Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome Hacker #15

Now I have the pleasure of welcoming our 15th Hacker, Bronagh Walsh.

Here's her bio

Bronagh has worked in PR and Communications for 7 years. She has worked with organisations like Pieta House, the Ageing Well Network and Médecins Sans Frontières on their story, messaging and media relations. She has a proven track record of providing strategic advice, developing and implementing awareness campaigns and media relations. She is passionate about helping organisations to tell their story.
Originally from Co. Wexford, Bronagh holds a BA (Hons) from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Diploma in PR and Event Management from the Public Relations Institute of Ireland.
Bronagh’s other interests include swimming, supporting Leinster rugby, baking and wakeboarding. Bronagh swam competitively for 10 years and still clocks up the km in the pool on a weekly basis. During the cold wet winter she can be found standing on the side-lines of a rugby pitch cheering on St. Mary’s RFC, Leinster or Ireland.

She Tweets @bronaghwalsh

and here's her pretty (but tiny) photo

Welcome Hacker #14

Now ladies and gentleman at number 14. Mr.... Ed..... Hurrell!! If anybody knows about the challenges facing organisations trying to fundraise in Ireland surely its Ed.

His bio

Ed Hurrell is the Business Development Manager at Fundraising Ireland.  In this role he organises and manages fundraising training, conferences and courses, manages membership, grows current income and develops new income streams for the organisation. Over the past three and a half years with Fundraising Ireland, Ed has had the privilege of working with and learning from many of the fundraising sectors most prominent leaders and innovators.

Ed says 'I am very passionate about working for social good and I am looking forward to contributing to such an innovative and worthwhile project'

You normally find Ed tweeting from @Fundraising_Ire

and here's his pretty picture

Monday, July 29, 2013

Welcome Hacker #13

Unlucky for some but very luck for Charity Hack. I'm delighted to announce that our 13th Hacker is Christine Brennan. All the way from Galway via Limerick, Dublin and Wellington.

Here's a wee bit about her in her own words :-)

I’m passionate about communications and branding. It’s all about the storytelling, your best stories, in the right way, to the right people.
I have been working in the worlds of public relations, communications strategy, marketing, branding, events, multimedia, project management for over a decade now.  Currently the Protocol, Public Relations & Communications Officer at the young and dynamic University of Limerick (get the plug in!), with previous roles working in communications and marketing across private and public sector in Ireland, UK, Asia and New Zealand. Also, a country girl from Galway who studied in DCU so always love an excuse for a trip back east.  

Twitter: @chrismbrennan

and her pretty photo

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview about Charity Hack on Founders Talk

I was delighted to be invited by Adam Stacoviak (@adamstac) to talk about Charity Hack on his show Founders Talk on the 5by5 Internet Broadcast Network, last week.

We got to talk a lot about fundraising, charities, heroes and of course Charity Hack. 

It's really amazing to get interest and support from as far away as Houston, Texas and I really enjoyed our chat.

You can listen to the whole conversation here


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Charity Hack the story so far

Earlier this year I spent every Tuesday getting the late train back from Cork to Dublin.

It was on one of these journeys that the idea of Charity Hack germinated.

As a fundraiser for one of the largest charities in Ireland it's quite common for smaller charities to ask for a bit of help or advice on campaigns they want to run or just how they can start fundraising following grant cuts etc.

I, like the rest of my colleagues, do my best. We'll meet for a coffee and share our thoughts, allow people to bounce ideas off us and even pitch an idea or two.


It's always pretty frustrating.

There are so many amazing organizations and so many challenges they face that a 30 minute coffee just doesn't cut it.

Now the obvious solution is to volunteer to help these charities. Take a place on their board or help them with a fundraising event. That would definitely help solve a problem, would make me feel better and might make a difference.


and this is the embarrassing thing. I'm not a great volunteer. I don't sign up to give my time. I don't have any reason not to do it but I don't.

and even if I did volunteer for one organization what happens to all the rest of them?

