Money, money, money

Have you ever been asked what you’d do with the money if you won the lottery?

Most people imagine having to find a purpose for a few million £, $, etc. but there is more to a lottery win than the big bucks. What if you won £100,000? Or perhaps £1000?

I imagine most people would be tempted to spend the smaller sums on themselves, and I, myself, would probably agree with that idea. If I was given £1000 I wouldn’t want to give it away because at the moment I have so little money that it would give me options. I could learn to drive/buy a cheap second hand car. I could travel! I could buy many more/new items of technology that would make me very happy.

But what if someone handed £1000 to you and told you, you had to spend it on something worthwhile? Perhaps give it to charity, or run a community project. If you so wish, you could hand it to a homeless person and tell them to enjoy. There are options that are available to everyone and no doubt, I would find somewhere to give the money.

One problem, however, is that a long time ago I made a promise to myself. The anti-bullying charity which gave me back my life, which built up my confidence and gave me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams would be my first port of call for any money that I hoped to give to charity.

When a cause matters to you, then the money you give away isn’t meaningless. It’s not a faceless good deed which you care little about. It is important and you know exactly how the money can help.

For a small charity, £1000 is a lot of money. It’s the difference between being able to run that summer project they couldn’t otherwise afford. It is time someone spends answering phones in order to provide advice and support to anyone who needs it. It is a lifeline.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago said charity closed down.

That in itself is a travesty. In the period where we faced closure I played the lottery more often than usual, in the hope that I could win some money. Not a lot, just £100,000 would have sufficed. If I’d won that money, I’d have given half to the charity to give them the opportunity they needed to stay open for a year or more. The other half I would have spent on getting a second degree.

I’ve always believed very much in giving to charity. Since I’m unemployed and I have given a lot of my time to charities over the years, I don’t tend to go for a monetary donation because I know that time is just as vital. I have paid my dues several times over. That doesn’t mean I will stop volunteering, because I enjoy what I do. What my point is, giving money to charity isn’t the only way you can support somewhere.

I digress, if someone handed me £1000 and told me to give it to a charity of my choice, I wouldn’t know where to turn. Without that anti-bullying organisation that changed my life, I don’t really have any causes that make me think ‘yes, they will always get my donations’. I know which organisations I *wouldn’t* give money to (namely, big national charities and a couple of local charities that get practically ALL of the potential support from local businesses/people) but I don’t know what cause I would want to support.

I would probably be tempted to hand it to the local Samaritans branch, because, whilst Samaritans is a national charity, each individual branch is a charity in its own right. That way, I know the money is going to benefit local people rather than be swallowed up in administration.

If someone was to give me £50,000 or more in order to do with it what I please, I would have to jump at the chance of re-opening my beloved anti-bullying charity. It would probably need to be restarted, renamed and rebranded, but that would only benefit the service in the long run. Before it closed, we attempted to get funding for a cyberbullying project which would have been a very significant project for our local area, so being able to set that up would probably be a priority.

Money is such a powerful thing, and it’s so easy to look at money and think of its uses in a purely selfish way. It’s only natural, especially in this day and age. There’s nothing wrong with being a little selfish sometimes. But if the opportunity is handed to you, to make a different…what would you do with it?

If you were given £1000, which good cause would you donate the money to?

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I could have any job? I already have it.

If I could have any job in the world I would be a rhinoceros running through the grasses of Tanzania, or maybe a superhero, flying through the sky above a bright city rescuing strangers from minor crimes.

No, I wouldn’t.

My dream job isn’t weird, or ‘wonderful’, or glorious or adventurous. It is what it is.

I work for an anti-bullying charity on a part time basis and other than the odd ‘is there anything I actually have on my list that can be done today?’ moments, I love it. I love the organisation, I love working with the children and young people who come here.

Bully Free Zone saved my life; not literally (I wasn’t at risk of suicide), but without them I wouldn’t have the quality of life I have built up.

This has been the job I wanted for years and I have it.

What you don’t know, however, is that my lovely, small, local charity that has been my life for so long, is at the risk of closing. We’re £50, 000 short of keeping going for 12 months. It’s not just us, the financial climate is poor and the voluntary sector is struggling. But it hurts, it physically hurts (if I let myself think about it), that a place that helped me become me is probably not going to be here anymore. Come March there will be no volunteers, there will be only one member of staff and a laptop trying to help these children who have suffered from the effects of bullying.

It’s sad and as much as we try and find funding, there’s not a lot else we can do. It might work out, it might not. I keep hoping for some kind of miracle. Yet, in reality, it’s not a television show, £50, 000 won’t come flying in on the day before we’re due to close saving us from ending the work of this fantastic organisation.

So yeah, my dream job is here, it’s what I do…and it’s about to be ripped away from me.

Maybe my new dream job should be finding some way to become filthy rich, if only to fund this life saving organisation.