Latest News and Updates

1.9 Million Strawberries Come to a Sticky End

When life gives you strawberries… Make strawberry jam!

Wimbledon bosses earlier announced that they were cancelling the championships for the first time since the second world war. Of course, Wimbledon wouldn’t be Wimbledon without endless portions of strawberries served with cream. So, to avoid all that fruit going to waste, bosses came up with a solution…

Each year fans consume around 1.9 million strawberries at Wimbledon, but with this year’s tournament no longer going ahead, 750kg of those strawberries are going to be made into a special preserve to mark the tournament this year. The remainder of those strawberries are being donated to foodbanks and schools, so nothing goes to waste.

Perhaps not the way fans were expecting to enjoy the games this year, but perfect for a lovely cream tea in the garden.

Wimbledon haven’t been the only people making big changes…

“All things Virtual is where the future is…if We can’t operate in the Digital economy, we may not be able to Operate in any economy.”  BBC Radio 4 Sat 27 June

“Lockdown may leave a lasting digital legacy. Coronavirus has radically changed the way we live, work and communicate online.” Ofcom’s Director of strategy and research Yih-Choung Teh

As a company that has been building digital products for supporter engagement for more than a decade, we were amazed that as the lockdown started to hit, an increasing number of charities together with national and international companies approached us all of whom had one thing in common. That was to have an effective means of communication for the retention, engagement, acknowledgement, and appreciation of fundraising. We are so pleased to have been able to help.

Necessity really has been the mother of Innovation! The books we have created have received tens of thousands of messages all of which have helped charities keep their audiences engaged and reminded of the valuable support they provide, especially in days such as these. Fundraising, engaging support and giving us the opportunity to give thanks for their incredible work.

These books covered everything from Legacy Recognition, In Memoriam books and Light up a Life books which can be adapted for other campaigns.

We would love to show you some of the work have been doing for  NHS Trusts, new Initiatives for Hospices, how Legacy recognition has demonstrably worked and much more.

To find out more, we would love to set up a screen sharing call and show you some of the opportunities we have already created.

There is no obligation and it would be lovely to hear your feedback too.

To set this up, please drop me an E mail, we can set up a call.

I very much look forward to hearing from you..

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Julie Pentecost1.9 Million Strawberries Come to a Sticky End

From the dining room to the collection tin

Take a moment to think about life has changed over the past months.

The new office that used to be the dining room. The extra time spent with those closest to us. Home schooling, Zoom calls and Microsoft Teams – everyone’s been learning.

If there’s one thing we can say for certain today it’s that the digital revolution has only accelerated in the wake of Covid-19. The charity sector has embraced this by creating new, digital solutions to fundraising and continuing their crucial and essential work online.

We are really proud to be working with so many charities and we have developed a means of furthering this work in our new digital world. Since developing our exciting new platform that allows everyone to easily create online books, we wanted to offer you the opportunity to use our platform to help with fundraising. Your supporters will soon be able to create their own interactive online books from your charity. This costs your organisation literally nothing and allows you to gain a £5 donation for each new book created by your supporters.

Using our new platform from home over lockdown has given it the best possible testing we could have hoped for. It works by providing your customer with templates from which they can then customise and build their own book or collaborate with others in the creative process. These books exist online, so they can share these books with as many of their friends and family as they like. We believe this is a brilliant new way to allow charities to stay connected with their supporters on a low cost/no cost basis and safely share moments together in the digital world.

If you have further questions or would like to find out more please email who will be happy to discuss this further with you and arrange a virtual meeting and presentation.

We hope to be welcoming you very soon.

Or, Make an online enquiry

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Tim CFrom the dining room to the collection tin

Saying farewell when there is nobody about?

saying farewell with an online leaving book examples

We all know the feeling at work when something big happens. Whether that be an important birthday, your favourite colleague leaving on maternity, or someone leaving for an exciting new job. The most important thing is to remind them of the wonderful time you spent together and to let them know how much they will be missed.

We also know the awkward shuffling of a leaving card under the desk and trying to squeeze your message into the corner of the page because someone else decided to take up half the page.

Say farewell with an online leaving or retirement book

During the lockdown we have not been able to be there for these moments in person, but they can still be celebrated.
Drawing on our decade of experience, we create individual online leaving books that mean sharing these moments is still possible. Indeed, such has been the popularity of the books that they are available to a national and international audience, far more than previously and are proving to be a lovely and long remembered gift.

