Latest News and Updates

Fears of GDPR

It might be that with many in the Third Sector taking well deserved summer holidays, news is a bit thin on the ground. And so there appear to be stories creeping in that are fearful about the implications of GDPR.

We very much subscribe to the view that GDPR should not be regarded as a threat but much more an opportunity to clean up one’s databases and re-engage with people on a stronger footing, confident that you’re engaging with those who want to be engaged with.

As we all know, good news is less likely to be reported. For example, the RNLI has spoken in the media about how their work towards becoming GDPR compliant has already reaped positive rewards.

GDPR is all about keeping in contact with willing supporters via targeted campaigns and not bombarding outdated mailing lists. GDPR compliance is the impetus for good housekeeping and as such should demonstrate the respect organisations have for their supporters and indeed, wider society. Implementing GDPR compliant contact preferences should be viewed as an ideal opportunity to enhance organisational reputation as well as secure yourself from the potential financial, and reputational, damage of ICO fines.

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Tim CFears of GDPR

Firefighters Memorial Book

Firefighters Memorial Book

The Firefighters’ Memorial Trust Online Book is the probably one of the most comprehensive books we have produced and has the details of every known fire-fighter who has died in Service since 1754.

This includes chapters for those members of the Salvage Corps, whilst on Military Service including the Boer War, Fire Watchers and Fire Guards from the Second World War and those actively being researched.

It really is a remarkable historical tome and is the Only place in the world where all the records are held in one place and fully available for the public to gain access and look up those relatives who may have been in the Fire service.

Members of the public are invited to help by submitting details on unidentified individuals and incomplete records.

Included in the book is a chapter listing those whose anniversary falls on today, from 1754 to last year.
This Day in History

Particularly poignant are the darkest days of the World War 2 Blitz, claiming the lives of scores of Firefighters, Fire Watchers and Fire Guards serving in cities and towns around the UK.

List of names in The Firefighters Memorial Trust book
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Tim CFirefighters Memorial Book

Making a Move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

Flash move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

This month has seen a technological upgrade to Royal Signals Memorial Book, we are proud to to have produced and host for the Royal Signals.

Their original book was designed using “Flash” technology which is no longer being supported …. the natural successor is HTML5 which works incredibly well across all platforms and has none of the device limitations endured by its predecessor.

The new book was launched with a flurry of social media sent out by the Royal Signals which resulted in lots of re engagement from their supporters, old and new.

Please visit the book, you may discover a relative or ancestor inside.

List of names on The Royal Signals Memorial Book
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Tim CMaking a Move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

Saying Thank You To Your Volunteers

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
William Arthur Ward

If, in the words of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” then those two little words, “Thank You,” should be the easiest.

We say them every day, in a whole variety of situations, often without thinking too much about them. But when the idea of saying an organisational “thank you” comes up, things can get trickier. It becomes something that isn’t said often enough or doesn’t get communicated in a fitting and appropriate manner.

Demonstrating gratitude and recognising volunteer contribution matters on a number of levels particularly as what volunteers bring – their time and something of themselves – is always unique and personal.

Volunteers – At The Heart of Making Things Happen

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many charities and charitable organisations. Working alongside and complementing the roles played by paid staff, they strengthen teams and bring their skills, experience and motivation to the cause. In the words of the chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, “their impact on society is much larger than most people think.” Their economic value, adding some £40billion to UK GDP is the easiest to quantify and understand, but the less measurable social and personal benefits they bring must never be underestimated.


Why Saying “Thank You” Matters

Volunteer recruitment, training and management is time-consuming so it’s in both your organisation’s and volunteers’ best interests to make your relationship as fulfilling as it possibly can be. When an organisation works within constrained resources and has its eye firmly fixed on its purpose, taking time for reflection can get pushed down the list of priorities.

Expressing appreciation reassures your volunteers, letting them know that their contribution is making a difference, building their engagement with and commitment to your cause. The recognition that genuine appreciation brings can further motivate them and, if done publicly, can also generate positive publicity and build awareness for your cause.

Appreciation Builds Ongoing Relationships

Thanking volunteers is all about developing relationships with them. Your current volunteers are crucial to your operations on a day-to-day, project delivery basis but at the same time they also act as ambassadors at your events and within their own communities. In this role they raise awareness of, and affinity for, your organisation, bringing in the support of their friends, family and colleagues. In time, they and their loved ones may become donors and legators.

