On 31 May, hundreds of fundraisers gathered in London to hear 22 fundraising professionals share which fundraising ideas they wished they had thought of. I was proud to be included in the line up of speakers.
I took some inspiration away from every single presentation. So that’s at least 22 ideas (if I include my own). Not bad for an afternoons work.
Rebecca Mauger from Red Cross spoke about Live Aid. Now this struck a bit of a chord with me because I really remember Live Aid.
The Christmas before LiveAid, I remember going to WHSmith with my pocket money to buy the 7” single, ‘Do they know its Christmas’ to help victims of the Ethiopian famine. Yes that is physically going into a shop (with my mum), and buying a vinyl record and coming home and playing it non-stop on my parents hi-fi system. Back in 1984 this made me very cool. And I haven’t been very cool since.
At the time it was the UK’s best selling single and raised an estimated £8 million. The point is that it made giving to charity very cool for not just me, but for many people.
I also remember my dad coming home from work being super excited that he had seen Bob Geldof getting on a plane (my dad worked at Heathrow). He rushed off to Boots (yes the pharmacy) to get his film developed (no digital then) and we were delighted several days later (one hour service didn’t exist) to see 24 shots of a small man with big black hair (or possibly a hat) in a white t-shirt getting on a plane in the very far distance (no zoom lens). You might have an app that makes your photos look like this. My dad was, nevertheless proud of ‘meeting’ Bob Geldof, even though he was ‘a bit scruffy’.
Live Aid was a music concert held the following July simultaneously in London and Philadelphia. 58 bands played over 16 hours attended in total by over 170,000 people and the broadcast was watched by two billion people in 160 countries. Oh and they planned and delivered it in 12 weeks. Oh and this was before the internet or email was invented.
In 1985 Live Aid was an entirely new phenomenon for the fundraising world. Nothing like this had ever happened before.
I remember being glued to the telly that day. And I remember Bob Geldof getting all shouty and sweary. Now I know that he was getting frustrated that there wasn’t an urgent enough call to action when he famously said ‘f*** the address! – there are people dying now, so give me the money.’ You can watch below.
The original fundraising target for LiveAid was £1 million and the final figure raised was about £150 million. Outstanding.
So thank you Rebecca for indulging me on a trip back to when I was cool. But more importantly for reminding us all that with an urgent need, passion, determination, bloody mindedness, a strong ask and sometimes a bit of swearing we can achieve outstanding things.