These interactive online books allow everyone wherever they are, to contribute to a personalised book celebrating the recipient. You and your colleagues can add videos wishing them the best of luck, add photos of special moments and write about our favourite memories. Unlike a traditional card, the writing space in these books is unlimited, so you can wish your friend all the best, and still have room to share special memories. They cost as little as £25 and can be adapted for any purpose, whether that be to write your own story, or to give as a gift.

This is your opportunity to create something truly bespoke, personal and, most importantly, to still be present for the exciting celebrations happening in the lives of those we value.

Make your messages even more personal, create then link a Youtube Video to your message, wishing them the best of luck.

Follow this link for more information, or make an enquiry.

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Tim CSaying farewell when there is nobody about?

Wooden spoons at the ready for the Virtual Bake Off!

With the UK renowned for being a nation of bakers and most of us currently stuck at home, we are delighted to announce our first Virtual Bake Off challenge!

We’ve launched the challenge to provide us all with a bit of light-hearted fun in the run up to Easter, and to support the NET Coronavirus Appeal, which raised an amazing £11 million in just its first week to help those affected by the crisis.

As such, we’re encouraging absolutely everyone to take part: genius bakers or novices, individuals or families, and to bake anything you like – from brownies and cookies to cakes and scones. All you have to do is share your creations in photo or video form, whether they’re stunning successes or dismal disasters, in our special Virtual Bake Off online book.

As well as providing a lovely opportunity to connect with others virtually, as well as a great way to engage the family during lockdown, there will of course be prizes – and not just for the best baking. We’ll also have some celebrities both joining in and also judging the creations.

And, while entry is free, because we’re supporting NET we’re asking anyone who is able to give, to follow the link in the book, and donate to its appeal.

Of course, the more people we can get to join in, the more fun it will be, and the more money we can get to NET, so we’re also encouraging people to spread the word. Perhaps you could challenge your colleagues as well as your friends and family, or share the opportunity with your charity’s supporters!

Follow this link for more information, and to submit your entries.

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Julie PentecostWooden spoons at the ready for the Virtual Bake Off!

RNIB – Proudly acknowledging the generosity of our supporters

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. RNIB recognises everyone’s unique experience of sight loss and offers help and support – this can be anything from practical and emotional support to campaigning for change, our reading services, and the products we offer in our online shop.

We want to ensure blind and partially sighted people are kept informed and can access the support they need.

Every day, 250 people begin to lose their sight and currently we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help the most. The organisation has a crucial role to play in creating a world where there are no barriers to people with sight loss. We want people to see differently about sight loss.

Legacy gifts are so important to RNIB and every gift we receive makes a huge difference. All of our services rely on voluntary income and a third are only possible thanks to supporters remembering RNIB in their Will.

We recognise and celebrate the generosity of those who have left legacies to RNIB through our Book of Remembrance. This is our way of saying thank you, for giving people the freedom to live their lives to the full. Every single person in our Book of Remembrance leaves a legacy that will make a significant and ongoing difference to people with sight loss, for years to come.

RNIB book of legators

Legacies help to create a world that concentrates on what people with sight loss can do, not what they can’t.

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Julie PentecostRNIB – Proudly acknowledging the generosity of our supporters

From podcasts to virtual events: 10 great sources of fundraising help & inspiration you might not know about

One of the many great things about the charity sector, both in the UK and elsewhere, is how willing people are to share what they’ve learned.

As well, of course, as the more ‘official’ resources from organisations, groups, associations, and charity media, there are all sorts of other useful and inspiring resources offered by people in the sector that you might not be quite so familiar with.

Here are a few that have caught our eye:

January saw the launch of a podcast by ChangeStar’s Richard Docwra. Making the World Better is fortnightly and sees Richard talk to people who are making the world better, exploring what they do, the issues they’re working on and why they matter, with each episode having a different guest. The first few shows have some brilliant people including CEOs of leading charities, political advisors, academics, fundraisers – and people who are working to help others in their local communities.

Another useful podcast is Four Minutes in Fundraising. This is hosted by CEO of Money4Youth Amicky Carol (Carol Akiwumi) and promises to make the principles and techniques of fundraising, such as digital marketing and fundraising, more accessible to everyone in these bite-size chunks.

Simon Scriver’s Amazingly Ultimate Fundraising Superstar Podcast is a popular one. In it, Simon, from Toast Fundraising, gets the lowdown on various issues and areas from experts in the field, offers quick tips on everything from how to get a speaking gig at a non-profit conference to making the most out of Giving Tuesday, and reviews the latest fundraising news.

The Do More Good podcast is recorded in pubs around London and beyond, and delves in to a variety of topics and interviews with people from across the spectrum, covering hot topics such as leadership, innovation, fundraising, current affairs and first-world problems over a pint or two.

