05 January 2012
Whatever your ambitions, you can learn a lot from those who have already achieved them. The biography section of the library is packed with life lessons that can inspire you and provide practical advice, so that you can learn from others’ experiences and avoid repeating their mistakes. The internet too, makes it easy to find tips and tricks for almost any situation.
There’s no real substitute for being able to speak to exactly the right person one-on-one, though. You can learn so much by asking a few well-composed questions to the right person. That’s why I think Pro Dono is an interesting concept. It enables you to meet with leading public figures, including famous writers, by making a donation to the charity of their choice. Here’s a short interview with Duncan Turnbull (pictured, right), co-founder and MD of Pro Dono, to explain how it works...
What is Pro Dono?Pro Dono is a not-for-profit organisation that arranges meetings between members of the public and eminent public figures. The public figure gives their time, and the client makes a donation to the charity of the figure’s choice.
How can young writers benefit from Pro Dono?This is a unique experience for donors; the opportunity to talk one-on-one with someone we admire. For a young writer, this could be meeting a journalist such as Evan Davis, Toby Young or John Micklethwait; or a great author like Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Jill Shaw Ruddock or Alain de Botton. We hope that donors can gain advice, insight and inspiration from meeting our Ambassadors – and at the same time, raise funds for a good cause.
What do the ambassadors get from participating in the programme?All of our public figures (Pro Dono Ambassadors) have agreed to be part of Pro Dono as they see it as an effective and efficient way to raise money for their favourite charities. Most donors meet their hero over dinner, but we also organise events relevant to the Ambassador’s area of expertise. For example, afternoon tea at Lord’s with a cricketing legend, a tour of a museum with its Director, or an afternoon of wildlife spotting with an ornithologist. Additionally, the Ambassadors get the opportunity to talk about the charitable work they believe in and are passionate about.
While I'm sure young writers would want to be as generous as possible, I doubt they can afford the real market value of a famous writer's time. How much does it typically cost to meet with someone under the Pro Dono programme?Our Ambassadors have target donation amounts, but we encourage our clients to suggest donations on a case-by-case basis. Often donors group together and come to the meeting with one or two friends. Pro Dono is a popular gift idea – this is giving with a conscience.
Where can people find out more?There is more information about Pro Dono and our ambassadors on the Pro Dono website www.prodono.co.uk and we have a youtube video (below) to show the donation process. Pro Dono already has many Ambassadors from the journalism world, as well as sports icons, artists, politicians, businesspeople, Michelin-starred chefs, and TV personalities. Finally, we also encourage people to suggest new Ambassadors they would like to meet, and we endeavour to arrange this.