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Friday, 8 November 2013

Loadsa Work for Charrriddeeee – Don’t Like to Talk About It

A couple or three themes have come together recently which have prompted me to set myself a brand new bloggy-type hillwalking target.
Thing #1 Relates to St Cuthbert. This may seem unlikely, but for a while now I’ve been nagged and even haunted, if these are the right words, by the prayer which is written before the shrine of St Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral. I find this odd in a couple of ways, one of which is the fact that I can’t, or, rather, don’t claim to be a Christian, mainly because, to be frank, I just don’t “get it”. Anyway, be that as it may, one of the aspects of St Cuthbert’s prayer, is to “…care for those who are lost….”  I don’t think this has anything to do with navigational difficulties, or the fact that the prayer relates to sheep. (St Cuthbert may have originally been a shepherd) The prayer is more complex than this, but the rest of it refers to bringing those who are lost back to the fold and so  on, and , I’m not really sure if there is a fold at all…
Thing #2 Is the fact that quite recently, as dedicated blog readers will testify, several people threw money at me for taking my clothes off and tiptoeing carefully into the North Sea at dawn on the autumn equinox (i.e. just before it froze over for the winter) Donators raised £370 and I was, as I reported recently, quite chuffed about this. Notice that I didn’t say that I ran into the sea and any plunging or diving was right out.
pinhaw 003
Thing #3 Is the pieblog. Now the pieblog attracts a series of commercial offers, often based around people who want to give me hillwalking kit “for review” and the reward for this is a link to a retail website and some key words. Others are just a bit more vague about what they’re offering. A certain shop selling strangely industrial walking kit recently asked me to write a piece about what gear walkers should have and, looking at their website, a number of well-known bloggers have already made contributions.
geltsdale 020
Basically, pulling these three things together, the target that comes out is to raise charity money through hillwalking and blogging activities, or activities which may have some vague link between the two. I’ve chosen Mind as the charity, although a phone call immediately prior to writing this post coincidentally (although I’m starting not to believe in coincidences where this subject is concerned) pointed me toward the Samaritans. Both of these charities seem to fulfil the definition of “caring for those who are lost”
addlebrough 011
The first attempt at this was to reply to the shop who asked me to write a piece about whatever hiking gear they would need to go hiking without dying and I replied in terms which said that I would indeed write a nice piece including a pic of superdawg looking specially cute if they bunged me fifty quid. After an initial interchange whereby they claimed not to have a budget and in any case they supported Help For Heroes, they went quiet. Very quiet, in fact.  To save their embarrassment and, in the hope that they’re still thinking about it, I won’t mention their name. But the principal is established. I will use any free gear offers or requests for support for marketing efforts (cheeky buggers!) as a tool for raising charity cash.
aap and harehope 021
But I need other ideas. I’m short of ideas. I don’t specially like sponsorship, although I could do one sponsored event during 2014 I suppose. What I’m really after is something where I either get paid for doing something (e.g.writing something) on a commercial basis , or something where people actually receive some kind of service or benefit.
fell beck camp
An example might be Cafe Akto, whereby I set up the tent on a popular TGO challenge route and provide some refreshments for a small contribution. Its unlikely that this would raise any significant cash, but you get the idea. Cafe akto will probably be operating in Glen Mazeran for a few days in May 2014. Basically, I’ll do pretty much anything overground, underground, wet, dry, warm or shivery….
My target for 2014 is £1000 for MIND. It’s modest, yes, I know, but its three times more than I managed this year!
Thinking caps on, readers! Retailers can have a link or a plug for a spot of cash. Tight-arsed retailers who think that bloggers are so up their own bottoms that they’ll do anything for the fame of getting their drivel printed on a shopkeeper’s website need to reconsider the true nature of commerce which is not just to make money by any means possible, but by their activities, contribute in some small, or, preferably, significant way to the sum of human happiness.

Anyway, I’m off to Wales for a few days after the weekend, so there’s plenty of time for thinks..  I think..



Reifyn said...

It is tough sometimes to know when you are being serious, as you have such an ever-present sense of humour (I'm sure the bit about charity is serious) so the only thing I can say Mike is BEWARE OF ADDERS: sums it up. Raising funds for MIND is a great idea, and I was pleased that you were already doing that—I do hope there won't be banner ads flashing all over your blog, though. BUT it is your blog after all.

Reifyn said...

Drat, I think I deleted my comment instead of submitting it... I just wanted to say I think your idea of raising funds for MIND is great and I was very glad you'd already done so recently, in your own way. But I suppose you'll have to decide if you want to put brand names on your website with flashing banners and all. Just remember though: BEWARE OF ADDERS sums it up...

Mike Knipe said...

