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October 2020 – First Wednesday Newsletter

the online book company platform

A fortuitous and most timely way to engage and raise funds

For the last decade or so, The Online Book Company has been creating interactive online books which worldwide organisations, large and small, have been using for supporter retention, engagement and fundraising.

Since March 2020 the volume of traffic to our books has seen an exponential increase. Tens of thousands of people have contributed to them, creating increased engagement for the organisations concerned.

The link below takes you to a two-and-a-half-minute video which gives a quick and clear insight into what The Online Book Company does, and how it has benefited different organisations.

the online book company platform

Watch video

Over the last 18 months, we have been developing a new platform. The timing of it is fortuitous and we have created an exciting ultra low cost breakthrough for supporter engagement and most importantly, fundraising. This new platform will enable individuals to go online and create their own books. As with our traditional global Online Books, individuals can share their self-created books with family, friends and colleagues.

Each charity will be given the opportunity to have their own landing page. This page will contain fully branded and templated books of the charity’s own choice and design, which their supporters will be able to buy and create. There is no limit to the type of book that can be created. Examples are legion, but storytelling, fund raising, supporter stories, cataloguing historical events, weddings, remembrance, ‘Thank-yous’ and memorials are just a few examples.

There are three ways the charity can make money:

  • Firstly, the supporter pays £15 (inc. VAT) for the online book and then the charity gets £5 by way of a donation.
  • Secondly, the books can be set up with donation links taking contributors and readers directly to your fundraising pages.
  • And finally, as and when the supporter wishes, they can arrange to have the book printed. This also gives rise to an additional revenue sharing opportunity.

As far as costs are concerned, there is a one-off set up cost of £500 + VAT, which is being waived for our current clients. For that you get a bespoke service from our wonderful team in Cornwall. In the month following books being purchased, the revenue stream back to your organisation starts flowing.

We thought it important that you should know about it, even if this project doesn’t come under your direct remit. We would appreciate if you could kindly forward it to the relevant individual(s) in your organisation for their consideration.

We would love to show you more and can happily set up a screen sharing call at a time to suit. Just click here to drop us an E mail with your best contact number and we will be in touch to arrange a suitable time.
Storm Alex brings joy to the Kite Surfers in St. Ives Bay

Storm Alex brings joy to the Kite Surfers in St. Ives Bay

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Julie PentecostOctober 2020 – First Wednesday Newsletter

September 2020 – First Wednesday Newsletter

Tributes to Tony Morris of ITV News

In early August, we were contacted by ITV/Granada with the sad news that Tony Morris, a much admired Manchester Based presenter, had very sadly died. With a dedicated team put on to the case, we were able to create this personalised Online Book, after the announcement on the evening news we received literally thousands of tributes from all over the UK.

No one has to be a celebrity to have the own book created. During recent months, many similar books have been created for those who have lost loved ones. Through the median of an Online Book, friends, colleagues and relations from all over the world have been able to leave messages of remembrance and/or condolence and in so doing bring comfort to family and those left behind.

Each of these books can have a fundraising link and could incorporate your logo too. They start from as little as £35 and depending on the complexity, can typically be turned around within 24/48 hrs.

It will soon be Last calls for Light Up A Life
With many Light up a Life/Lights of Love services going Virtual, work has started on producing Light up a Life books for Hospices. This is where people can donate money online and leave a dedication for their Loved one, which then appears in the Online Book. If you would like to find out more and set up a screenshare, then please click on this enquiry link and we will call you back.

Godrevy Lighthouse on a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday

Godrevy Lighthouse on a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday

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Julie PentecostSeptember 2020 – First Wednesday Newsletter

We have moved!

Due to lockdown, we’ve spent the past few months working from home. So, we decided to take advantage of a break clause in our lease and chose to move out of the office on a trial basis!

All of this has taken a bit of planning and adjusting. What do we do with all our company “stuff” that accumulated over years? What happens to our beloved coffee machine, the photocopier, the shredder, the office Xmas decorations, the company memorabilia and all that sort of stuff?

office in a box

In what has been an extremely useful exercise, we’ve had a thorough sort out and moved our office into a container. As you can see from the picture, some strategic planning has been applied to the storage so that we can get easy access to the filing cabinets as and when we need it!

This is all made much easier by the fact that none of us have the challenge of having children who are dependent on home education.

We are a close team and have regular calls in the day. We enjoy spending time in each other’s company. We’re hoping that, with the continuing decline in new covid numbers, that we’ll be able to meet every couple of weeks for a working lunch so that we can have that all important social catch up!

Incidentally, all our contact details remain the same
Phone +44 (0) 1872 226800
hello@theonlinebookcompany.com

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Julie PentecostWe have moved!

