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Mumsnet Christmas Appeal - suggestions please

(402 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Oct-13 15:03:50

Following on from a couple of threads discussing the Christmas appeal over the weekend, I thought we should post our thoughts on things.

First we're really sorry if not being nominated for this year's appeal has made anyone feel bad or left out. Obviously it's the opposite of why we do it but the truth is there will always be deserving people who, for whatever reason - frequent namechanges or pure and simple oversight - will be overlooked.

Over the years the Xmas appeal really has brought a lot of joy both to the givers and receivers of gifts - this is a typical post/mail from a giver:

"It is a wonderful thing this Santa business. It totally dispels the idea that Mumsnet is no more than words on a screen and shatters the notion of the pit of vipers. Since being matched with you, not a day has passed when I haven't thought of you and your family. Your posts shine with warmth, humour and love for your family. You are a remarkable woman. For me, it has been more than sending a little something: you have made me really think about what Christmas should be.
So I thank you too, and will raise a glass to you and yours on Christmas Day. Much love to you all"

As Christmas becomes every more about consumption we think the appeal for many is a reminder of what it is really all about. It certainly is for us at MNHQ and consequently we are very happy to put a lot of MNHQ resource into the operation; SandyMumsnet pretty much devotes a month of time to it.

Clearly it doesn't operate optimally for everyone, but net net, it really is a good thing I believe. That said we'd value suggestions about how you think we could do it better. We took over the operation of the appeal only because it was becoming too big a job for any individual - but it was conceived by Mumsnetters for Mumsnetters and exists pretty much in the same form as that original idea.

Do let us know your thoughts and suggestions here.

PedlarsSpanner Mon 21-Oct-13 15:09:26

Secret Santa is prob more in keeping with the original ideal

Embargo in future on who has received a nom*

Thank you thread only

*nom not food in this instance <snurk at silly double entendre>

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 21-Oct-13 15:11:55

IMO I don't think it should be changed in a major way, although I do think it would be ok for people to nominate themselves.
There have been years on here that I have had loads of support, kindness and encouragement. MN has seen me through the hardest times in my life. That for me was the reward.

That said I can see why someone who has been at the bottom of a pit would feel an extra boost from a little suprise from the Christmas appeal.

How you would regulate people nominating themselves (guessing you could search posting history) I am not sure but otherwise I think it should stay in the same vane as it is.

Mckayz Mon 21-Oct-13 15:15:40

I don't think it needs changing really. I don't see what is wrong with it now.

Mumsnet has thousands of people so not everyone can be nominated. I was nominated last year and it was lovely. I wasn't this year and I'm not fussed.

LeGavrOrf Mon 21-Oct-13 15:18:47

I think it should stay as it is. I don't think there is anything wrong with it in its current guise.

There was a vocal minority of churlish people - I don't think a longstanding and frankly lovely part of mumsnet should be fundamentally changed to pander to people who feel left out. The size of mumsnet means that not everyone can be nominated and people need to realise that. And in fact most people do understand that.

MissStrawberry Mon 21-Oct-13 15:24:10

I think the only thing that could change is that is that if the recipient doesn't feel able to post on the thank you thread to let the sender at least know the parcel arrived safely they have to tell MNHQ. It isn't fair for the donor to not know if the gift has arrived safe or go missing so they can make a claim to the PO.

I think it is a lovely thing that MN does. One year I unexpectedly received a gift in the post for my DD and the only negative was I felt embarrassed that I hadn't know about the appeal and wasn't in a position to donate even if I had have known about it.

I feel mortified I posted that I felt disappointed I hadn't been nominated as it is my problem I have feelings of being worthless and it isn't up to MN to make me feel better. Hopes it can be forgotten now.

TantrumsAndBalloons Mon 21-Oct-13 15:24:32

I don't think it should be changed at all.
It's a lovely idea.
I nominated and donated last year. It did not bother me that I was not notimated myself

This year I have nominated and I am donating.
I was also nominated myself which made me cry.
I probably do not deserve to be nominated. But the fact that someone actually thought of me was amazing.

There isn't a right or wrong person to nominate, it comes from the heart of the person doing the nominating IYSWIM
You can't control that, or tell them that their nominee is not worthy enough

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 21-Oct-13 15:39:38

I don't think it should be changed at all. It's a lovely idea, and actually (so flame me) found people complaining about not being nominated extremely distasteful and entitled, however it was dressed up. The happiness it brings must surely outweigh disgruntled people having a pity fest.

LeGavrOrf Mon 21-Oct-13 15:42:09

I totally agree with you wembley (what is happening at wembley tomorrow btw? grin)

FairyJen Mon 21-Oct-13 15:47:32

I think some people have missed the point of this appeal. I nominated someone, not because of anything written on the boards but because of pm's sent throughout the year offering me support, wisdom, financial help and other things. These things were never discussed on a thread - they were between me and this poster.

To an outsider they may not seem deserving etc but they do t know the kindness this poster offered and the difference it made to me being on the end of this support.

I don't know if they have had a hard year or are struggling but I do know they deserve some joy and that's why I nominated them.

I was also nominated myself this year. It made me cry and smile at the same time and I really need to smile right now.

So thank you MNHQ and please don't change anything.

FairyJen Mon 21-Oct-13 15:48:44

Also what wembley said!

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 21-Oct-13 15:50:26

I guess you could change the name so the word 'appeal', which apparently is offensive to some people [eye roll emoticon], is no longer used.

