I sent a particular OurRebakah friend an e-mail and we timed how long it took him to reply.
1 hour 7 minutes. Pretty damn good eh ! Don't know about you but I don't answer e-mails so promptly.
On Friday 6th October I sent this man a letter from OurRebekah. I sent it to The House of Commons where, presumably he was not there over the week-end. He picked it up on Monday 9th October then replied that very same day.
That's a bit special do you not agree ? THANK YOU MR SPEAKER. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Normally writing the blog I would tell you what the letter said and make a big thing of Speaker Bercow's kindness, it was a special letter, but I am going to hold off for another time. Yesterday afternoon an e-mail popped in from Ronald McDonald which I want to share.
Mr Speaker will you tell everyone to stop what they are doing and listen.
For one-year-old Bram, life took an unexpected turn after doctors discovered he had a brain tumour.
Bram was transferred to a hospital far from home to receive specialist medical care. The family stayed in Ronald McDonald House's ‘home away from home’ a total of 105 nights.
When we do silly things with frogs, when we cheer on Sheffield Wednesday FC to score lots of goals, when we run, or in my case walk (slowly) on Sunday it is to love families like Bram's.
Never forget that.
Trevor at Sheffield Wednesday is Director of Communications. John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons -COMMUNICATION. Scott and our friends at The National Trust are expert at telling people what they do. Ro at Wrigglies Exotic Pets is a world expert when it comes to communicating his passion for animals.
I have excused Ronald McDonald for not communicating properly by saying this is modesty. Yes, it is but so many times when I speak to people about Ronald McDonald Houses and they say I never knew that.
Yesterday Ronald McDonald House Charities sent me an e-mail to share with you. An e-mail that bursts with information to communicate. Information to share. Information to be proud of so I am going to shout it from the rooftops.
In the short time OurRebekah has been operating we have raised £2,000. Not a single penny has been spent covering our own costs. Everything has gone to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
So how has the money been spent there ?
Until that e-mail of yesterday that was a question I could not answer. But now.........
There you go.
50% goes to building new houses
28% to run the existing operation
10% used to generate more support
8% raising awareness
4% running costs
I think that is good. Don't you ? I think that is damn good stewardship of the money.
I also think it is something we need to share. Those are figures to be proud of and something we can use to generate even more support for families like Bram's.
Allow me to develop some thoughts on each part of the pound coin.
£14,000,000 in total, fourteen million pound coins - great but that is not enough.
You can not blame Ronald McDonald Houses for that. It is we supporters who need to up our game.
The problem with OurRebekah at the moment is we have a small group of people who are dipping into their pockets. We need to widen our support base. We need to bring in more people to join in the fun.
AMAZING - we have nineteen people taking part in the Big Fun Run on Sunday. We boast that our next fun run is happening in April on The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco !
We have four people going to the City By The Bay and have already raised £100 in sponsorship. We have been content to sit back and be happy with those four instead of taking the group up to, say TEN people.
Half of the money, 50p in every £1, is being spent building and opening new houses.
I spoke recently with someone who said to me: I wish there was a house local to me I could get involved with.
There is a need for more houses.
Spending half of the income is absolutely the right thing to do.
Here's Tyler, above right. He has so far collected £135 in sponsorship for Sunday. That's the same amount of money people handed over in cash at our Frog Challenge. Young Tyler racing round everywhere, speaking to everyone and running his Adopt A Dinosaur table did a lot to guide the cash to Ronald McDonald House. The money from that day went to the Oxford House, a house which is so much in need of new and bigger premises.
Sunday's fun run is dedicated to supporting the recently opened Evelina House in London.
To open a new Ronald McDonald House costs many millions, I have heard the figure of sixteen million mentioned.
We need more houses to care for the families with families in hospital.
I want to turn now to the 8% figure. 8p in every £1 spent to rise awareness.
Ronald McDonald I LOVE the way you put that. RAISING AWARENESS. It is no secret that I detest the word MARKETING. I like the word communicating but RAISING AWARENESS is so perfect. A BRILLIANT way of putting it.
I am not particularly fond of this picture on the left - ugly old sod aint I ? However, sharing that image of my spinning some coins for Ronald McDonald House directly brought about almost £200 being handed to OurRebekah for Ronald McDonald House.
Here on the right is a much better pic. I took Member of Parliament Iain Stewart to McDonalds to spin some coins. I bent his ear about the work done in the houses. That evening he and I were guests at a dinner which had nothing at all to do with Ronald McDonald. Iain was sitting next to Susan, the Mayoress of our city. He bent her ear about Ronald McDonald House. She spoke to me and asked me what it was all about.
Here she is at the Frog Challenge cuddling a skunk - YES a skunk !
The picture of her husband David, our Mayor, is fast becoming famous.
I think that OurRebekah is doing its bit to raise awareness but friends WE MUST DO MORE.
Two of my grandchildren, Adam left and Katherine on the right, spinning coins for Ronald McDonald House. Can I take you to McD's, tell you about the work being done and spin some coins ? The Big Macs are on me.
Now for the biggie - the big figure !
Actually it is the smallest figure in the charity's accounts..
4 pennies in every pound spent on administration.
I think that is pretty damn good. Excellent stewardship of the money handed over.
But I am going to criticise Ronald McDonald House's Board of Management.
To be spending ONLY 4p in the pound running your central office is something to be proud of. The trustees are excellent stewards of the money. You need to set aside modesty and tell people how when they give money it is so well managed.
Well done the board of trustees, well done. If you won't shout your mouth off about this then I will do it for you.
I am for ever saying that SUPPORT does not always mean money but it does always mean LOVE.
20,000 hours of volunteer help. That's a bit special isn't it.
When I first met Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham Libby, the House Manager, said it was a LOUD house.
Birmingham likes to be known as The House That Love Built. I have re-named it THE MANSION OF LOVE. As you walk round the house LOVE squirts out of every wall.
I have been part of a family living in a Ronald McDonald House and I can tell you the one thing you DO NOT need is someone saying: There, there it will be alright.
Sadly for some it will not be alright.
True there are times when families need space away from it all, quiet personal time, but the best way to support families is to have fun. To quote OurRebekah - TO HAVE FUN, BE A BIT SILLY, TO SMILE AND MAKE OTHERS SMILE.
Houses need volunteers to make that happen.
OurRebekah is completely independent, we support Ronald McDonald Houses but we are not part of the charity.
We have been running for four and a bit months. We are only just getting into our stride. There is a lot to be done.
Don't just pass that by - DO IT
Download the Ronald McDonald House Report. It is well written, it is fun and it is packed with information.
I am thrilled to have received that e-mail, to have read the report and to have shared here with you all just a part of it.
Somehow I have got to take this information and put it into every project on every page of our website.
From Sheffield to San Francisco. From The Bridge House to The Northampton Lighthouse.
From Singing The Blues to Hi Ho House That Love Built.
I am wondering if I will have to rip up the entire website and start again. This information is so important JI am prepared to do that. If it it presented well we can use it to raise much more support than we are at present.
I am not keen on the Ronald McDonald House website. I use it a lot. It is difficult to navigate. I am for ever falling over bits that do not work properly. I think you guys should rip that website up and do something new.
Take this information you have shared with me in the e-mail, take your excellent report and put that at the front of every page of a new website.
Ronald McDonald House Charities YOU ARE DOING A FANTASTIC JOB., I salute you. You are excellent stewards of the money and support people are giving you.
TELL EVERYBODY ABOUT THAT
OurRebekah Lets get more for Ronald McDonald Houses