Reifyn - I published both your comments cos they were slightly different - sometimes people have trouble with blogger and post the same comment two or three times.
I'm serous, though, but I don't think there'll be any huge banner ads on the pieblog (I wonder if I could get Gregs sponsorship tho..some kind of pie-based event....?)

John J said...

Good for you Mike.
I think you know that both MIND and the Samaritans are held in particularly high esteem here at JJ Towers.
Raising funds for worthy causes can be fun - the activities of me and my buddies this week are generating much needed cash for a local charity, we have a great time whilst the charity gets a load of dosh. It's a win-win thing.....although there may be some delicateness in the morning.

Mike Knipe said...

Hmmmm, JJ... vairy interestink. I'm specially concerned with both raising dosh AND early morning delicateness. How can this be achieved in Crook is one question..

Mike Knipe said...

Incidentally, JJ, I expect that you might realise that there's a lot more to this than at first sight might meet the eye.. In immediate practical terms, though the issue of cash seems important.

Dawn said...

This sounds great Mike. As yet I have no real ideas in mind.Just a thought though, would folk be willing to part with spare kit to be flogged off, proceeds going to charity. Re,kit donated, collected until there is a tidy bit. Set up a meet in a friendly campsite and auction said kit off? A convivial meeting up of folk over a weekend with a charity based theme?

Meanqueen said...

Difficult one. People have said to me that I ought to have a paypal button on my blog so they can make a contribution towards my upkeep in thanks for all the effort I put into it. I am no good at asking for money, and I don't actually need any extra spondoolees, is that how you spell it!

I know a frugal blogger who has gone down the route of sponsorship, reviews on products, etc. I now don't believe a word she says as she is feeding her own greed.

But raising money for charity is a much better idea, although I hate any kind of advertising banners on blogs. I wonder what would happen if you wrote an honest review on a crap product, would they then ask for their money back? I would rather people be honest about what they think, rather than cosy up to someone just to make a few extra bucks.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Mike Knipe said...

Dawn - I suspect there's a germ of an idea there...there's a similar thing going on on walkersforum, but it could be done at, say, a backpackers club agm/meet or something like that.!
Llona - I agree with much of what you're saying - I don't like asking for money (as spondoolies is a made-up word, you're free to use your own spelling!)and I'm not keen on having a lot of banner ads. I'd rather just do some work, or sell cakes up Ingleborough or something. Incidentally, it seems to me that those people providing kit for review don't actually read what you've written,I think all they want is a link to an on-line retailer or similar. A blog post is a pretty transitory bit of writing/advertising anyway and probably not much cop in terms of marketing.
Phew - long comment - let me at the birthday scotch...

welshpaddler said...

If retailers submit kit for review, give honest feedback and flog kit on eBay or similar and pass on to MIND.

Not a bad day today in West Wales

Mike Knipe said...

Seems reasonable, Welshpaddler - there seems to be an idea brewing about selling kit.
Try to keep the good weather going, we're on our way!

Anonymous said...

An interesting project, Mike. I would happily give money to someone who made me a cuppa in the middle of nowhere. Especially if there were biscuits, too. I don't know how far you'd get with commercial sponsorship - and I find that kind of thing a bit dubious - but maybe you could action off the freebies that outdoor retailers send you?
I, too, have been contacted by the company you (didn't!) mention. I've just remembered I haven't got round to declining their kind offer yet. Why would I want to write for someone else's commercial website? Good luck with your venture. If you carry my pack on TGOC2014 I'll give you 20 quid but you mustn't tell anyone.

Mike Knipe said...

Judith - Biscuits, eh? What a revolutionary concept. I'm thinking chocolate digestives. Would that do, I wonder.
As for carrying your pack... arf!

Alan Sloman said...

A splendid idea, Mike.

I've given up on doing gear reviews. I think Rab were none too impressed over my review of their Boulder Fleece...

A few polite "no thank-yous" soon got the message across. It's a pile of work for a pretty uninteresting piece (unless, of course, you adore reading gear reviews - some do!) for the price of a bit of gear you wouldn't ordinarily buy.

Peter Crawford said...

As a vicious right-wing maniac I am ashamed to admit that the pub quiz I run in Holyhead donated £135 to a bunch of wogs in The Philipines yesterday. No crampon endorsements were required.
Mike, get in touch if you are in North Wales and we can talk about fund-raising and the compost situation in Merseyside.

Mike Knipe said...

Alan - I'm only getting irrelevant ones at the moment (skiing! pah!) I await a victim to charge a fee for some advertising.
Peter - You'll get into bother using language like that! Still - it's a nice amount of dosh.
Since I now hate the M6 through Lancashire, I might give Wales a rest, but if yr quizteam has any more spare cash..

Anonymous said...

try asking to be allowed to keep their kit and raffle/auction off the donated gear. Might be easier to get than cash money. Good luck Pieman