Posted in News

Hope For Justice and Police Work Together

A charity called Hope for Justice has worked hard with the police and courts to jail 8 people from a gang who exploited 400 victims trafficked from Poland. This gang was part of the largest modern slavery ring in the UK and after three years, it is finally being disconnected. Shockingly, some of the victims were reportedly working for less than 50p a day. Absolutely disgusting.

The gang had recruited it’s victims through trickery. Many of them were aged between 17-60 and they had hopes of coming to Britain to gain employment, and instead were faced with squalor housing. They worked in disgusting conditions that had rat infestations and barely made enough to eat.

Hope for Justice is an anti-slavery charity who actually identified some of the victims of the case and alerted the police. The charity has multiple drop in centres and nearly 50 of the victims cam forward to these centres to get help after they heard of the arrests and convictions of the gang members.

Ben Cooley who is the executive of Hope for Justice said: “While the victims can never get back what the traffickers took from them – financially, emotionally, physically and psychologically – we hope that the knowledge their abusers are now behind bars will help them as they move on with their lives.”

The charity has supported those who seeked help from them as much as they can and they are now in employment including one who was able to eventually bring his partner over with him to live in the UK.

In this day and age it is really good to see that charities who are working hard with the police and other emergency services are being recognised for their efforts. I am super proud of the Hope for Justice team and here is to many more years of good, hard work!

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Come Dine With Me

Bake sales are a really great way to fundraise but they can be hard to reel everyone in and get everyone to really listen to you about what your charity stands for. When you have a great group of friends or a tight-knit family, it can be a good idea to organise a Come Dine With Me where family and friends can come over to your house and you can cook them dinner for a fee.

Your dinner event can be as basic or as extravagant as you wish, remember at the end of the day you are the only person who knows the vibes of your family and friends and you will know the best entertainment to provide. Some good options can be playing guitar or singing if you want to provide entertainment, or maybe even a movie if that works for you!

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A really great way to make your event special is to do a three course meal. This may sound terrifying but making dinners can be so easy and you don’t need to stress about it. For example, a super quick desert can be some mashed up banana with cream, some amaretti biscuits and chocolate shaved into the top. Voila! Easy! Making the event special means that more people may be interested in coming and if you do it on a Friday night or on the weekend then those who have had a long week at work might be excited because they can relax and they don’t have to cook!

The not cooking for guests is a really good angle to go down as many people hate cooking! Do not forget to plan what you are going to serve and buy all of your ingredients early. You could also run a cheese and wine night or do some nibbles with a movie.

I suggest £20-£25 is a good price to ask people to donate. This means that with 4 guests you would have already raised about £100 and that’s amazing! Be careful to make sure that what you are serving is worth the price though, with you still raising a lot of money.

Make sure to buy some decorations, maybe some party favours and enjoy your dinner party!

Posted in RAG Resources

What Is Challenge Recruitment Season?

Challenge recruitment season is a period of time that your RAG selects in order to recruit students to come on the charity challenge events that you are running throughout the year. There are a few different ways that RAGs choose to do this and the way you choose to do it can impact the amount of people that sign up to challenges, however, this can be a trial and error situation and certain processes may work for your university that don’t work for others.

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One of the most common ways that RAGs run their recruitment is by taking a period of months between the start of the university academic year and Christmas before the challenge providers close their sign ups. Recruitment is normally done at fresher’s fairs at tables and giving out flyers as well as using innovative ways such as Tinder to put out an advert for challenges and allowing people to swipe “right!” if they want more information.

If you are a RAG which is running more than one challenge throughout the academic year then you may want to spread your recruitment over the academic year. Some RAGs who have done this previously have found that it works much better for them and they have had a lot more people signing up. One way they do this is by pushing the sign up opportunities for Kilimanjaro for a solid month (without mentioning the forthcoming other challenges) and meeting a sign up requirement. They then stop advertising this one challenge and move onto the next one which might be something like the Bilbao Night Marathon and then people sign up for that one and so on… This needs to be discussed with the challenge provider as you need to make sure there is enough time for people to sign up and you can meet your sign up targets.