We all like to remember

But more than that – we want to remember, thank and honour those wonderful people who have done something special for us and indeed to remember those who are no longer with us.

Our remembrance books are a unique way to honour and recognise your supporters, legators or quite simply to say thank you.

We’ve recently created a short video which shows just some of the Individual books we have built during the Lockdown. These books can easily be made available to your supporters at no cost to you with an optional fundraising link that will ensure you receive donations.

There’s so much more we would like to share with you, including news of our new platform! On this platform, individuals and organisations can use their own creative flair to make online books complete with their own logo and branding.

If you would like any more information about our books, please do not hesitate to contact us at hello@theonlinebookcompany.com

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Julie PentecostWe all like to remember

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

Thanking supporters of The Injured Jockeys Fund’s Peter O’Sullevan House Project

The Injured Jockeys Fund was founded following two devastating accidents at Aintree Racecourse in the 1960s. Firstly that of jockey Tim Brookshaw, and then four months later Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National, both of which resulted in severe paralysis.

The Fund helps any rider who holds, or has held, a Professional or Amateur licence issued by the British Horseracing Authority, including any spouse, partner, child or dependant they may have. Since it was founded, it has helped over 1,000 jockeys and their families, contributing more than £18 million, and providing support at many levels including physio, strength and conditioning, nutritional advice, sports psychology and general pastoral care.

The Peter O'Sullevan House

It provides much of this support through its three rehabilitation and fitness centres. The most recent, Peter O’Sullevan House in Newmarket, Suffolk, opened on 12 August this year and, located next to the British Racing School, and will offer state-of-the-art facilities including physio treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool, and a gym.

hydrotherpy pool

To raise the sizeable amount needed to develop Peter O’Sullevan House, named after the well-known ‘Voice of Racing’ commentator, the charity launched a successful fundraising campaign, and to show its gratitude to its supporters and benefactors, recently launched an Online Book listing each one.

As well as donors’ names, the book also explains the Fund’s history, and contains information on the project. Pictures include one of the centre, as well as of a sculpture created by artist Tom Hill from 800 horseshoes, each one holding the name of a member of the public who donated £100 or more.

Tom Hill horseshoe sculpture

You can take a look at the book here.

Contact Us – personal Online Book enquiry form.

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Julie PentecostThanking supporters of The Injured Jockeys Fund’s Peter O’Sullevan House Project

A gloriumptious glimp at Roald Dahl

The holidays are over, the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping – but nicely timed to provide some much-needed cheer at this time of the year is Roald Dahl Day.

Celebrated globally, Roald Dahl Day takes place each year on 13 September – the author’s birthday. It’s an excuse to have a phizz-whizzing time, to gobblefunk with words and eat some scrumdiddlyumptious food – but preferably not to partake in any whizzpopping if you please…

Roald Dahl books

In honour of the event, here are some of our favourite facts about Roald Dahl as well as a few tips for Roald Dahl themed things to do and places to visit.

5 interesting facts you might not know about Roald Dahl:

• As a boy at Repton, he and fellow pupils trialed chocolate bars for Cadbury.
• In WW2, not only was Roald a fighter pilot, but he was also a spy.
• He wrote over 30 books and invented 250 words.
• When Roald Dahl died, he was buried with some of his favourite things, including chocolate, and a power drill.
• He wrote in a shed for four hours a day. Always by hand and never with a typewriter.

Places to visit & things to do:

Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire is where Dahl lived in his later years, in a cottage he bought with his wife Patricia Neal. The house is now privately owned but it’s possible to visit the church where Dahl is buried: St Peter and St Paul’s Church.

The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre is also in Great Missenden and well worth a visit. It has three galleries as well as Roald’s Writing Hut, and runs a range of activities throughout the year. It is also gearing up for 13 September: this year Roald Dahl Day celebrations will include storytelling, talks, trails and craft activities with a James and the Giant Peach twist, and the chance to help the museum’s create a giant peach of a mosaic using over 24,000 toy bricks.

Fancy an autumn break? Travel to Tenby where you can stay in The Cabin, where every room has a sea view and Dahl spent every Easter when he was young before the outbreak of WW2. It even has a blue plaque to say so.

This year’s Roald Dahl Day celebrates Matilda. The show based on the book, Matilda the Musical has just finished a UK and Ireland tour but is still on stage at London’s Cambridge Theatre. Go, and then upload a picture of yourself in the famous Matilda pose to the Global Pose Map.

Dahlicious Dress Up Day is a fundraising event for Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. It’s aimed at schools, which can take part by asking children (and adults) to donate £1 each to come in dressed as a Roald Dahl character on 13 September (or another suitable day).

Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl go hand in hand, and in London, the House of Illustration has a permanent Quentin Blake space, which gives a glimpse of the illustrator’s working world. Until the end of December it’s showing a range of recent publications, upcoming books, large-scale personal works and preparatory drawings for public art commissions. This includes his illustrations for John Ruskin’s only children’s book The King of the Golden River, and murals created for Sheffield Children’s hospital.

And finally, for more ideas to entertain the kids, check out the Roald Dahl site where there are a number of fun suggestions including a downloadable Roald Dahl Day 2019 party pack full of activities.

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Julie PentecostA gloriumptious glimp at Roald Dahl

Safari in the UK – our pick of this summer’s charity art trails

As our thoughts turn to summer holidays and fun times, many of us are looking for things to do that will entertain all ages, involve fresh air and new sights, and that also won’t break the bank.

Ticking all those boxes and with the added bonus of benefitting a range of good causes, there are some great art trails going on around the UK over the next few months, so if you’re not sure what to do or where to go this summer, why not combine travel with charity and visit a trail or two?

Here’s our selection of the art trails on offer between now and November, taking in a range of cities and even including an island or two – and each of them benefitting local charities.

Wallabies Gone Wild 2019

Wallabies Gone Wild 2019

Wallabies Gone Wild is taking place on the Isle of Man for 14 weeks from 24th May to 1st September with wallabies all over the island. There are 26 large wallaby sculptures designed by local and national artists and sponsored by local businesses, and 38 small ‘Wallababy’ sculptures that have been designed by the island’s schools and community groups. It benefits Hospice Isle of Man.

Elmer the Pathwork Elephant 2019

Elmer the Pathwork Elephant 2019

Elmer the Pathwork Elephant is appearing in a few locations this summer. From 15 June to 7 September, Ipswich is playing host to 55 individually designed elephants based on the much-loved children’s character. Visitors will also be able to meet the Learning Herd: 84 ‘young Elmers’, who will be popping up in special locations all across town. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of both St Elizabeth Hospice – the charity benefitting from Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk – and Elmer.

In celebration of Elmer’s special anniversary, there will be two other Big Parades taking place around the country: in Plymouth and Tyne & Wear. Elmer’s Big Parade Plymouth takes place from 8th July – 16th September with 40 sculptures dotted around the city for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, while the Great North Parade in Tyne & Wear will see over 50 elephants waiting to be found from 21st August – 1st November, benefitting St Oswald’s Hospice.

Our-Wullies Big Bucket Trail 2019

Our-Wullies Big Bucket Trail 2019

Up in Scotland, Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail is taking place across a number of cities. It kicked off on 17th June and continues until 30th August. Oor Wullie can be found in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, and benefits Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, ARCHIE Foundation and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Go Wild Gorilla Project

In Jersey, gorillas are taking over, benefitting the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The Go Wild Gorilla trail sees 40 life-size gorilla sculptures, painted by a range of artists, dotted around the island for three months from 27th July to 14th October. Sculptures of young gorillas will appear first in local businesses and shop windows, painted by schools and community groups. Each of the 40 life-size sculptures will be sponsored by a local business, helping to raise money for a new indoor home for Jersey Zoo’s own gorilla family.

World Horse Welfare

Appearing in three locations, World Horse Welfare has created a 40-sculpture, multiple-location The World Horse Trail to tell the stories of horses helped by the charity and to highlight other areas of its work with horses in sport.  There is the Windsor Borough Trail, the Show Trail and the Farm Trail to discover. The trails will see horse sculptures appearing in a number of locations including at the charity’s Rescue and Rehoming Centres around the UK, and in several locations around the Royal Boroughs of Windsor and Eton to the end of July.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria

Also around Windsor, a three-month display of painted lions is taking place from August to October to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria with 100% of the proceeds going to Thames Hospice, Windsor Lions, Tusk and Look Good Feel Better. The Lions of Windsor trail includes lion and cub sculptures decorated by UK artists, designers and illustrators, including Dame Zandra Rhodes, and sponsored by businesses, organisations and schools across the region.

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Julie PentecostSafari in the UK – our pick of this summer’s charity art trails

New research shows positive outlook from charities despite challenges

While it’s easy to focus on doom and gloom with the continuing uncertainty over Brexit and the economy hanging over us, two reports came out last month that reveal that, despite some challenges, the charity sector for one is not standing still.

In fact, the reports – Charities Aid Foundation’s 2019 UK Giving Report, and the IoF and PwC’s Fundraising for Impact – show that charities in general are forging ahead to ensure future sustainability, making positive changes to build trust and relationships, and working hard to innovate and raise more funds.