If not taking volunteers’ generosity for granted is crucial, it’s just as important not to give ill-judged thanks – a perfunctory nod, communication via an impersonal “send-all” email or insincere sentiment can cause lasting damage. So how you say thank you matters and should play a vital role in your volunteer management strategy.

Finding a Powerful Way to Say “Thank You”

Ideas for celebrating the work of volunteers range from sending simple but heartfelt handwritten messages to arranging special events; from mentions in your organisation’s annual report to a “Volunteer of the Month” scheme.

In recognising the importance and benefits of saying “thank you” on a regular and ongoing basis, one of our clients, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has created the SSAFA Volunteer Book 2017.

Saying thank you to your Volunteers

This online book is a dedicated space for volunteers to share their experiences, talk about their often very personal reasons for getting involved with the charity and see themselves honoured for their contribution. It’s a powerful way of building a lasting tribute to their commitment and strengthening their sense of purpose and community.

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Eva SeymourSaying Thank You To Your Volunteers

How To Make The Most Of Your Organisation’s Anniversary

Anniversaries, birthdays, significant milestones – why do we put so put so much emphasis on them?

First of all, the science: Art Markman, renowned cognitive scientist at the University of Texas explains: “numbers are a mathematical construct yet our perception of numbers is affected by our experience with them.” What we do is make sense of the world through our relationship with numbers, “we mark landmarks in time like birthdays and anniversaries as a way of remembering what we have done in that time period. They make the passing months and years more memorable.”

A time to celebrate

Individually and collectively, we find comfort in the numbers that mark significant numerical milestones and these can become important occasions for celebration. It’s a time to draw breath, pause and take stock.

Your company or organisation’s anniversary is no different. It’s an opportunity to look back at what’s been achieved, to trace your organisational journey in terms of the passage of time and the emotional journey that’s been travelled, and to thank customers, employees, supporters and stakeholders.

Look to the future

Even more importantly that organisational ‘drawing a line in the sand’ is an excellent platform for looking to the future by reinvigorating your sense of purpose, boosting your profile and reaching new audiences.

A simple Internet search will reveal any number of ideas that can make your anniversary celebrations stand-out newsworthy. But it’s worth avoiding the temptation of ‘just getting on with it’ and take the time to begin your anniversary project with that all-important, objective step back:

Think strategy before tactics

Align the anniversary with strategic business goals to ensure that marking that significant milestone really does give your organisation a powerful boost.

A milestone, however significant for your organisation, isn’t automatically newsworthy in itself. Think how, with the anniversary spotlight trained on your organisation, you can create news hooks – run and publish survey findings, plug into a ‘bigger picture,’ a complementary news story or development, and build positive PR around your announcements of say, new initiatives or growth plans.

Take time to understand how past achievements can contribute to informing future work, and how any celebrations will reflect the culture of your organisation.

Take the time to plan the strategic messages – both internal (eg employees, volunteers, stakeholders) and external (eg supporters, advocates, customers, end-users), that you’ll be conveying throughout the anniversary timeframe.

Have a plan

An anniversary rarely creeps up on you without warning so there’s no excuse for not planning every initiative, partnership, media opportunity and event in advance (and down to the last detail), including how everything ties in to your over-arching objectives.

Set a budget

Establish budgetary parameters for your celebrations as part of the planning process and then stick to them! Again, refer back to how the expenditure allocated will yield a measurable return on investment, eg an upturn in supporter engagement or funds raised.

Make it last – part one

Don’t just focus activities onto one day but make the most of your milestone by keeping the story going throughout the celebratory period, eg plan separate events for discrete audience groups and engage in pre- and post-event publicity.

Make it last – part two

Consider creating memorabilia, souvenirs and/or a special anniversary logo, closely allied to existing brand guidelines, to enhance marketing activity throughout the year.

Online books are one of the most cost-effective ways of creating an ongoing and lasting legacy from your anniversary year PR and marketing activity.

We love anniversaries!

At the Online Book Company we create online books for our clients that are always bespoke and designed to integrate with existing brand guidelines, websites and initiatives. They provide a dedicated, versatile space to fulfil any number of anniversary year objectives, from highlighting volunteer or employee stories to raising funds for a particular campaign.

