If you turn up to a meeting and sit there, without contributing, you will look like a lemon. It’s a bit like life, really.
I have found both stand-up comedy and running marathons to be really positive and enjoyable ways of raising money for charity. However, at the same time, my experience has shown me that most people reach a point of donor fatigue. Friends and colleagues were very generous in sponsoring my first marathon and so I didn’t want to pester them again without offering something in return. For that reason, I decided to support my fundraising by performing comedy events for charity.
I reasoned that if I was offering something in return for donations, I would always be able to raise sponsorship money. In fact, this skill has helped me to raise over £20,000 for a variety of good causes.
I found a course hosted by the amazing Logan Murray and learned how to become a stand-up comic. The commitment was significant and required me to train every Saturday for 12 weeks with a number of other people. It is said that public speaking is feared more than death and I can totally understand why. The effects of adrenaline on my system prior to my first event were profound! I was hugely dehydrated, despite drinking two litres of water; my palms were sweaty and my entire body was shaking.
At the end of 2012, I was persuaded by colleagues to dust off my microphone and to “Stand Up for Oxfam” in front of an audience of 250 people, consisting of clients, colleagues and friends, many of whom had never seen me perform before. The comedy night was held in aid of a programme of work sponsored by Oxfam called The Circle. This is a partnership of influential women who have come together to use their profiles, ideas, skills and resources to connect with other women living in poverty around the world. These like-minded individuals are bringing a fresh approach to the challenges women face, both now and in the future, with funds raised from Circle events supporting Oxfam projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Circle is making a real difference to women's lives through a number of initiatives that not only give girls the chance of an education and empower them to earn a living, but also those that help fight HIV and AIDS, adapt to climate change and protect women's rights.
I still perform at the occasional comedy event, partly to make sure I still can, but mostly to raise money for good causes. I use these skills for motivational or inspirational speaking and very occasionally I also run corporate comedy classes, which aim to teach those in the professional world how to conquer their fear of giving presentations.
Perhaps you’re planning an after dinner speech or a presentation or maybe you want to show your employees how to overcome a fear of public speaking. If you’d like to hire me to run a bespoke event or course for your organisation, please get in touch via the Contact Page.