Campaign Drift and efficiency.
My heart strings were pulled when I read the appeal for 700 pounds in the local paper for a special wheelchair for a local teenager, as the NHS standard one provided was so inappropriate as to be unusual. A slight worry that there was something very wrong here was washed into insignificance by a feeling of sympathy and an agreement with Lisa that, perhaps, here was something that Well House Consultants could provide significant help with.
It turned out that the chair wasn't 700 pounds but about 1200. Oops. Then it turned out that the teenager needed a special bed too, and the appeal target went up to 2100. It was probably a good job that the appeal was fully funded from elsewhere as my slight worry grew into a feeling - perhaps unjustified - that the recipients might have been being greedy, or that they were unable to manage their affairs / presentation and so perhaps couldn't manage money either.
I guess that's the sort of thing one has to expect from a small, local appeal by someone who's "salt of the earth" but new to managing resources. Better to make charity contributions to a larger charity? Oh - I just wish that were the case; I've heard of, and seen at first hand, instances of charities who are not making the best use of resources, and I think of how many "little old ladies" going from door to door that represents. At the time of a major disaster, money WILL be wasted, things sent just in case and that's absolutely right, but I could quote cases of thousands being paid for something where only hundreds needed to be spent ... and the charity was even advised of this.
We didn't end up pocketing the money we had put aside for the wheelchair, nor did we end up putting it into one of the big charity buckets. We put it to a ring-fenced appeal for emergency accommodation and provision packs to be flown to ... wherever ... at short notice. And we KNOW that we have bought x units and what a unit comprises.
I took yet another
phone call on Friday from a telephone sales person wanting our business to help fund their charity. We look bigger than we are on line, and in other publicity, so I suppose we have to expect a lot of these calls. And, stopped at Strensham service area as I drove up here (Edinburgh) on Sunday, I negotiated my way past a collector waving a tin in my face. I know her cause was an excellent one but I actually felt clear in my conscience as I failed to contribute; I prefer to target my giving. My conscience is also clear when I tell telephone beggars that our charity budget for the year is all assigned ... as indeed (financially) it is.
There are contributions other than financial ones we can make ... we can offer our time and our skills and perhaps some of our other resources and facilities to help good causes; yes, sometimes we do. And indeed we can even help run / organise such things; the Save the Train website
is an example. How can we learn from the experiences / thoughts above and do this in a way that's likely to get a good reception and be effective?
1. Lay down Objectives.
2. Avoid objective creep (or if we must, explain why)
3. Ask for help and not money.
4. Help people help us.
5. Provide clear contact points.
6. Not make exaggerated or far-fetched claims or requests that water down the main point.
1. We want to save the train service to Melksham at its current level (or as close to that as possible) into the foreseeable future. At present there is a threat that we'll loose more that a half of our trains when the new franchise to operate the line is awarded next year.
2. The Objectives are drawn wide enough to carry us through at present.
3. I want you to publicise this, to write to the local MP, to the companies bidding, and to the county council. You can ask them to help subsidise the service, but I don't want your money!
4. Links to all the people I want you to contact to help us are here
. Information that you might want to read to help you write is available here
5. I'm Graham Ellis. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone number is 01225 708225. I live at 404, The Spa, Melksham, Wilts. You can lead more about me from my personal web site
6. I am concerned about a continuing good train service to Melksham, as I believe that a substantial reduction in service would be bad for the town, bad for visitors to the town, and bad for the reputation of any company or organisation associated with the cuts. (written 2005-08-15, updated 2008-05-17)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesZ300 - Politics and Religion 
Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15) 
Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25) 
Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15) 
MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23) 
General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05) 
Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16) 
UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27) 
Sad priorities - (2005-06-03) 
A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14) 
Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20) 
Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19) 
Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26) 
rich and famous - (2005-12-23) 
MP face to face - (2006-02-12) 
On being British - (2006-02-14) 
Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05) 
Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07) 
Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12) 
Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23) 
Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07) 
Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27) 
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22) 
Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05) 
Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21) 
What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01) 
False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15) 
Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05) 
Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03) 
An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27) 
An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06) 
FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13) 
New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10) 
Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11) 
Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01) 
Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14) 
Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17) 
Back from the future - (2008-07-30) 
July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23) 
Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05) 
Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13) 
Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14) 
One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11) 
The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29) 
Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06) 
Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11) 
Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12) 
Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29) 
Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25) 
Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05) 
Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11) 
Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15) 
All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13) 
How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18) 
Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23) 
A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08) 
Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26) 
Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06) 
Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09) 
Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03) 
A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25) 
Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06) 
Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10) 
Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14) 
Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07) 
Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26) 
Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14) 
Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25) 
What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30) 
Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11) 
The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14) 
Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13) 
Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26) 
Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31) 
2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17) 
Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21) 
How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27) 
On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11) 
Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04) 
Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16) 
Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08) 
Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12) 
Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06) 
Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16) 
Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29) 
Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04) 
Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08) 
Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22) 
Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18) 
PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04) 
Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19) 
Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02) 
Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06) 
The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23) 
Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22) 
Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
Some other Articles