So I'm back to square one.

Lots of organizations need help and I'm still on the late night train.

I'm on the train, it's dark outside and raining.

But I've got Wifi and my iPad,

I'm saved.

Being the geek I am I'm reading technology websites and there's an article about some company doing a Hack.

Lots of tech companies run Hacks internally, or with their major clients, so that they can focus all their resources over the course of one day or a weekend on a single problem.

Normally Hacks are focussed on a really technical online problem or piece of soft ware but...

What if?

and that's where Charity Hack came from. What if I could get a team of expert charity hackers working on one problem that a charity was facing to help them develop a fundraising campaign in just 12 hours.

I asked around and some people thought it sounded like a good idea so I though 'Let's give it a go'

At the end of April I announced Charity Hack on this blog

and started spreading the word that I was looking for organizations to take part in this event.

What a ride it has been so far:

  • Over 30 charities applied to be part of Charity Hack
  • There are 20 volunteer hackers (some still to be announced) and more to come
  • 5 amazing organisations have been chosen
  • 7000 people have read this blog
  • I've been contacted by people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and USA to find out about Charity Hack
  • We have a volunteer flying in from the UK to be a hacker
  • I've been interviewed in Texas
  • We've had beer sponsored by a New Yorker
It's been pretty overwhelming really. 

And we're still just at the start of the adventure.

On the 10th August, 40 or so people with gather for Charity Hack. 

Most will be strangers to each other. 

Some will be from organizations hoping that their faith in the concept is justified. 

Some will be the hackers willing to give all they have and hoping it's enough.

I'll be there terrified that it will all go wrong but trying with all my heart to make sure it's the day I'm dreaming of.

A day when this group of 40 strangers will come together to make things better. 

Better for the organizations 

Better for the people they serve

and better for themselves because nobody who gives of themselves for others can ever be left unrewarded.

Will it work out ok?

Who knows? 

But Bring it On.


PS: Are you allowed have ps's in a blog? Anyway.
Today I've been thinking a lot about possibilities and Oprah Winfrey.


Yeah well we all know about Oprah as one of the most powerful women in the world. Owner of her own tv network, the person who created a genre of day time tv, billionaire and the lady who interviewed Lance Armstrong.

But today I've been thinking about the young Oprah, who was raised by a grandmother that was so poor Oprah wore potato sacks going to school. She was abused. Pregnant at 14 and she lost that child not long after it was born.

If you put yourself in that horrible life how hopeful do you think you'd feel? What possibilities do you think you'd see in front of you?

Well this morning randomly I came across this video. It's from a concert honoring Oprah for her career but what struck me is that the little girl you just read about has funded over 60,000 young people to go to college. 

Do you think she ever thought that was possible?

So what else can we do?

PPS: This is just a question. What happens after Charity Hack?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Welcome to Hacker #12

On this sunny morning I'm delighted to welcome the latest hacker to the team, fundraiser, Gerard Tiernan.

A bit about Gerard in his own words

Having fallen into the world of fundraising by accident 3 years it is an area I am passionate about now. I have worked along side the national charity Console and also Turn2me. I am creative with my thinking which would help the Charity Hack as I like to develop ideas which will be outside the box !!!!

As somebody who has completed many fundraising events over the years i belive this experience can help understand what people will enjoy and what should br involved in events.

You can Tweet Gerard: @tiernangerard

and here's his pretty photo

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome to Hacker #11

Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to introduce and welcome Ireland's only dual Fundraiser and American Football Player!! 

Here's a bit about him

My name is Mike McGuire and I am the Corporate Partnerships Manager for UNICEF Ireland.  I have been working in UNICEF for almost three years.  My job is to maintain the existing relationships we have with our Corporate Partners and to seek out new partners.  Before taking my current role I ran my own property management company for almost five years.  The Non Profit industry is a lot more rewarding to the soul but it helps to have a good understanding of the private sector!  In my spare time I share fundraising ideas from around the world on my blog (is this an obvious plug?) that you can access here

Tweet him @mikemcguire_m

and his dashing photo

Welcome Hacker #10

and we reach the big ONE ZERO. Our tenth chacker joins us from Meath (via China), Carma O'Connor Dunne. with a mix a skills ranging from software engineering to life coaching and acupuncture

Here's a bit about her.

