Becky Hardiman of The Fragile X Society discusses fundraising eventwear and the appeal to small charities of drop shipping and good guidance
Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition that is the most common inherited cause of learning disability, explains Becky Hardiman, CEO of The Fragile X Society. It’s also, she notes, an under-recognised condition that is often overlooked as a diagnosis. The Fragile X Society aims to educate and empower individuals with Fragile X and their families, as well as to raise awareness of the condition amongst the public. For the past few years they’ve been holding awareness events on 10th October – chosen because, in Roman numerals, 10th October is XX.
“The very first thing we did was organise a series of flash mobs across the UK,” says Becky. “Red Dog [Print and Embroidery in County Durham] was absolutely fab and produced all the T-shirts for us for those and they just looked gorgeous. It made such a big difference having all the lovely, coordinated T-shirts.
“People get in touch with us all the time to say that they would like to have something that they could wear or take out with them, like a tote bag, that have a message about what Fragile X is on it. People are so passionate about raising awareness because it’s such a big barrier to people in their day-to-day lives, the fact that no-one has heard of or understands either their or their child’s condition.”
Red Dog has a section on its website for the charity where people can buy tees or a tote bag. The items are ordered and sent direct from Red Dog, with 10% of the total cost going to the charity. “Having a drop shipping model works really well. Potentially, if we bought the merchandise direct and sold it from our office we might make more per item, but being a small organisation that’s not really feasible: we can’t afford the outlay and we don’t have the space in our office. To have someone like Red Dog who are willing to do that for us is so valuable.”
Sarah Smith, company director at Red Dog, has, explains Becky, been very helpful at helping the charity narrow down the best options for them. “I was almost overwhelmed with the choice that there was! Sarah helped us decide, saying ‘If this was me, this is probably what I would try…’ and explained the different options available to us.” The T-shirts currently available are cotton ones for events such as the flash mobs, as well as moisture-wicking, polyester sports styles. “When people fundraise for us it’s often a sport event,” says Becky. “We also offer the T-shirts free to our fundraisers when they raise over £250 as an incentive. It’s really helpful having something that people can wear for a long period of time as they can keep talking about why they fundraise for us and why they support the charity. It’s something that they can keep, rather than a bib that they’d send back to us [after a race].”
For decorators thinking of approaching small charities, Becky says: “Often for small charities like us, we don’t always have much time to look into the options. Making things as easy as possible is key: be prepared to give advice and guidance, because a lot of us don’t have the background or the expertise to know where to start with what we might want. Also, having the drop shipping really makes a big difference.”
The Fragile X Society’s flash mob in a shopping centre in Cardiff