In the true spirit of celebration, our books are a powerful way to build relationships, affinity and engagement. Accessible from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, they allow the people who matter most to you to interact, share and contribute to something they care about. Our service can extend to supporting your organisation to get the most out of your book with integrated social media and email marketing campaigns.

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Jonathan HawardHow To Make The Most Of Your Organisation’s Anniversary

2016 for The Online Book Company

This year, The Online Book Company has had the massive privilege of working with so many people for so many good causes.

We have had the wonderful honour of learning more about and remembering the memory of such inspiring people such as Martyn Heighton (Director of National Historic Ships UK), Nicole Bourque (Senior Lecturer in Anthropology) as well as the firefighters we have lost & the brave people from the Royal Corps of Signals.

We are also thrilled to be able to celebrate the achievements of awe-inspiring people such as Harry Singha who reached a very special milestone of 30 years of professional service in philanthropist. He has helped many young people overcome their fears and problems with his brilliant workshops and meditation services.

This year was also the Queen’s 90th birthday and we were given the absolute privilege of creating an online birthday book where anyone can leave a birthday message for her Majesty. Further, at the end of 2016, we were given the opportunity to create “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries Online Book” in order to help raise money to help fund the historic addition Westminster Abbey which is due to open in 2018!

We are looking forward to seeing who we will meet & what projects come in 2017. We all hope you had a great 2016 and we would like to wish you a Happy New Year for 2017.

To view all of the books we created in 2016, please look at the links below:

Harry Singha – Book of Value


Celebrating Erin


 In Memory of Martyn Heighton


In Memory of Nicole Bourque




The Queen’s Birthday Book


Royal Corps of Signals


 St Catherine’s Church


St David’s Hospice Care 


The Firefighters Memorial Trust


 Westminster Abbey – The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries


If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.

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Katherine George2016 for The Online Book Company

The Queen’s Birthday Book

Many things have happened in 2016, but looking at the brighter side of this year we would like to remember Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday.

The Queens’ Birthday Book was one of our biggest projects of 2016. Starting at the beginning of the year, we pulled out all the stops in order to create this Online Book as a surprise. Everyone & anyone had the opportunity to write a personal message to the Queen. Celebrities such as Alan Titchmarsh, Simon Pegg, Lorraine Kelly & Jamie Oliver have put their own messages of appreciation in the book. For a full list of celebrities & stars who signed The Queen’s Birthday Book, click here.

Lots of people sent heartfelt messages, poems and photographs of themselves, their family and their moments with The Queen. John Deere shared his moment with The Queen with a fantastic photograph of them both standing by the John Deere Limited Stand at the Royal Smithfield Show in London in the 70s which he accompanied with a warm message.

The 21st of April 2016 marked the official date of The Queen’s 90th birthday! On the day itself, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh undertook a walkabout in Windsor and then walked from the Henry VIII Gate of Windsor Castle to the Statue of Queen Victoria. There she unveiled the plaque marking The Queen’s Walkway.

The Queen’s Birthday Book was such a success! It had thousands of heart-felt good wishes from 111 countries around the world! Even though months have passed since the online book’s official release, many people still come back to view and comment upon it.

The Queen’s Birthday Book is definitely a large feather in our caps and you can view the little piece of British history here.

If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.


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Katherine GeorgeThe Queen’s Birthday Book

The Twelve Days of Christmas

As we near one of the most exciting times of the year that is Christmas, our minds turn to festivities such as presents, mince pies and Christmas carols, like the famous ’12 days of Christmas’ song we all know. Usually, countdowns, lead to the big day, however, the ’12 days of Christmas’ actually begins on Christmas day and end on January 5th. But what are the true meanings of each day and that partridge in a pear tree?

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, A Partridge in a Pear Tree… But did you know… The Partridge is said to symbolically represent Jesus Christ, this is because that bird is selflessly willing to sacrifice its life to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Two Turtle Doves… these two turtle doves are actually the Old and New Testaments.

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Three French Hens… these three lovely French Hens stand for faith, hope, and love.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Four Calling Birds… but who know these ‘calling birds’ were actually symbolizing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Five Gold Rings… which represent the first five treasured books of the Old Testament

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Six Geese A-laying… this simply stood for the six days of creation.   

