IDo's journey so far...
So what is IDo all about???
KINDNESS + COMMUNITY
Kindness and community are at the heart of IDo and navigated by that, we will be focusing on three aspects that we feel encapsulates them both...
IDO FOR OTHERS
Giving back and supporting charitable projects and causes in a variety of different ways. We want to be open and flexible to a charity's needs and have the freedom to react accordingly. This will involve regular donations to a variety of causes, chosen by the community itself and also larger projects that require a more practical, hands on approach.
IDO FOR CHANGE
Highlighting campaigns, pledges and promoting action and change. Supporting causes online from reducing your plastic use to registering as a donor.. by coming together online we want to raise awareness and bring about change.
IDO FOR SELF
Taking care of ourselves.. together. Offering a network of resources to support individuals with the emphasis on kindness to ourselves and each other.
Our journey so far...
We were trying to think back to when we first thought about the idea for IDo. I think it was maybe four years ago?? I feel like it's been part of our conversations for such a long time.. but for most of that time we weren't even sure what it was. All we knew was that our community was amazing..
..and we wanted to do something.
Back in 2014 we travelled over to New Zealand to speak at a photography conference called A Bit More Soul. Little did we know that this wonderful, intimate retreat would have us heading back to NZ a further three times (and this most recent time we are heading back to actually talk about IDo). On our second trip we spoke alongside our, now wonderful friend Dave Dixon. He was there to talk about One Girl.. a charity he had founded in Australia.. starting out by simply selling sweets to raise money and now a fully fledged charity with a dozen staff on a mission to help one million girls attend school in Africa. We sat there with tears in our eyes simply in awe of how this guy had simply had an idea, with no previous experience at setting up a charity.. and he and his friend.. just.. did.. it.
The following year we were lucky enough to attend Yeah Field Trip, a huge photography conference over in California where Caroline and Jayden from Woodnote Photography held a session solely about working with non-profits and giving back. The session became a wonderful discussion within the group about wanting to bring people together to do more. A short time after Field Trip, Caroline, Jayden, Wyn Wiley and Krista Welch founded C'mon Team.. a group of creatives who give back by creating digital content for non-profits all around the world.
We were so inspired and that want to do something got stronger.
Then at the start of 2016 we watched as the refugee crisis began to unfold. We watched Calais and Greece..
I watched haunting videos on facebook about children dying in boats and families living in squalor in camps, all whilst nursing Frank, our 7 week old little boy. With a roof over my head, food in my fridge, warmth, security.. it was simply incomprehensible what these families were going through. 'Why isn't more being done?'. I'm then ashamed to say that in the next breath.. what do I do?.. I'm scrolling again and 'liking' some cat video.
That. is. not. right. I have the power to do SOMETHING. To act on what I'm seeing.
So I created a simple fundraising page to raise money for Help Refugees and at the same time set up a facebook page for IDo. In the about section I wrote 'A place where members of the online community can give their time, skills & profile to raise funds and/or create awareness for various projects and causes.'
Within a couple of days we had raised £670 for Help Refugees.
It was a reminder that things happen when you simply put it out there. Help is given, money is raised.. and community is cemented. This was then proven again five months later when I watched a documentary called "The gift of hearing' about the Deaf lady Joanne Milne.. (she was the lady who's video went viral after she had her cochlear implants switched on). Joanne had organised a trip to India with the aim to fit 500 children with hearing aids and I sat watching it with my now, 6 month little boy.. and by the end of the programme I turned to Frank and together we made a pinky promise. We promised to do as much as we could to help other disadvantaged children to get the support they need and to give them access to hearing aids.
I am fluent in Sign Language and had been familiar with this type of project before as in 2014 I took a very short trip over to Zambia with the charity Sound Seekers to take photos of their work (providing primary ear care, hearing tests and fitting hearing aids for both Deaf children and adults). It was an incredible experience and something that I'm deeply passionate about.. so to see Joanne on a similar trip.. I wanted to do more. There were currently 10,000 people living in the Jungle over in Calais. There must be some Deaf children living in camp??? I had a contact, via a friend for a volunteer in the Jungle and through shout outs on facebook I raised enough money and organised a trip to take two Audiologists and two Sign Language Interpreters over to Calais to fit hearing aids for four Deaf Refugees.
We spent just one day inside the Jungle but it had made a real difference to the Deaf refugees that we met. Our community had come together and by giving funds and by simply sharing and responding to shout outs.. we had done something. And we weren't part of an organisation.. we didn't have to wait for anyone else. We just.. did.. it.
And all of a sudden everything started to click in to place..
So, one night we took a roll of brown paper and drew a large spider diagram of how the IDo Community could look... from that we then created a website and set up a mailing list. We still didn't know exactly what IDo was and where it was going but we had a bunch of ideas and trusted the direction.. and the most important thing? Our community trusted us.
