Reasons to be Cheerful

I subscribe to GRIN. That is to say… Every Monday to Friday, I get a bulletin from the Grants Resources Information News, which focuses on one grant scheme or related resource. Every alternate Friday it features a blog by TED fan and philanthropy advisor Emma Beeston. I thought today’s tied in nicely with the theme of TEDxExeter 2017, which we have just announced: HOPE. Emma was happy for us to feature it as a guest blog.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

 

Depending how you get your news, it can easily feel that we are living in gloomy and uncertain times. So, as the evenings get darker, it is important to keep looking for the positives that are all around us.

Not to delude ourselves (as my teenage son puts it when I endeavour to be cheerful, “life is not all rainbows and butterflies”) but to give us hope that positive change is possible. These are the reasons to be cheerful that I have gathered over the past few weeks and that give me cause for optimism: 

  • I attended a training session for small charities supporting refugees across the SW, which was co-hosted by Unbound and Lloyds Bank Foundation. I was very impressed by the fact that, despite the considerable difficulties they face to deliver vital front line services, all the charity leaders were also working to achieve systemic change. And one of the advocacy trainers reminded us all that the campaign to abolish the slave trade was started by just 12 people coming together.
  • The Funding Network held a live crowdfunding event in Bristol. The pitches were excellent – getting your case for support across in six minutes is no mean feat – and over £25k was raised for the five good causes. These were all small organisations where this level of funding, and the recognition, will make a big difference. But what struck me was the positive energy in the room created by people coming together and wanting to help.
  • I got to visit Exeter CoLab as they hosted the latest meeting of the Funding SW funders forum. This is such a good example of bringing services together to tackle social issues. I liked the focus on relationships, with those in difficulty telling their story just once and then being introduced to the individuals who can help them, rather than being constantly referred from one organisation after the next.
  • I have started using 360Giving website. After so many years of talking about data sharing and transparency, it is fantastic to have this open resource where you can see who has given grants to who. Do take a look, and if you are a grant-maker, add your data.

The millennials are coming and they are going to change things. I have been reading lots of research showing how millennials want to combine working with doing good. And this includes their activity in philanthropy and investment (e.g. a World Economic Forum study surveyed 5,000 millennials in 18 different countries and found that their overall top priority for any business should be “to improve society.”). Here is one article with some examples of what the next generation are up to.

And these are just some examples.  I have also visited and read about lots of other excellent charities who are working really hard to bring about positive social change. Thanks to all of them for giving me hope for our collective future.