Also, perhaps post it even more places and more prominently. I know I asked about that and was told it would be stickied in Active, but I never saw that. Which might be because I have Christmas topic hidden? As I'm sure many do as we don't want to think about it until at least November.

Perhaps do the initial post in Site Stuff rather than Christmas so everyone sees it?

I think it's fine the way it is, BTW. I've been nominated and I've donated. I like it both ways. arf thlwink

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 21-Oct-13 15:53:41

LeGav I namechanged the day before dp's team was playing and tbh we all lived the 'excitement' (for want of a better word). grin

Chubfuddler Mon 21-Oct-13 15:55:08

The only change needed is that some people get over themselves. It's supposed to be a nice thing.

LeGavrOrf Mon 21-Oct-13 15:59:00

grin wembley

That thread IMO was started to be goady, look at the thread title 'some of you are going to be very unhappy with this' or whatever it was.

It is a minority view. Most people think it is a very positive thing, and I for one appreciate the fact that so many hours are dedicated to administering it at MNHQ. You could quit easily say it's not something that you want to spend time and money managing in future - especially when it is being whinged about. It's to your great credit that you carry on doing it.

MissStrawberry Mon 21-Oct-13 15:59:51

<sigh> Not because I wanted a gift but because I took it to mean I was a rubbish supporter.

LegaaaahhhhAutopsy Mon 21-Oct-13 16:01:57

No change needed IMO.

ParsingFright Mon 21-Oct-13 16:07:34

Don't think it should be changed in big ways.

Perhaps call it a Secret Santa, not Christmas Appeal.

And at the same time make clear it's Not The Done Thing for a little group to agree to nominate each other (don't know if that's ever happened but there was a suggestion it had). I've made a little group of friends here, whom I now know in RL, but I send my own presents directly to them, I don't involve donations from other people.

The MN Secret Santa should be more for people you don't have RL contact with, but who you would like to treat, because of need or as a cheer-up or because you feel they make a valuable contribution to the boards.

Also, I don't know what you ask nominees to get the matching right - but would it be possible, in your usual tactful way, to ask people to make clear if they're absolutely not in need, and a small token gift would be meaningful? To reduce the chances of someone stretching themselves financially to give say supermarket vouchers to someone to whom it didn't mean much.

You may already be doing this, of course.

Worriedthistimearound Mon 21-Oct-13 16:09:43

I think the word 'appeal' does make people think its for those in need. I have donated in the past and I have always assumed I was donating to someone struggling financially to provide Christmas for their family.

I'm surprised that people nominate for good advice/support as to me, that is MN rather than something out of the ordinary.

I would like to donate again but became a little cynical after pm'ing a poster and sending her vouchers after a post saying she didn't have enough to feed her kids for the month (this was a few years ago) I then came across another post by her just 6wks or so later talking about how she'd recently booked a very expensive and indulgent holiday. Sure, there's a chance she suddenly came into money but I also know that quite a few posters also sent her envelopes of money. It just made me cynical.

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 21-Oct-13 16:11:27

You could very well be right, LeGav. I was a bit astounded at an adult thinking they were reasonable in that thought. Maybe MNHQ shouldn't pander to that by asking if it should be changed? It's a bit like encouraging a spoiled child.

Fenton Mon 21-Oct-13 16:15:33

If you had to change it (I don't see why you have to, though) then I think 'The Small but Meaningful Christmas Cheer Giving Event'

or summat.

Allalonenow Mon 21-Oct-13 16:16:23

I don't think it needs to be changed at all, it has worked well in the past. I think of it as a way of bringing MN members together, all sharing a pool of generosity and kindness.
I love reading the thank you threads, the delight and pleasure expressed is so touching and heartwarming, and it is a joy to be able to share a little bit of that warm glow.
MNHQ do a stirling job of administering the scheme, and deserve Brownie Gold Stars and enough gin to float a battle ship for all the work they contribute.

skyeskyeskye Mon 21-Oct-13 16:22:33

I don't think it needs changing. It is supposed to be a nice thing, to thank people or help people.

It is obvious that not every single MNer is going to get nominated. I was nominated last year, haven't been this year. Doesn't bother me a bit. I have nominated somebody who I think deserves something and have donated too.

Don't let a small minority of people spoil such a wonderful thing.

SpottyDottie Mon 21-Oct-13 16:22:40

I think there should be two. A genuine Christmas appeal to help those Mnetters in need and then a lighthearted thank you thread where you can can thank Mnetters who have made you laugh, cry, got you through anything during the preceding year. That way its separate and less likely to be confusing.

Ragwort Mon 21-Oct-13 16:23:22

I have avoided the threads this year but I struggle with it; I think it should definately be called a 'Secret Santa' rather than 'appeal' & I also echo Worried's views.

Last year I nominated someone and I provided a gift (for someone else), I received no acknowledgement or thanks and yes, I know you don't do it to be thanked but it would at least have been nice to know that it was received.

I think it is very odd for people to nominate themselves or their children hmm.

I haven't joined in this year, nor have I been nominated grin - but I really would feel uncomfortable about accepting a gift.

I would prefer a general appeal for a specific cause - ie: Women's Aid or something similar - we could give financial donations and really make a difference.

Personally I prefer to give to my local womens' refuge and provide special Christmas Hampers for people using our local food bank.

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