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Seven Swans A-swimming… these represent Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy, the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Eight Maids A-milking… these are the eight beatitudes, blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Nine Ladies Dancing… these ladies actually represent the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit, including love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Ten Lords A-leaping… and these lords represent the ten commandments, that we know today.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Eleven Pipers Piping who represent the eleven faithful apostles, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James. There is also the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who famously betrayed Jesus.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Twelve Drummers Drumming… who symbolize the twelve points of belief in the ‘Apostles creed’.

We at the Online Book Company, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

All Twelve days of Christmas

All Twelve days of Christmas



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Polly BolithoThe Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas Traditions from Around the World

The countdown begins to Christmas! In the United Kingdom, the tinsel is being strung around the house, thick festive jumpers are being worn and warm mulled wine is being drunk. But what about the rest of the world? How do other countries celebrate Christmas?

In the United Kingdom, most British families celebrate Christmas together on the 25th of December – often to have a traditional Christmas lunch after having opened their presents in front of each other. However, Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands on the 5th of December and for Russia and Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January! Its also very common to see a Christmas tree in a British household, which was first popularized by Prince Albert. Prince Albert has german origins and he missed his own Christmas traditions, hence why he brought the Christmas tree to the British public. Whereas in India, people decorate mango and banana trees instead of fir trees, due to the hot climate, and Ukrainians decorate their trees with spider webs due to an old legend where a spider turned their webs into gold and silver for a poor family.

Christmas isn’t just about the day itself – it is about the weeks leading up to it. The United Kingdom usually preps for Christmas by carol singing, festive markets, and Christmas fairy lights. On the 5th of December, German children leave shoes outside the house to be filled with sweets overnight. In Czech republic, single women, on Christmas Eve, will turn their backs to the house and throw a shoe over their shoulder to see whether they will find love or not next year. In Norway on Christmas Eve, there is the strict rule of no cleaning – all brooms are kept locked away in case they are stolen by witches. Finally, Japanese usually tuck into a bucket of KFC on Christmas eve due to a widespread ad campaign for the deep-fried fast-food in 1974.

British families will often eat turkey on Christmas day, accompanied by cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts and pigs-in-blankets and then finished off with a mince pie and some Christmas pudding. In South Africa, the Christmas delicacy is a deep-fried caterpillar of the Emperor Moth! Less unusual Christmas dishes are Romania’s Ciorba de perisoara, a delicious vegetable broth with meatballs and another is Spanish turkey stuffed with truffles, often served with chorizo and mushrooms. For dessert on Christmas, Swedes will often eat a festive rice pudding that has an almond hidden in it – whoever finds it will supposedly be married within a year. Other Christmassy desserts are Philippine’s moist rice-coconut-cheese cake, German Stollen fruit cake and Austrian’s chocolate sponge with apricot jam – delicious!

We at the Online Book Company, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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Polly BolithoChristmas Traditions from Around the World


Gentlemen, this December, it’s time to ‘ditch your razor and grow a beard’, but why you may ask? It is of course for ‘Decembeard’, a fundraising campaign, which exists to raise awareness and funds for those affected by bowel cancer. So it’s time to turn your Movember moustache into a beard for Decembeard.

Did you know, someone dies from bowel cancer every half an hour, and every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed? Affecting both men and women, bowel cancer is the third most common cause of death in the world. If this disease is caught early enough it can be treated with success, it is for this reason why it is so important to raise awareness, it could save lives.

Decembeard has been running successfully for over five years, with thousands of men getting involved to show their support with their beards.

‘Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ is to never give up until no one dies of bowel cancer and all those diagnosed get the support they need. –

Not only are men growing their beards for this good cause, but those who already have one can spread joy and Christmas spirit through the use of glitter, they can get their friends to sponsor their glittery beard, as well as, other fundraising options. Whatever you decide to do, everyone is prompted to share their beard fundraising experience via social media to create more of an impact.

The way the Decembeard fundraising campaign gets men together to do their bit for a good cause is truly incredible. If you would like to raise awareness, increase engagement and funds for your charity or project or simply honour a loved one, contact us to find out how we can create an online book for you.


Photo credit to

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Polly BolithoDecembeard