We start 2022 with a guest blog from internal comms professional, Monique Noel Brown. In it she shares how she used her communication skills to connect with a community of kind individuals at a time of distress when her cat needed expensive treatment.
Oftentimes you’ll hear your friends, family – strangers passing in the street say, ‘a little kindness goes a long way’ or ‘if everyone was kind to one another the world would be a better place’.
It can seem that everyday kindness is often looked over or not given the spotlight it deserves. But a recent experience I had showed me that there are plenty of people out there who want to be kind to others. I just needed to use my communication skills to tell my story and bring people together.
So, what if… we all give a little to help each other?
Recently, my cat Kindle was hit by a speeding driver near our area and required surgery in order to survive. We were faced with two harrowing decisions: 1. A £10,000 surgery or 2. To put him to sleep. As you can imagine for me and my family this was not only a heart-breaking situation, but it was an impossible situation as £10,000 isn’t something we have.
What do you do when you don’t have the money to save a precious family member?
I decided to reach out to every animal charity organisation I knew, to look for a low-cost fee surgery or any support we could get. By a miracle Celia Hammond offered to do the surgery for £1,500. Although a lower cost, we were still stacked with £2,000 worth of MediVet bills for our cat and even the low-cost surgery, we couldn’t afford. So, I reached out to some friends of mine, who suggested I set up a GoFundMe page to raise the funds for the surgery.
I didn’t think anything of it really, maybe we’d raise £100 – £200 from friends and family donations. In fact we raised over £2,300 for Kindle’s surgery and got him the help he needed, with the support from 124 amazing donors.
We went from the impossible to the possible in a matter of days. It really got me thinking how acts of kindness empowered by day-to-day communication can really support and change the lives of a family like mine.
Recognising kindness through Communication
I think it’s hard sometimes, to recognise acts of kindness especially when everyone’s so busy in their day to day lives. Whether it’s someone offering you a coffee mid meeting, inviting you out for lunch or just offering you help in a time of need. These everyday acts of kindness are often overlooked.
As for someone who is quite new to the communications scene and just graduated, I never really understood the power communications has, nor how my career would actually benefit my everyday life. Communication to me is like a bridge of shared interest, that is moulded by an individual’s ability to want to listen to you, engage with you or help you.
This year, I saw true kindness in its rawest form, when a community of people came together to help my family. Through the GoFundMe I saw colleagues, friends, family and strangers donate from £5-£500 for a cat they barely knew, because they knew how important it was for me and my family.
When I shared and promoted the GoFundMe on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and several other social media platforms, it got hundreds of people sharing, donating and offering help.
Yes. This small act of posting a picture and few words asking for help saved my cat. , and yYet not once did I think ‘this is what a communicator does’ or ‘my communication skills helped me reach various audiences’. I just thought, wow. There are people out there who really care.
Social media can definitely be a scary thing, but if it’s taught me anything then it’s that the key to any goal in life is teamwork. Without them Kindle wouldn’t be here today.
How did I do it?
Even though I would like to say luck helped me along the way, the GoFundMe didn’t raise its own funds, but people did. I cannot emphasise enough that all of this was possible because I communicated with people. There are no fancy social media skills I used nor any hidden tricks. A simple written article on what had happened to my cat and what help I needed, touched the hearts of many people.
However, some tips I can offer on utilising your communication skills to help a cause or maybe like me, help save a beloved family member are:
- Reach out! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, I wouldn’t have known about Celia Hammond if they weren’t referred to me by a friend.
- Utilise your social media to the max. Often we overlook that social media can be used for more than sharing pictures of your holiday or having a chat with friends. You can create campaigns, raise funds and awareness for any cause by using the right hashtags and getting people to share.
- Don’t give up! When faced with the impossible, always try to find an alternative. I promise you it’s there, just do some digging and rely on your loved ones for help.
- Take a breath. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and think this is the end. But take some time to breathe, to understand what you’re going through and make decisions with a clear head.
As a final sign off I want to say a huge thank you to Celia Hammond, who not only saved my cat’s life, but saved my family from a tragic loss. A second thank you to all of the GoFundMe donors, the people who re-shared my posts and offered extra support, your kindness will never be forgotten.
And to those reading this blog, know that a little kindness goes a long way and if everyone gives a little to each other, it will eventually build into something great.
My name is Monique Noel Brown, an internal communications professional. My LinkedIn profile features more of what I do on a professional level. On a personal level in my spare time, I like to write poetry and fantasy-based novels.