The last year has seen me spend a huge amount of time using social media for small business marketing purposes along with website creation, updating and maintenance. A background in software engineering has helped hugely in this area and I have recently started IT tutoring small business owners struggling with all things IT relating to their business along with Social Media tutoring. As a qualified life coach my skills are invaluable for this type of work. I am passionate about empowering others in the areas of IT, Life Coaching and general well being.

Twitter @restoreybalance

and a pretty photo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Charity Hack needs help.

As you know Charity Hack is completely voluntary. 

There is no money coming in from anybody to take part and any money that goes out comes from my pocket. 

I'm ok with that, it's my idea so in order to make Charity Hack a success I'm willing to cover some costs but since my wife is expecting our first child in Autumn the less money that goes out of my pocket the better. 

So Simon @totalfundraising had this good idea. Why not make a wish list of everything that Charity Hack might need and see if people want to sponsor or provide it for nothing other than honest gratitude and good karma. 

So here goes: 

If there's something on the list that you might be able to source please just write in the comments below or email me I'll keep adding to this list as I think of things and I'll strike off items as they're covered. If you have anything else you think we might need let me know too.

Thanks in advance:

Oh and if you're not sure what Charity Hack is all about you can read all about it here

What Charity Hack Needs:
  • Rolls of paper from Ikea  Thanks to me :-)
  • T-Shirts for the Hackers and Hackies x 40 (nice to have but not essential)
  • Coffee (we're going to need a lot over 12 hours maybe somebody knowns/owns an indie coffee shop that could do with a shout out) Thanks 3FE 
  • Biscuits Time to take out my baking books
  • Lunch (something hot to keep us going) Thanks +Simon Scriver and Total Fundraising
  • 40 plain white mugs (you'll see why on the day)  Thanks +John Nolan 

  • A Big Countdown Clock  Thanks to Data Display for donating the display and +Colin Whittaker  who's going to write the code for the clock

  • Beer for the after party (if you don't ask...)  Thanks +AJ Leon and the Misfits
  • An artist of illustrator to draw/sketch the scene at Charity Hack Thanks David Byrne 

Story of the Lazy Giraffe

There was once a lazy giraffe.

He didn't like having to stretch his long neck to reach up to the high, hard to eat leaves. He preferred to sit on the grass underneath the trees and eat the leaves from the bottom branches. He was well capable of standing but he couldn't be bothered, it wasn't worth the effort.

The lazy giraffe was pretty happy with his lot. Day after day he sat around eating the low hanging leaves, life was good.

Then one day another giraffe came along.

A much younger giraffe.

A much shorter giraffe.

He'd been walking all day and he was starving. He'd seen the trees in the distance and had rushed towards them looking forward to a good hearty feed.


When he got to the first tree he noticed that there were no leaves that he could reach. All the lower branches had been stripped bare. He ran from tree to tree hoping to find some easy to reach leaves but there weren't any.

The older, lazier giraffe had eaten them all.

The young giraffe,

grew disheartened,

gave up

and went away.


My point is this.

Sometimes it's easy to reach the low hanging fruit, to take the easy road and to accept the status quo.

It's easy to say something is too hard to achieve before we even try.

We all have dreams.

We all wish things were different, or better but most of us shrug our shoulders and just say 'it will never change', 'nobody's bothered' and 'there's nothing we can do.'

But that's all crap.

Every change or improvement that's ever been made in our society has come people who thought different.

They 'had a go'

'took a chance'

'refused not to try.

Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Today Laura Ryder (@laurajryder) profiles ACT for Meningitis who will be taking part in Charity Hack on the 10th August.