Challenge recruitment season is a big time for RAGs and I will do a post on some of my best tips for recruiting students! Good luck!

Posted in RAG Resources

What should RAG provide a charity with?

We have previously looked at what a charity should do for your RAG, but we have not yet looked into what the RAG should provide for the charity. The role of RAG is to fundraise, and help others to fundraise, and therefore this is one of the biggest things that should be provided.

Money!

A RAG should fundraise for their core charity, and other charities throughout the year. They should provide continuous updates on how the students are doing, contact details of those students who wish to help, reviews of the volunteering that they are seeing to help the charity with their information and data, and of course tell them twice throughout the year what they think they will total at, and what they eventually do. This can be hard to guess, but it is important to do so.

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RAGs should also provide the charities with opportunities for them to come to the university and visit. This can include fresher’s fairs and other fundraising events including RAG Fest which allows them to talk about the work that they do, advertise their volunteering opportunities and recruit people for their available careers.

There are plenty of ways to fundraise and you can find more of how to do these on the Ways to Fundraise! section of the blog. Check it out and this can help you raise lots for your charity! The top priority of the RAG is to raise money for their charity.

Your RAG should use the recruitment season for their charity challenges as a chance to also provide student volunteers for the charity so that they can raise even more money! This is important to provide them with too.

It is important to remember that what you put in is what you give back. Those who work for charity are often volunteers too and you need to treat them all with respect.

Posted in RAG Resources

The Role of RAG President

RAG as previously mentioned is the Raising and Giving society. They can be called different things, but many go by this acronym. RAG Presidents are often voted in by the Student’s Union members or are chosen by the previous committee. Being RAG President involves a lot of hard work and effort, plus a lot of sacrifice to time.

There is more to being a RAG President than just being “in charge”. You have to work directly with the charities that your RAG is involved with, monitor emails and discuss with the higher Activities Leadership teams what you can and cannot do for that academic year, take on everyone else’s roles in some way or another to liaise, and also be a friend/counsellor to your team mates who sometimes will struggle with the workload.

Often, in RAGs, there is a Leadership team in the Activites department of you university that will serve as a paid liaison with RAG in case something goes wrong and supports the voluntary RAG team. As President, you will usually have had a little more experience than the other team members through either previous years in RAG or a strong voluntary background. A lot is expected of you in terms of taking care of the team and responsibilities are vast.

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Working With Charities

Although in the RAG team there is often a member who is involved with talking to the charities often (normally the Overseas Co-Ordinator), there is also the chance that the RAG President will have to do this too. After all due-dilligence is done at the beginning of the academic year and the core charity (the charity which the RAG will focus on fundraising their money for for the year) has been chosen, the RAG President will liaise and make sure that different events are sorted and that the charities know when they will be and if they have to attend, and make sure that all resources are passed on that are required.

Often, there are student fundraising sectors of charities with a team that only works directly with student volunteers and RAGs. These are the members of the charities who the RAG President will talk with and make decisions with about the fundraising events they want to offer that year. The RAG President can sometimes also be participating in a charity trek or similar, and therefore have to converse with the charities on a personal basis as well as a professional one.

Monitoring

As a RAG President, you are often in charge of “filtering the crap” from what is important. As RAGs have grown over the years, so has the demand for RAGs to represent different charities. RAG Conference and similar events mean that charities are able to aquire the emails of RAGs and begin emailing (sometimes spamming) RAGs to help them with their fundraising efforts and reaching out to students. Some charities however are not qualified enough to be represented by RAGs, don’t meet certain criteria of RAGs and even don’t have enough influence or hands-on resources for RAGs to use, and therefore these are hard to work with, and often are rejected. If you are a RAG President and you are receiving countless emails and the deal sounds too good to be true – then it probably is! Make sure to contact your higher leadership team for help in these matters, you don’t want to sign a contract for something and later regret it!

Remember also that some companies will be sending the RAG email account viruses and spam that they know will be clicked on. Use your noggin and do not click anything that looks suspicious and report it to the university safe emailing team to look at first, you don’t want any important information being stolen, and GDPR means that it is important you take good care of your student volunteers’ details.