Cracking Charity Chat from Beth Crackles is for those in the sector who want who want to hear from senior colleagues across the sector with each podcast giving examples of how things have worked in practice, demonstrating how good leaders approach the given subject area, and providing tips that people can apply in their own organisation. Beth’s most recent guest was Matthew Sherrington, a strategy and communications expert (Inspiring Action) chatting about his time at Oxfam, and Greenpeace USA, aligning strategy, comms, fundraising and campaigning and other big topics.

For something completely off the wall, try Four Fundraisers Talk **** – a written podcast that once a week sees good friends (and fundraising experts) Beate Sørum, Simon Scriver, Jen Love and John Lepp sit down on opposite sides of the Atlantic and chat about something reasonably fundraising related – such as Giving Tuesday, branding, and sexual harassment in the sector, which they then share. Check out the episode guide here, and it also has a helpful ‘What did I just read?’ section that explains the concept.

Over on Facebook, Fundraising Chat is an excellent group where those working in the sector can ask any question they like – from how to write a funding proposal, to what to do with too many charity places for an event, and what contactless or CRM solutions people recommend. It’s a hugely supportive forum that sees people give very generously of their time and expertise to help others.

There are also some great events. Pizza for Losers is ‘the failure inspired learning event for the charity sector’. Founded in 2019 by ‘Charity Nikki’  (Nikki Bell) to answer the need for honest and open conversations around failure, it offers a mailing list for regular failure survival tips, a really interesting podcast and occasional events – including pizza. Two are currently scheduled for June in the UK, taking place in Sheffield and London.

Fundraising Everywhere is the incredibly useful (and practical) virtual conference created to bring quality, affordable fundraising training to fundraisers across the world and hosted by Nikki Bell and Simon Scriver with a great variety of speakers, You can join from wherever you are, speakers are from around the world and subtitles are available in English, Spanish and Chinese, and all conference session are available after the event so people can also catch up in their own time. As well as two annual conferences, there are monthly webinars, and virtual support. The next events are the Fundraising Everywhere Festival in May, and Fundraising Everywhere Conference in November.

And finally, SOFII’s I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT) has been running annually since 2012, and the 2020 event takes place in London on 21 April. It celebrates fundraising greatness and innovation and sees fundraising specialists present an idea that they feel changed the face of the sector, that’s replicable, and that everyone can learn from. Crucially, the idea cannot be their own, and at the end of the night, the audience votes to pick the winning presentation and idea. 2019’s event saw 18 fundraisers present the campaign they wish they’d thought of, with British Red Cross’s Camille St Omer Donaldson winning for her presentation on the Bloody Good Period campaign.

There are no doubt many more we haven’t yet come across, so do let us know if any of your favourites aren’t on the list!

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Julie PentecostFrom podcasts to virtual events: 10 great sources of fundraising help & inspiration you might not know about

What’s been going on at The Online Book Company?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with a flurry of activity from charities wanting to ensure that their Legators are properly recognised through the median of an Online Book, as well as organisations commissioning individual books for various members of staff.

The first of these requests came from Hong Kong where sadly a partner in an international firm of accountants had died. In part due to the Coronavirus outbreak preventing people from meeting up, they felt an Online Book would be an ideal way for colleagues all over the world to add their comments and tributes, rather than trying to organise an actual card.

Next up was a call from the Marriott Hotel Group, who wanted to create an Online Book for a colleague moving on to pastures new. Once again, with messages pouring in from colleagues around the world, it has proved the perfect way to bring them all together. As someone there said: ‘How else could we get such engagement?’ Previously, they had had to resort to ‘scribblings’ on Post-it notes attached to a card.

Last week the Harry Gregg Foundation was also in touch with a request for us to create an Online Book of Condolence for him.  As some of you may well recall, former Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg was also a hero of the dreadful Munich air crash of February 6 1958 that decimated the famous ‘Busby Babes’ and saw 23 people killed. Harry passed away on 16 February at the age of 87, and we helped the Foundation launch this book after his funeral. It’s filling up with some truly wonderful stories and is a lovely tribute to a very special man.

Of course, as well as providing a place where people can come together to share their memories regardless of their location, our books can also include donation links direct to a charity, providing a valuable opportunity and prompt for anyone who wishes to donate to do so.

Coming soon too is the new version of our platform, which will enable charities and other organisations to offer individuals the opportunity to set up their own book, adaptable for a wide variety of purposes including remembering pets, and recording celebrations and travels. These will also offer a fundraising opportunity. It really is very exciting, so watch this space for more details!



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Julie PentecostWhat’s been going on at The Online Book Company?