The story of ACT is one of tragedy, of loss and of refusal to accept that that's the way things are going to stay.

Children like Aoibhe Carroll die every year from Meningitis, often because people didn't recognize the signs of the illness.

ACT for Meningitis are determined to make sure everybody knows the signs so no other family has to suffer.

They want to make  things better.

Some leaves are incredibly hard to reach but if we try....

You can read Laura's profile of ACT for Meningitis here

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Who cares about prisoners?

I mean it.

Who cares about prisoners?

Other then when you've watched a documentary about the 'shocking conditions' in Mountjoy and you talked about how disgusting it was in work the next day.

Or maybe when you ranted about how 'soft' a particular prison sentence was when you heard about it on the news.

'He should be locked up for life'

Outside of those times have you ever taken the time to think about prisoners?

Thought about the path that led them there?

What it would be like to be locked away from your family?

Me either. I'm too frightened to think about those things.

'There but for the grace of God go I', as my Mam would say.


and here's the big but.

If nobody cared about you what would happen to you? If nobody helped you through the hard times, or pointed out where you'd made mistakes where would your road lead?

With prisoners it's the same deal. If nobody takes the time to help them when they come out of prison to try and settle into a normal life, avoid the things that got them in trouble in the first place or deal with the issues that caused their situation where will they end up? Back in prison.

Who does that help?


Somebody has to do something for them, to break the cycle, keep people out of prison and ultimately make our streets a bit safer.


and this is another big but.

We've just agreed that nobody cares about prisoners. We don't think about them. We're not interested in their lives or in trying to help them.

Thankfully some people do care. They provide support and counseling to prisoners and their families. They try to give them the help they need to take their second chance and take a functioning part in society. They care about a group of people that the rest of us are afraid of.

and I'm very proud that they'll be joining Charity Hack

Care After Prison are trying to make a difference to the lives of prisoners because if they don't, who will?

You can read Laura Ryder's profile of them here!care-after-prison-profile/c14mq 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Welcome Hacker #9

I'm delighted to announce that my friend and colleague Matt Lewis will be joining our team of Charity Hackers. Matt brings, along with his experience in fundraising on two continents, a mega positive attitude, the worst Dutch accent you've ever heard and if we're really nice to him so amazing homemade bread.

Here's his bio

I am currently the community fundraiser in the South Leinster region for the Irish Cancer Society, the job is a great challenge and demands a diverse approach. This is the second charity job that I have had, as I was previously a fundraising coordinator for The Cancer Council Victoria (Australia), where I worked solely on a community event called Relay For Life. I have done a range of jobs in various countries. My work and life has always been people orientated and I love to people watch usually over a coffee and some cake.
he also lived in Fiji which I think is random
and what a photo

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Charity Hack can help bring colour into some lives

The idea behind Charity Hack was simple, to give a helping hand to some organisations who needed it.

So many charities struggle through every day. Not knowing if there's enough money to keep the lights on or if they'll be able to keep doing the work they know needs to be done.

Often though the biggest hurdle to get over is the feeling that nobody else cares about you or your organization, after all anytime you tell people what you do they say "I've never heard of that!"

It can be soul destroying.

But on the other hand, the amazing people who run these organisations have the most precious commodity of all.


It's the hope that they can make a difference today and tomorrow and maybe even the day after that, that keeps them going.

It's the hope that if they can just get past this tricky patch that things will get easier, that more people will have heard of them and that more help will be arrive.

In a small, tiny way I'm hoping that Charity Hack can provide a sliver of hope to our five chosen organizations. Even if it's just to show that somebody else cares and wants to help.

Rainbows Ireland provides support to 20,000 children a year who have suffered loss through  bereavement or the breakup of a family.

For 25 years their volunteers have been caring for young people at the darkest points in their life.
Laura Ryder @laurajryder has been speaking to Rainbows Ireland about their work.

Read her profile here!rainbows-profile/cyib