most of all—the entire community’s spirit.

5. Bike & Build: Cross-Country Cycling and Constructing Affordable Housing

For those who prefer to stay a little closer to home, Bike & Build offers the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in the U.S. while still satisfying the yen for travel. Participants embark on a summer-long, cross-country bicycle trip, making stops along the way to help build affordable housing for those in need. Prospective riders—who can be no older than 25—go through a rigorous application process. Those who are selected get to choose from a list of available routes, which might involve blazing a trail through the southern states—from North Carolina to San Diego, Cal.—or traversing the central region of the country from Virginia Beach, Va., to Canon Beach, Ore. Regardless of your chosen route, you’re sure to come away from the experience with a new appreciation for the natural beauty of our country and the importance of lending a helping hand.

Travelling to volunteer might take a little more planning than a local trip, so you’ll want to start preparing early. Once you’ve figured out which program would be best for you, start figuring out the logistics of your trip by renewing your passport, obtaining a visa and finding out which vaccinations you might need for the trip. To protect yourself in case of an emergency, be sure to purchase travel insurance to maintain coverage while volunteering  no matter where in the world you are. Once you’ve gotten these tasks out of the way, remember that this is a trip for serving, not just a vacation. So build up a selfless attitude and prepare to make the world a better place.


chesnut tree house

Edward Baden is an international storage and relocation business based in Sussex and we have chosen to support a local, well deserving charity, Chestnut Tree House Children’ Hospice. We are constantly trying to come up with ideas to support and fundraise for them whenever possible, but due to lack of fundraising experience, sometimes we lack fruitful ideas and an effective fundraising strategy.

In this article we are going to discuss our involvement with the charity, our efficient correspondence with them, and give some advice to others who are thinking of fundraising.

Having no personal contact with the charity ourselves we discovered you only have to read a few of the testimonials and stories about the top class care the charity provides to children and families in need to know that they are extremely well deserving and needed in our community – thus we felt the charity would be a worthy cause for our efforts.

The charity cares for over 260 families in Sussex who are never charged for their care. It costs over £2.5 million each year to provide the services both at the hospice and in the community, but yet they receive only 8% of current running costs from central government funding so rely heavily on the support of our local community – and here at Edward Baden we were happy to oblige.

In the past Edward Baden has taken on the charities £50 challenge, this is great if you are a smaller fundraiser as the charity actually gives you £50 and challenges you to use this money, to make money. We chose to set up a sweet and snack shop in our office for hungry employees or those with a sweet tooth! From this we have made in excess of £200.

The 2013 Grand National was also a fund raising opportunity for us here at Edward Baden HQ – we ran a sweepstake at £2 a horse, with almost 50 runners we made another £100 for our chosen charity.

Now our latest fundraising idea – 2 members of our team have decided to run a 10K event and ask for sponsorship from other businesses in our town. Not sure how to go about fundraising we dropped an email to someone at the charity to ask for some advice. Gemma Gilpin and Teresa Barnes got back to us within the hour offering us some great advice and tips and sent us in the post a fantastic advice booklet and even running vests to motivate us on our 10k run.

The pack included some great background about the charity and how our money could help which definitely worked to motivate us, as well as some ideas and tips to get us started such as how to contact a wide audience of perspective donators. It advised us to use JustGiving, an easy and efficient way to raise sponsorship money online. They also included the JustGiving guide to social media fundraising – leveraging sites such as Facebook and Twitter to tap a potentially unlimited audience.

They also provided professional looking sponsorship forms for us to photocopy and we were particularly pleased with our running vests!

We would like to raise as much money as possible to contribute to the tireless work the hospice does for sick children and their families across the county. A day’s care at Chestnut Tree House costs £6850; if we could contribute towards a percentage of these costs, it would be a job well done.

If I could offer any advice to individuals or businesses looking to fundraise for charities I would definitely recommend contacting the charity directly to ask them what they need best and for any advice they could possibly offer. Without the advice Chestnut Tree House offered us so willingly our fundraising project would be less structured and focussed.

In our experience charities make it easy for you to fundraise, they facilitate, motivate and appreciate! And Chestnut Tree House even goes to the extent of giving you money to get you started and providing materials such as running vests to motivate your fundraising project. So get in contact with a well deserving charity today and get fundraising!

Author Bio:
Emilie Whitmore is a Marketing Assistant for a trusted Edward Baden Limited and experienced name in the UK storage, transportation and relocation industry.

Donate books poster from Oxfam

Organising a charity event is a challenge – you have all the problems normally associated with organising a big event, but with the added bonus that half the people involved that you would normally pay money too are now being brought in on good will alone.

Fortunately, with this handy check list, you should be able to get everything running smoothly.

Get your dates right

A great charity event is a lot like a great joke, in that the secret to success is… timing. You’ll have plenty of people, services and even room hire all needing to come together at exactly the right time. You get the timing wrong and you’re looking at a disaster. Double check all your bookings. Double check your publicity material, including posters, the website and social media promotions.

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