A place to remember and celebrate our supporters

A place to remember and celebrate our supporters

Guy’s and St Thomas’ rank among the oldest and best-known teaching hospitals. They have withstood the Black Death, the plague, Wars of the Roses, the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.

Today, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s busiest and most successful foundation trusts, with a long history of clinical excellence and high-quality patient care.

The hospitals provide a full range of services for the local community in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. They also provide specialist services for patients from further afield, including in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular, women’s and children’s services, kidney care and orthopaedics.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity supports the hospital by funding specialist equipment, life-changing research and the small changes that are above and beyond what the NHS can provide. Donations help to make a big difference in the lives of our patients.

Legacy and in memory gifts are integral to funding improvements for our hospitals and it’s important that we show our gratitude for these very special donations. With this in mind we created a remembrance book to celebrate our legacy and in memory supporters. By giving something back we are also able to create a lasting connection with our donors.

Emma Simpson – Legacy and In Memory Fundraiser at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity




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Julie PentecostA place to remember and celebrate our supporters

In-memory givers prove three times more likely to pledge a legacy

With legacy giving such a vital income source for so many charities, it was interesting to read of the link between giving in memory, and legacy pledges late last month.

Research carried out by Legacy Foresight, analysts of the legacy and in-memoriam sectors, revealed that remembrance is an important motivation for leaving a legacy, with supporters who had a known in-memory connection to a charity three times more likely to pledge a legacy to it. They were also twice as likely to be legacy prospects than standard regular donors giving via direct debit or standing order.

Remembrance also had an impact on how much people bequeathed. Residuary legacies (a gift given out of an estate once all debts, taxes and specific legacies have been paid) from those with a known in-memory connection were two-thirds greater in value, when compared with those left by supporters with no known in-memory connection, while pecuniary legacies (the gift of a specified amount) were double the size.

Legacy Foresight’s research showed that many people are leaving in-memory gifts in their wills too, with two in five legacy donors including at least one. Three out of five of these in-memory legacies had been preceded by a previous in-memory gift, with donations often made at or after a funeral.

Most were left in remembrance of parents, partners and in-laws, as well as friends, with three-quarters of in-memory legacies going to health-related charities.

The figures emphasise the importance of good donor stewardship during that long journey from giving in-memory or making a legacy pledge. And in fact, an earlier March 2019 survey by Legacy Foresight among its charity consortium members showed that 84% expected to be investing more in legacy stewardship over the next five years with 46% feeling it hadn’t yet become a big enough priority in their organisation.

The findings also included some tips on legacy stewardship, finding the best activities to be those that show the impact of their gift, while conveying magic, and surprising and delighting supporters. Many of the charities it questioned said they offered legacy supporters special ‘behind the scenes’ access with everything from invites to new ward openings at Great Ormond Street Hospital, to walks with a Guide Dog puppy.

It’s certainly food for thought, and for further reading, Legacy Foresight’s reports can be downloaded from its site.

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Julie PentecostIn-memory givers prove three times more likely to pledge a legacy

Fundraising without a budget? Here’s a new idea!

What if you could engage and delight your supporters – and raise funds – for just the price of a couple of links on your website?

fundraising without a budget

This month at The Online Book Company, we’re excited to announce a brand new product to help you do precisely that. Set to launch in mid February, it will enable you to raise funds simply by offering supporters the opportunity to create their very own Online Books that they can fill with their photos, videos, and memories and share.  As with other social media platforms like Facebook people will have the option of sharing with family and friends all over the world.

The Books are suitable for a whole range of purposes: supporters sponsoring or adopting an animal could create a book about them with their adoption certificate, pictures, video, thoughts and memories, while others could use them to record and remember special events such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.

For charities, there is no risk and for those coming on board with us before the end of April 2020 requires no financial outlay.  Through our platform we will provide your own fully branded microsite for you to direct supporters to.  Once on the microsite, they will be able to choose from a selection of templated book covers, or create their own.

The books can be branded to your charity, and each one will initially cost the individual £12.50 + VAT per year: £5 of which we will return to you annually as a donation.

The Books are simple to create, easy to update and share, and can also be printed. All the supporter has to do is upload their photos, memories and experiences into our simple system, and then publish their creation online.

As the perfect way to keep memories alive, these Books will be something people can continue to add to, and revisit. For those who also wish to have a physical copy, there will be the option to print the books, using our specialist print partner.

If you’d like to learn more about how these Books could help your charity, please do give us a call on 01872 226800 to make an appointment for a non-committal screen share, and we’ll be happy to show you!

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Julie PentecostFundraising without a budget? Here’s a new idea!