Welcome to my blog! This week I’m talking about patience, persistence and the importance of taking a break.
When I first had the idea for Unforgettable I was naïve about many things, but I was particularly naïve about the charity world. I assumed it would be fairly easy to get all the major dementia charities to support the business. I’d simply call them up, explain my business idea and my personal experience of dementia, then they’d jump on board and ask how they could help.
It didn’t quite work out like that though. Looking back, I feel embarrassed by my naivety. For if I’ve learnt anything in the past couple of years, it’s how hard dementia charities work and how many complex demands they have on their time.
Charities, I’ve discovered, work in a particularly challenging market, with competing priorities and limited resources. Recent news about Age UK’s commercial activities with an energy company – now being investigated by the energy watchdog Ofgem – illustrated how incredibly careful they have to be about who they work with.
I’ve also learnt that the vast majority of charities exist to lobby Government, address stigma and raise money for the people they’re trying to help, or the illness they want to cure. They also receive an overwhelming number of requests from outside organisations who want to work with them. So it’s hardly surprising that my call – one of the many – was not high on anyone’s priority list.
Once you understand this reality about the charity world it’s easy to become despondent – but it’s important not to give up. I’m delighted with the progress we’re now making with all the dementia charities we’ve contacted. Our patience, persistence and belief in what we’re doing is paying off, most notably with the Alzheimer’s Society, which is providing links to Unforgettable on its website so that we can help people looking for practical solutions to daily problems. I’m really looking forward to working closer with the society – and with the other charities we’re developing great relationships with, including:
This is an inspiring team of design experts who create life changing products for people with disabilities. Designability has just finishing an independent review of the GPS tracker market for us, which we’re really excited about.
Alzheimer’s Disease International
This umbrella organisation for dementia charities worldwide has a uniquely global perspective on the disease which we’re able to benefit from, thanks to its Executive Director Marc Wortmann who has been a great supporter. We’re now developing a range of 10 co-branded products with ADI.
Sporting Memories Network
We’re massively impressed with this fantastic organisation which stimulates and unites communities through sporting reminiscence, particularly football. I was delighted to hear they’ve recently received a government grant for £500,000.
Apologies if my last two blogs seemed a little downbeat. Afraid I was feeling pretty exhausted. It’s hard to switch off when you’re running a business like Unforgettable because it feels personal, and can become physically and emotionally overwhelming.
However, I’m pleased to say that I’ve just returned from a two week holiday feeling totally rejuvenated. Being able to switch off completely (I even turned off my phone and laptop) has done me the world of good. I’m back at work today with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and energy for the task at hand. Bring it on!