Getting out of my comfort zone – Børns Vilkår Landsindsamling

Last weekend I did something which really pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Just before Christmas I received a call from a lady from Børns Vilkår, a charity which provides a phone line for children who need support and advice, rather like Childline in the UK. She was charming and told me that they really needed volunteers to take a collection route around where I live in March on their national collection day (Landsindsamling 2019). Over a number of weekends through the year various charities reserve a Sunday for volunteers to go door to door collecting money. Of course the exercise to raise money for the charity concerned but it is also a great PR exercise in letting people know about the charity incase they need to access it or want to support it more themselves.

I had been thinking that I wanted to do more volunteer work and also that it is important for my son to do something which helps others so I agreed to take a route. Some time later our collecting bag arrived with all the details we needed. Feeling a glow of doing something good for others I marked the date on the calendar.

By the time the weekend was close I started to feel a little anxious about it. I’d never done anything like this before and here I was going to strangers’ doors and having to speak in Danish. My son on the other hand was excited about it. We decided to start our route on our own street where we know some people. It warmed me up and people seemed to a) understand me and b) were really kind and generous. The route took us three and a half hours and in that time we only had about five people say nej,tak, a lot of people were out so we popped a leaflet in their letter boxes and we had one lunatic who shouted weird things at us (I found it a little frightening but my son thought it was a funny story to tell).

There were a number of things I took away from the day. Firstly how kind and patient people were with my accent. I thought one chap was saying no thanks but after he chased us down to the next house is his lounge clothes and slippers to give 100dkk I realised I’d misunderstood, luckily he took it well and made the effort to still donate.

Secondly how folks who have very little are still generous. Part of the route was in some older people’s social housing and they were all keen to give a little even though it was clear they themselves were not so well off. Many times I heard them say ‘it’s for the children’ and judging by the pride in which I could see grandchildren’s photos displayed in their homes, it was important to them. One old man gave me a very full freezer bag of change and when I asked if he was sure he beamed and said of course.

People seemed to really appreciate the time we were taking to walk around and do the collection and it helped that it was a charity most people had heard of as it has been around since 1977. I think I only had to explain what it was all about to one person.

It is the norm here to take your child with you when doing these kind of collections and I felt that it was important that my nine year old did the whole route with me and gave up his Sunday to do it (he did get out of writing his homework so that was a bonus for him). I was impressed that he stuck it out and there was only one moment of whingeing when he realised we had another hour to go.

We raised a total of around 1500dkk which I was really delighted about. Some of that came from MobilePay, which is a result of the fact most people don’t have a lot of physical cash these days and we found people were a lot more generous when donating that way. In fact Børns Vilkår took a total of 2m Danish Kroner this year by that method alone which was double the amount from last year.

The support we received from the charity was amazing. Plenty of helpful reminders via email and SMS and easy access to information such as which bank I could deposit the money in.  They quickly sent a link so I could give feedback on our experience and also a dedicated passcode so we could see how much had been donated via our MobilePay QR code.

So as it turned out all the anxiety I had about the day was unfounded and as they say here I shall be setting a cross on my calendar for next year’s collection day.

If you would like to read more about the work Børns Vilkår {link} does you can visit their website here. If you missed out donating on Sunday and wish to do so you can do this through their website too {here}  or if you’d like to get involved next year (Sunday 22 March 2020) in your local area.

 

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