For Fundraising for Impact, the IoF and PwC surveyed over 100 fundraising charities of varying sizes. Despite concerns over increasing costs and how the economy uncertainty might affect how people give and demand for services, it found charities predicting a 10% growth in income over the next three years, and continuing to invest.

Fundraising priorities for the future

The IoF and PwC study asked charities to identify their main fundraising priorities, highlighting the top three as improving the experience of their current supporters (63%), reaching out to find new ones (59%), and innovation and trying new things (53%). Exploring new partnerships was also key.

Crucially, it seems these priorities are also being backed up financially, with the most important areas of investment stated being finding new supporters (91%) and improving the experience of current supporters (90%). Three quarters of respondents to this survey also said their charity’s investment in generating voluntary income was of the utmost importance.

Challenges to overcome  

Certainly CAF’s UK Giving 2019 report, which covers data collected monthly from 2016-2018 and comprising more than 12,000 individual interviews, points to a need to invest in the supporter experience. It found that the number of regular givers in the UK fell for the third year in a row during 2018 with 65% of the British public either giving money to charity directly or sponsoring a friend or family member in 2018, down from 69% in 2016.

Trust has also continued to decline with just under half (48%) of people in 2018 saying they believe charities to be trustworthy – down from 51% in 2016. Less people engaged in other social actions too in 2018, such as signing petitions, and taking part in local public consultations.

Giving insights

Those that do give financially are giving more however, according to CAF, with overall donations levels remaining fairly static at around £10 billion last year.

Some causes, of course, also fare better than others, with CAF’s report putting children/young people, and animal welfare in joint top spot for 2018. 26% of people said they had given to each of these causes in the month before being questioned in 2018. Following very closely behind is medical research, and in fourth place, hospitals and hospices. The least popular causes are arts, and sports and recreation, both scoring just 2%.

The causes that donors give the biggest donations to however, are somewhat different. Religious causes saw by far the largest donations in 2018, with an average gift size of £74 – up from 2017’s £59. Overseas aid and disaster relief and the arts both saw average donation sizes of £30, while in 2018, donations for schools, colleges, universities and other education remained the same as 2017 (£21) after falling from £46 in 2016.

A positive outlook

Encouraging people to give more, and more people to give then will undoubtedly continue to be a key issue for charities into the future. But, while the reports highlight numerous challenges, as well as work to be done, there are clear indications in both that charities are already proactively working to address them, putting supporters at the heart of their organisations, and focusing too on innovation and collaboration – positive news indeed.

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Julie PentecostNew research shows positive outlook from charities despite challenges

‘Loved ones’ doesn’t just mean families and friends.

‘Loved ones’ is such an all-encompassing description – friends, family and partners of course, but what about those we loved whose posters were on our walls as teenagers? The pop star pin ups of our teenage years? What happens to the love and affection we feel when they pass away? The British Liver Trust’s online Book of Memories has a new tribute page to one such pin up boy, the wonderful David Cassidy, who sadly passed away in 2017 and bravely shared his story before he passed.  

Davis Cassidy
David Cassidy by Allan Warren [Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0]

David had 10 albums with the Partridge Family and five as a solo artist and was definitely in the category of ‘poster boy’ – although he said he longed to be a rock n roller like Mick Jagger. From ‘Daydreamer’ in 1972 to Blood Brothers in the West End and his Vegas shows in the 1990’s, David continued to break hearts and fill venues with his soulful voice. In 2017 after a performance in which he was clearly struggling, David said he was living with dementia, but in an interview later that year he felt able to share the news that he had liver disease due to alcohol addiction. We are grateful to David and his family for sharing the cause of his illness and death, as many people struggle with alcohol and are afraid to speak about it as they feel they will be judged harshly. Only by being more open will we be able to make changes and support those who need it.

David’s Tribute page was set up by Camellia, who has been a fan since the 1970s. “I wanted to set up this page in Memorial of David Cassidy,” said Camellia, “as he has lots of dedicated fans who followed him here in the UK and supported him in all he did. Towards the end of David’s life he was very open about his addiction to alcohol and the effects it caused him physically and emotionally. He died way too young as many do from alcohol-related liver disease. An online memorial for fans to leave messages seemed a fitting tribute to him in recognition of his struggle. A final token of love from fans. And to highlight the amazing charity that helps all affected by this.”

British Liver Trust is very grateful to Camellia and all those who find comfort in setting up online tributes to loved ones – wherever and however they were loved.

To see David’s page and the lovely memories and comments of his fans, please go to:

https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/BritishLiverTrust/Celebrations/BookofMemories2/16

Contact Us – personal Online Book enquiry form.

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Julie Pentecost‘Loved ones’ doesn’t just mean families and friends.