According to the UK Charity Commission, in 2012 there are over 160,000 registered charities in Great Britain. More than 25,000 of them are health-related, raising funds and awareness for everything from eating disorders, to heart disease and cancer.
There are 28,000 arts and culture groups, set up and run by people passionate about turning existing into living. Animal charities account for almost 4,000 registrations and the numbers go on, but, you get the idea, right? There are a lot of them, and a large proportion exist on an income equivalent to a single person's part-time wage.
I don't know how many creative freelancers there are in the UK, but 160,000 is probably a pretty safe start to say the least. We're talking: photographers, graphic designers, illustrators and writers to name but four influential professions, and so the number? You tell me.
ACT, are an independent, Cambridge-based organisation tasked with raising funds and awareness for Addenbrooke's and the Rosie maternity hospital. This diverse charity works with almost every facet of the community, all the way up to some of the city's biggest branded stores.
They need to, because the challenge that they face in supporting some of the country's leading medical facilities as they expand over the coming years, is enormous. The Rosie, for example, Cambridge's much-loved maternity hospital is expanding, with a brand new, three-story facility being built, amongst other projects, to support and extend care for the region's growing number of new families.
So, what can you do to help out?
I've mentioned artists and writers already, and while there is plenty that those types can do to translate their various skills into charitable gain, they represent just a section of potential fundraisers. Here are just a few ideas of how you can turn your profession (or passion) into something more beneficial than you might ever have imagined.
Got your own restaurant or café? Good for you! How about a special, charity night event, with a menu full of treats designed to make your patrons feel more generous? (This is where you get all Derren Brown and start influencing behaviour with chocolate, oysters and so on.)
You can do this at home, too. Charge your friends a reasonable amount, explaining of course, that it's for charity, and give them a dinner party like no other.
If there's one thing this country does not have a shortage of, it's hairdressers. They are some of the most social people I have ever met and even now, in 2012, some salons are still integral to the local community. They still need new business, though, because competition is fierce. So, make an offer; All new customers get 20% off their first visit, with the difference being donated directly to charity.
It's a lovely thought, actually, that the majority of people are massively more generous once they're a little drunk. If you own a bar, your potential for do-gooding with ideas like, two for one with some proceeds going to charity, is huge.
Chocolatiers, delis, wine shops, the sort of places that sell just a few kinds of things, but in many different varieties, and at high quality. You'd have to figure out the incentive with your chosen charity, but is a 15-20% donation of proceeds from just a single line of one of your products, not worth the eternally blissful karmic rewards that you will surely receive from this new venture? You know it is.
You see? You don't have climb Everest or eat a giant cactus for your cause (although either of those things would be awesome). It doesn't matter what your day job is, if you're driven enough to help and to make a change, then there's always, always something that you can do. Just think about it.