t’s safe to say that Lynne McNicoll is one of Edinburgh’s most inspirational women. Awarded Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year in 2009 after raising £650,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, Lynne set up her own charity, It’s Good 2 Give, in 2010. We caught up with Lynne to find out more about her charity, her ambitions for fundraising and why giving really is so good.
What inspired you to set up your own charity?
After four years of full time volunteer fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust (and, with the community of the East of Scotland, raising £650,000 for them) I decided that I wanted to support children and young people of all ages and their families. I had got to know many families and could see that the whole family could benefit from practical support.
I spoke at length with my husband about doing so as we realised what a huge commitment and undertaking this was going to be. He’s been my support and, maybe it’s even a bit mushy, but my rock and I couldn’t do this as well without him.
If any one person inspired me to set up my own charity it would be a ten year old girl called Iona. I’d become friends with her mum two years previous and we had trekked in the Himalayas for TCT. I was shocked to find Iona diagnosed with leukaemia in June 2009 and visiting Iona and her mum when they were in hospital highlighted the issues for parents.
What’s the ethos behind the charity?
Giving. I love encouraging people to give. In addition to money we encourage giving of time, ideas and skills. Put them together wisely and you will make the money! So I am great encourager – for example and most recently at our Afternoon Tea event we had a choir of seventeen year olds from George Watson’s College singing for us. Organised by teenager Polly Bartlett, they’d been rehearsing and working on their performance for months. In fact since the event they’ve gone on to sing at other events and will be singing at our Spring Afternoon Tea event in April. I work full time as a volunteer and love it.
What’s the charity achieved since it was set up?
Well, we have raised over £250,000 towards our £1m target which is for creating a Retreat for families to spend time together during treatment. In addition, we supply healthy snacks to the oncology ward at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children on a weekly basis, we organise practical and fun workshops for the young cancer patients and their families. We also respond quickly to requests from professional staff for practical support for patients – for example, we have helped two families with garden maintenance during the summer. If it helps, we can provide colourful crutches for young people.
What are It’s Good 2 Give’s goals for the New Year?
2013 is going to be amazing. I plan to ‘Double our Money’ – we have raised £250,000 and I want to see £500,000 in our bank by the end of 2013. Our calendar of events and competitions is superb and on top of all that I, with a team of 33 others, will be climbing Kilimanjaro in October.
Highlights of working with It’s Good 2 Give?
I love it all so much that every day is a highlight.
What’s the biggest fundraising event you’ve organised?
Our first Ball this year had 400 guests (and next year’s is sold out so it must have been good!), but our annual Fashion Show has over 500 guests so I guess it wins for being the biggest event! Next year, though, I plan to organise the biggest Blingo ever with 550 women!
Do you have a particular fundraiser that stands out in your mind as being the most enjoyable to take part in?
I love every event I organise for different reasons – Blingo because it was the first major event I ever organised and is now in its 8th year. The Ball is wonderful because of its location and atmosphere. Our Afternoon Tea events are fantastic to organise and I love working with the staff at the Caledonian Hotel. The Fashion Show is very special because every model has a reason to model and they love their day with us.