We knew we wanted to be able to raise money and support lots of different charities.. not just focusing on one. We knew we wanted to utilise skills within the community by giving people opportunities to easily get involved in lots of different ways and we knew we wanted the community to play a part in the decision making. At this point it might have been easier to not launch anything.. keep it all hidden until we had everything in place.. but we realised that this was just wasting good DOing time. We had to just get it out there and get started.
By the beginning of 2017 we were feeling more confident about talking about IDo and what we were about. We spoke at a couple of photography gatherings (Togfest and Nine Dots), we pitched for some funding at Birmingham Soup hosted by Impact Hub in Birmingham and then in April we took ourselves off to the lovely Snap Photography Festival.. and to be truthful, I was petrified. Because this time we were going to talk about membership.
So from very early on we knew that for IDo to work we didn't want to be spending precious time constantly trying to raise funds when that energy could be put to much better use, so the idea was always to offer people monthly subscriptions to be a part of the community, for as little as £3 a month (literally a ☕️) and with that we could fully concentrate on the wonderful 'giving back' part.
But geeeez.. we were scared. We were asking for people to put their money where our mouth was.. and we felt either very brave or very stupid.. but you know what? We talked about membership and a whole room full of people stuck their hand up to say YES! They believed in IDo.. they believed in us.. and I crumbled. This had been two years of crafting and brainstorming and putting out bits here and there (mainly at midnight when Frank was in bed or typing with him asleep on our lap).. and now, after feeling so timid and afraid about asking.. we were going to shout it from the rooftops! TO BECOME AN IDO MEMBER WE ARE OFFERING MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS AND WITH THAT MONEY WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO HELP SO MANY DIFFERENT CHARITIES AND ORGANISATIONS!
We got home and announced our membership online and within three months we had enough funds to launch our first '£500 Charities'. This is where our members nominate a charity of their choice and then we vote for who gets the money. We voted and the wonderful Kidscape received our first £500 donation. Over the summer we connected different creatives to a number of Non-profits who then worked together to create new websites and branding and we also collaborated with the lovely illustrator Emilie Maguin and blogger Hannah Bullivant (Seeds and Stiches) who kindly donated 20% of their profit from the sale of their Embracing the Seasons calendar.
Then in August 2017 an opportunity came up for me to travel with Deaf Kidz International over to Greece to visit four of their Refugee camps. Deaf Kidz were working with Save the Children conducting research about Deaf Refugees both in transit and seeking asylum.. and having seen my trip to Calais, Steve Crump, the Director had got in touch. We met, chatted and I was really interested in supporting their work in whatever capacity and for this trip I was invited to document the work.
We spent four days on the island of Lesvos and I got to visit three very different refugee camps.. Kara Tepe, Moira and Pikpa. The refugees who stay at Pikpa are some of the most vulnerable: disabled, sick, pregnant and the families of victims of shipwrecks. The camp offers essential things such as food, clothes and medical assistance... but they also organise activities for children, yoga classes, cinema nights and a Friday night disco. We were given a tour of the camp speaking to volunteers and also children who currently live there.. and once I got home I kept thinking about this wonderful community..
We knew that we wanted to do some sort of campaign in the run up to Christmas so I emailed Erika (a volunteer at Pikpa) and we organised a brainstorming skype. Our initial idea was to do some sort of Christmas Shoe Box campaign but chatting to Erika the camp's needs didn't really fit that idea.. so we decided that we would set up an Amazon Gift list to give Pikpa 'Christmas'. Erika gave us a list of things that they needed and we set about adding them to the wish list.. we then sent the list out in to the community via facebook and instagram...
Within seven days our community had bought 450 items worth a total of £3200.. and every day dozens and dozens of parcels arrived at our house. The following week we shipped six very large boxes full of toys, arts and crafts, Christmas decorations, toiletries and instax cameras.. over to Pikpa Camp in time for Christmas. One thing we didn't plan on was the shipping cost being so expensive. It cost just over £600 to ship everything and having the funds available because of our monthly subscription memberships was a vital part in making the whole thing possible.
It blew us completely away. The generosity and support was overwhelming.. and it made us even more determined to DO more..
And that brings us up to 2018.
Since IDo has started the community has raised just over £7500 for a number of different projects and causes.
We are about to donate our second £500 to Dementia UK as part of our '£500 Charities' and we're currently working on our IDo for Self Directory - a space to connect you to organisations that support self care.
Over the past two years we've had an opportunity to grow organically.. to see what worked and what our community was passionate about. And we feel lucky that IDo has had a chance to evolve at it's own pace.. and we're evolving still! Some ideas have worked and some haven't but everything that has happened has helped us to really define our ethos and our aims.
From the start our aim was to bring the goodness of our community together.. to focus on standing together to give back as we knew that it was too good an opportunity to miss. We HAD to connect the dots.. to make it available.. and we are so excited to move forward together as a community to keep DOing more.