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It's all fer charity mate *smile*
Member Name: wildmink
Date: 17/12/03, updated on 17/12/03 (140 review reads)
Advantages: New friends, Charity work is great mate, Looks good on the CV
Disadvantages: Be prepared for all weathers, Make sure charity is bona fide, Blisters and lack of sleep through having so much fun
It was my first time away from home and I was young, naive and just started uni. I had had all the lectures about don't do drugs, drink in moderation (1 glass once a week should do it) amongst oher things but no-one warned me about the Raggies.
Luckily for me the Raggies are members of Rag. It originally started as a group of students wishing to raise money on behalf of charities that they wanted to support but not being in the best financial position themselves tried to raise money through sponsorship of silly / scary stunts and donations. Hence the name of RAG origins (Raise and Give) however there are quite a few stories as to how the name came about none of which involving a time of month.
So what is a Rag? A Rag is a group of students who, as stated above, wish to benefit charities through most often fun enjoyable events or yes they do stand on corners dressed up in silly costumes holding sealed buckets or collecting tins. Quite a few universities will have a rag and colleges are beginning to start them up as well. A perfect opportunity to meet new people who have a similar interest to yourself. The work done by these raggies is taken so seriously by charities that some will have rag co-ordinators just to make sure that they use them as much as possible.
Believe it or not it can be quite dull standing at the side of the pavement and you don't necessarily have all the clothes or equipment you need. I know of someone who was collecting by a fountain and due to the reflection of the light ended up with the oddest suntan marks. However to lighten things up some charities now hold competitions between Rags to see which can collect the most in one day within one region. The most notable being Christie's Day which is a cancer hospital in Manchester, UK with rags coming from all over the country to compete and will collect as far afield from Manchester as Preston, Bolton and wherever else the charity may have permits for.
br>But it's not all collecting tins and shrapnel. There's the more energetic and scary methods of raising money such as parachute jumps, abseiling, firewalking etc one of which I did but my smouldering feet won't tell you which one. All these events require insurance and the proper permissions and licences to be held before such events.
My personal favourite is one that I've taken part in every year since 1997 despite having graduated sometime ago and that is a sponsored walk but it's not an ordinary sponsored walk as it is in and around Manchester for 55 miles and starts overnight. Luckily for the participants there are checkpoints along the route but I've never claimed to be a participant. Not me, no I'm usually the frozen nutter who stands at a checkpoint for 5 hours keeping it open for the walkers or a driver ensuring that there are sufficient supplies at all the locations. Great fun and when you eventually get to bed after being awake for the 24hrs it either takes you to walk it or help out you will never know such a peaceful sleep ever again.
I suppose that this includes the fact that there is admin work that needs doing and yes it is boring but to see the money come in makes it all worthwhile.
In the end it is a win win situation.
1. You achieve your goal of raising money for charities
2. You've met new people and made new friends
3. You've worked in a team and as an individual
4. You've learnt new skills and ideas
So whats so great about that list...... it all looks great on a cv. That never was my intention to have something to put on my cv but any charity work does and if you can do it with similar minded people who are sociable, friendly and supportive, all the better.
As with so many good things there are people out there who are willing to exploit peoples charity so I have the following warnings.
Rags are not paid to collect or run
events and will hand over all donations to the charity they are collecting on behalf of and at a later date may ask for transport costs that they've had to pay out of pocket which the charity will only reimburse on the basis of suitable proof.
People may claim to be selling a RagMag (joke book or sometimes known as a gag mag) but check which rag the mag is affiliated to. It has been heard of people selling fake ragmags with the vendor telling you that it's for charity but mysteriously not saying anywhere on the mag of any proceeds going to charity. I'll let you decide where the money may go.
If in doubt, check that the charity has a Registered Charity Number as all authentic charities will have one and if they are collecting you can ask that they show you their permit to collect which will be issued by the local council. If they don't have one they shouldn't be collecting.
Yes the negatives are hard hitting and it's a shame that people are willing to mislead the public. So how can I turn the tone around and end on a happy note.
My personal experience of Rag and fundraising has been fun, a learning experience and hasn't stopped yet. I'm helping out with the Bogle Stroll yet again this year and will probably help at the Breast Cancer fun run next year as well. What with having a limited time to be able to help fundraise I choose which charities I help with but there are so many deserving ones out there that I hope I might have encouraged other people to help.
Even if it's just a glance, have a look at www.manchesterrag.org and maybe you'll get some idea of the fun I had while helping others through fundraising.
The end of the epic
PS I will expect to get a few grumbles about the factual content, this all from memory and I'm bound to have got something wrong.
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