Sunflower illustration charity greeting card, held up in front of a field of sunflowers at sunset

Fundraising for Ukraine with an award-winning sunflower charity greeting card

In February 2023, Jess A Little Creative, my greeting card business, was named as one of Work for Good’s 2022 Charity Champions, for the fundraising work I did for The British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out. It was a distressing and terrifying time for so many, and I knew I had to do something to help. So I got drawing and created a sunflower illustration which I turned into a charity greeting card to help raise funds. I was overwhelmed by the support, with so many people getting behind my campaign to help raise money and show support for the people of Ukraine. This is the story of my sunflower charity greeting card, and how the power of social media, and the support of fundraising platform Work For Good, helped it raise over £100 for The British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.

How I came to design a sunflower charity greeting card 

A little under a year ago, in February 2022, the Russia-Ukraine war broke out. The scenes on the news were distressing, heart-breaking, and unlike anything I’d seen happen in Europe during my lifetime. I felt helpless, watching the events unfold with tears in my eyes, feeling so grateful, and yet so guilty, that my life was so far removed from what the Ukrainian people were experiencing. I wanted to do something to help. I learnt that the national flower of Ukraine is a sunflower, and it gave me an idea. I run a small greeting card business called Jess A Little Creative, based in Cheltenham, UK, and I’d had an idea for a sunflower greeting card in my head for weeks, but it hadn’t yet materialised into an actual design. I knew this was the perfect time to create it, and donate the profits of any sunflower card sales to the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. In the space of a day I had completed the sunflower illustration in my unique style, ready to become a charity greeting card that could be sold. I had no idea if people would get behind the idea, but it was all I could think to do that might help spread awareness, raise some money, and make a difference to the people of Ukraine. So I shared the sunflower illustration on social media that night to gauge if people would be interested in buying some charity cards, and raising some money. 

Green and yellow typographic sunflower illustration by Jess A Little Creative

Original social media post shared on Instagram

Well, I was completely overwhelmed by the response to my social media post. So many people were feeling like me, helpless at the awful situation in Ukraine, and unsure about how to make a difference. There was a lot of love for the sunflower card design, with lots of people saying they wanted to buy some to help raise some money. I saw there was a decent amount of support for the idea, so I went ahead and got the sunflower card printed. I had two versions printed, one with the original green background, and one with a blue background, to match the colours of the Ukrainian flag. While I was busy preparing the artwork and getting everything ready to launch the charity cards, my social media post was being shared by lots of people, helping spread awareness of the crisis in Ukraine, and inspiring others to do something to help, which was amazing. 

Blue and yellow typographic sunflower charity greeting card held up against a field of sunflowers

Sunflower greeting card, £3.50

I planned to donate 100% of the profits from the sale of this sunflower card to the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. But, as more and more businesses were starting fundraising efforts for Ukraine, I started to see posts being shared on social media about the legalities of donating to charity as a business, and that it couldn’t be done through profit, but instead through a percentage of the total product price. I hadn’t even considered that there was a specific way it needed to be done. I knew I needed to do some research, and fast, to ensure my fundraising was done properly.

Raising over £100 for The British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal

Luckily, I came across some social media posts from Work For Good, a fundraising platform who make it easy and legal for small businesses to support charities through sales fundraising. They were explaining what small businesses needed to do, if they wanted to legally donate to a charity supporting the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. So I went over to their website, starting to feel anxious that this was going to be complicated. But to my relief, it was easy and straight-forward. I set up a CPA (Commercial Participation Agreement) on the Work For Good website, which is a legal agreement between a charity and a business, to ensure all fundraising is done properly. I chose The British Red Cross as the charity I wanted to support, as I saw the amazing work they were doing as part of their Ukraine Crisis Appeal. I learnt a lot about donating to charity as a business during this process. For example, you can’t say you are donating an amount of the profits (which is what I had initially stated), the pledge has to be a set amount of the total product price. Once I was sure I had everything set up correctly, I was ready to go!

But I was very nervous about the launch of the sunflower cards. I am only a tiny business, what if the launch flopped and no-one bought any cards? I desperately wanted to raise some money and help those suffering. What encouraged me was that there seemed to be a good buzz on my social media surrounding the launch of the sunflower cards, so I just had everything crossed that people would get behind it and that together we could raise a good amount of money. 

Sunflower greeting card orders paid out on a beige carpet

I shouldn’t have been worried. I had two orders within 1 minute of launching the cards, I couldn’t believe it! The orders continued to pour in that evening, and the blue sunflower cards sold out in 48 hours. I had been running Jess A Little Creative for less than 2 years at this point, and had never had a launch like this. If there was ever a time to have a successful launch, it was now, when it was for such a good cause! My house became a sea of sunflower cards, organising and packing orders, restocking the sold out blue sunflower cards, and watching the amount of money raised for the Ukraine Appeal grow. Over £60 was raised in the first 24 hours which was incredible. People were sharing photos of their sunflower cards on social media when they arrived, spreading the word about what I was doing, and encouraging more people to donate and fundraise, it felt like a real community effort. 

Pile of brown envelopes sat on a white dresser with sunflowers in the background

By the end of March 2022, the sunflower cards had raised £120 for The British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal. It had been an incredible experience; using my business for good, helping to fundraise, and being able to make a difference. There were so many businesses and individuals fundraising and coming together to support the people of Ukraine, it was a lovely reminder of the kindness in the world, at such a distressing time, and I was really proud of what my business had achieved.

Being named as one of Work For Good’s 2022 Charity Champions

In February 2023, I was named as one of Work For Good’s 2022 Charity Champions, for the fundraising work I had done. This meant I was one of their top sales fundraising businesses of 2022. I couldn’t believe it! It was an amazing feeling knowing I’d made a real difference, by raising money, and raising awareness. I have been named alongside a selection of other small businesses who have done great charity work during 2022, you can read all about everyone’s hard work in the Work For Good Charity Champions Wall Of Fame. It has shown me that anyone, and any business, can make a difference to those in need. You don’t need a huge turnover, you don’t need a huge social media following, you just need the motivation to make a difference, and help those in need. All these kind acts can make the world a better place. 

Illustration of two people with a huge gold trophy for Work for Good 2022 Charity Champions

This whole experience has inspired me to design and release more charity greeting cards. Work For Good work with a wide variety of charities, so I can support a different charity with each greeting card which is fantastic. When I started my greeting card business in 2020, I wanted to bring more kindness and love into the world, to help bring people closer together. And to be able to do that while raising money for charities doing such important, amazing work, is just brilliant.

If you want to find out more about donating to charity as a business, check out the Work For Good website. And head to The British Red Cross website, to see the amazing work they continue to do every day.

If you are interested to see the new charity cards as and when I design and release them, come and join The Little Creative Gang, my mailing list, where you will be the first to hear about new designs. Or follow me over on Instagram, where I share lots of news about what I’m up to with the business. 

And finally, to everyone who supported my sunflower card campaign for Ukraine, whether you shared the social media posts, bought some cards or were inspired to do some fundraising yourself, thank you so so so much.

Jess x

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