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Working With Your Students’ Union Leadership Team

Every Students’ Union will have an Activites department or similar which will be responsible for the care of RAG and all other clubs and societies. The RAG President will often have to work with these team members in order to plan events for the academic year (along with the rest of the RAG team) and make sure that everyone on the RAG team is doing well. The RAG President will get the chance to liaise with some poster designs and maybe some of the recruitment process if the Leadership team deems this necessary. The RAG President has to be careful in the scenario of working with the Leadership team as often it can seem that you are equal to them, but they are in a higher position and what they say, goes. So, if there is a challenge you are keen to run but it doesn’t work with their criteria, then you have to let that go. Rules and due diligence are important because they keep people safe both on trips and in the university environment, the leadership team has these interests at heart, listen to them.

Having Fingers In All The Pies

Of course, the aim of having different RAG team members is that everyone has a different role so that all bases are covered and that everyone can lighten the workload onto each other. The role of the RAG President is of course to run the RAG and have a general overlook on everyone’s work, but sometimes this means that you lack in areas of one job, that means you have to spread yourself across multiple roles.

During challenge recruitment season for example, yo may need to help the Overseas Co-Ordinator a lot more with their efforts to find volunteers and fundraisers so that you are making a lot of money for the charities. On your part this means that you have to sacrifice a lot of time doing a job that you are signed up for, but as RAG President this is something that is expected of you. You are an all-rounder, a helper to all, cherish it as your team will (hopefully!) be very appreciative of it.

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More Than A RAG President

Although your sole job is to be RAG President (and no more is expected of you), there is the chance (hopefully!) that you, and your fellow RAG team mates will become good friends. In this case, there is inevitably going to be times when members of the team struggle with mental health, family problems, the pressure of university workload and more. When this occurs, you become more than just a RAG President, but you become a good friend and in some ways a counsellor.

I believe as a RAG President it is important to have bi-monthly meetings with your team members – even if you’re not close friends – to check in with them and make sure that everything is okay. Of course, if you notice they are struggling before that, then step in or speak with your Leadership team about a gentle intervention for that individual. It is important to take care of yourself and others on the team, or it can all fall apart and this can really damage everything that has been worked for.

If you are a RAG President, and there is anything you want to know about the role of a RAG President that I have not covered, then let me know.

Posted in Ways To Fundraise!

Bob Ross Paint -Along!

We have all heard of the wondrous painter Bob Ross who rose to fame in the 80s sharing his magical soft voice and sweet little anecdotes about painting with the rest of the world. We loved looking on as he bashed his paint brush on his canvas and wowed the world with the ease of how he made pictures come to life, with barely any effort at all.

This lack of effort, is exactly with this is a great fundraising angle for you guys!

Bob Ross prided himself on making painting easy and showing you how to do it. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for fundraisers to run an event, watching Bob Ross paint, and allowing students to come into a room and relax, learning to pain with him on screen, for a small fee.

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How To Set Up:

  • Get in touch with your university and ask them if they can make you some free tickets that you can link to a Facebook page, calling them Bob Ross Paint Along, this is because students who love him are more likely to buy it because of him!
  • Research how much the canvasses and paints will be for the particular image you will be painting so that you know you are selling the tickets at a price that will give you a fair profit on the event.
  • Make a Facebook event of the Bob Ross event well in advance, maybe three months and make sure you explain that tickets are LIMITED so that students are more interested and more likely to buy the tickets when they come on sale (even if they’re not…)
  • Supply the price of the tickets early and buy supplies the week before the event so you know how many people are coming
  • Book a room (that could get messy) for the event with a large screen where you can broadcast your Bob Ross event (most of his episodes are on Youtube…)
  • Have a prize for the best picture, maybe a cheap trophy off of Amazon.co.uk or maybe just some sweets!
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By the time everyone has finished their pictures, you can take a group picture of all the canvasses like this to show off how well everyone has done!

As always, good luck with the fundraising and post your questions below!