Never underestimate the power of New Media when planning your next fundraising drive, as this story demonstrates... "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God"
On Thursday evening at about 8pm Youthwork magazine Managing Editor Martin Saunders posted on his blog about his six-year-old son Joel's desire to fight poverty. After watching a short video from Tearfund (Premier Christian Media's Charity of the Year) and hearing various things from school and church he has worked out that the world is unjust, and he's not happy about it. Totally of his own accord, he's been collecting money in a modified empty 'Frubes' box for the past few weeks and had raised £7.22 - not a bad effort, but Joel was frustrated that he couldn't raise more.
So, again totally his own idea, he decided to do a 2-mile run later on this month, with an aim to raise sponsorship of £60 to massively boost what he had already earned. Martin, as Joel's dad, set up a Virgin Money Giving page for him and wrote the blog post alongside it, both with a short speech from Joel about why he's doing what he's doing. These are Joel’s words, unedited - he may not be perfectly informed, but his heart is genuine:
“I’m getting really sad about the people who are poor in the world. I don’t understand who did this to them. I watched a video about people who are poor, and I want to help them. There has to be somewhere for them to live like a proper house, and I want someone to give them lots to eat. I want the children to have proper toys, like proper balls, toy trains… I’ve got so many toys at home, and they’ve got none. It isn’t fair that they drink dirty water from wells, and we get clean water from our taps. Some of them can’t go to school, and they don’t have any money. I want to help them so that they can have lots of food to eat.”
And that's all it took.
The following morning, after a few retweets and tweets, Joel's donation page had reached the dizzy heights of £1,800 just 16 hours later. For a six-year-old boy and a few tweets from his Dad, that's incredible. Joel's first words when hearing the news this morning were 'But I'm only six!' and 'We'd better get training mummy!' It's inspiring to see someone so young achieve something that many of us could only dream of doing, and it's inspiring to see someone so young with a real heart for the poor.
I wouldn't have been surprised if #teamjoel was a trending topic on Twitter as some point. Joel, from the whole of the New Media team here at Premier, a heartfelt congratulations.
"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" Micah 6:8