Pin Your Thanks: The initiative that sees everyday heroes thanked and money given to charity

The not-for-profit’s colourful pin badges have helped to thank everyday heroes during the coronavirus pandemic as well as raise money for charity in the process.

There have been a countless number of people doing good deeds during the coronavirus pandemic.

From those delivering food to someone vulnerable, to teachers holding school classes over Zoom and even our NHS heroes, the UK, and indeed the world, is not short of people willing to help one other.

One volunteer in South East London saw the levels of kindness being displayed and wanted to find a way for other volunteers and those doing good deeds to be thanked.

After several situations where those who had been helped through a volunteering group offered money as a way of thanking volunteers, Clive Little wanted to come up with a different way to show appreciation.

“Nobody does it for the money and a lot of these people were pensioners, struggling on a state pension or just people generally. I started thinking of how we could get people who have been helped to be able to say thank you. We also wanted a personal, heartfelt, lasting and affordable way as well. We kind of thought ‘let’s see if we can do this for a fiver’ and raise some funds and give a good proportion of the money to charity,” Clive Little, co-founder of Pin Your Thanks told Oh My Goodness.

It was then, back at the end of March, that Pin Your Thanks was born.

Clive, who has a background in events and business consulting, said while pins are “synonymous with charities”, it was the “affordability, the size and the everlastingness of them” that sparked the idea of giving thanks through pin badges.

“[We wanted] for people to look back, even if they’re not wearing [them] in ten years’ time and have that memory of ‘I remember when Joan gave me that and it made me feel so appreciated,’” he said.

David James is one of many celebrities or ‘public figures’ who have offered their support to the not-for-profit by designing a badge. (Pin Your Thanks)

One sentiment, that is shared by Harriet Walter DBE, who like many others such as Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson have expressed their love and support for the amazing initiative, is that the badges offer a “visible thank you”.

In a letter she said: “Volunteers don’t want to blow their own trumpets. They’re not in it for that. But we want to blow their trumpets for them and pinning a badge on them is a great way to do that. It will be discreet but universally recognisable sign of our thanks and when we see them, we will be reminded of the hopeful example volunteers have given.”

Those who purchase a badge for people they want to show appreciation for can also leave a heartfelt message on a sustainable and recyclable card accompanied by the chosen pin. This allows the thank you to have a more “personal” feel to it.

Celebrities have not only been expressing their support for the initiative, but have been directly getting involved. Nine of the ten badges that Pin Your Thanks currently sell have been created solely by celebrities.

From Joe Lycett and ex-England goalkeeper David James, to Ringo Starr and Emeli Sandé, they have each helped to bring attention to the not-for-profit.

Clive says the ‘public figures’ have been “totally genuine” and “very supportive” as they too will have someone to thank during this time.

“We always wanted to have a number of different badges. People like different things and have different feelings and emotions. A young [girl at] school might want to give a different pin to a teacher than someone elderly who wants to give one to a friend across the road for example. That’s why we have the diversity of badges there as well,” Clive said.

The current range of badges that Pin Your Thanks offer. (Pin Your Thanks)

Pin Your Thanks is solely driven by volunteers or the “family” as Clive likes to call them, of which there are at least 40 to 50 at any one time and who have developed their own friendships from getting involved.

The co-founder says that there has not been “a single person that hasn’t just totally believed in it” and that it has been a positive thing for both the volunteers and those receiving the badges.

He insists that the model of Pin Your Thanks is for everyone and that badges are “not just about heroes in the superhero sense”.

“[For] somebody who has gone and got the guy next door’s shopping who’s been shielding for 20 weeks, it’s a thing where they’ve spent a lot of time and effort supporting that person and just a simple thank you through Pin Your Thanks means so much to them. It doesn’t have to be an NHS worker, it doesn’t have to be high profile, it could be anyone. Everybody can find someone to thank in a small way.”

Actress Keira Knightly is another who has supported the not-for-profit. (@pinyourthanks)

However, the initiative which donates profits to NHS Charities Together and Volunteering Matters, is not stopping there with its great work.

The not-for-profit is holding an auction of a jacket that Ian Berry, one of the badge designers; who has been championed by famous British painter David Hockney, and two-time Academy Award winner Jenny Beavan OBE, has designed. The denim jacket will feature pin badges for “every sector you can imagine” from postmen to nurses.

Along with the jacket, Pin Your Thanks will also be auctioning a David James painting which features the design he made for his badge, while someone contacted the not-for-profit on Instagram and said they would like to auction one of their paintings and donate all the money raised to the charities supported by Pin Your Thanks.

The volunteer-led initiative also recently hosted a ‘kids do design’ competition, which after being flooded with “hundreds” of entries will see the winning designer get their drawing made into a badge alongside the celebrity designs.  

Some of the designs sent in for the ‘Kids do Design’ competition. (@pinyourthanks)

“I think that will be a really lovely moment for them and I think people are endeared by children, their artwork, their thinking and their lack of being judgemental. We are really looking forward to the big reveal,” Clive added.

From an idea that started back in late March to an initiative that has seen a number of celebrities get behind it, Pin Your Thanks has been a wonderful alternate way to give thanks to someone for doing good.

Clive credits the “extraordinary” businesses and people who helped them showcase a giant pin badge in Trafalgar Square and those that ensured that what they were doing was legal.

“Everybody has been desperate to help,” he said.

Pin Your Thanks have been cropping up across London. (Pin Your Thanks)

While Clive hopes that Pin Your Thanks can continue long into the future, he says the idea that has seen some people “in tears” when receiving their pins, has been an “amazing” experience.

The Pin Your Thanks team never discuss how many pins they sell, simply because they only aim to “get as many people thanked as possible”.

“We’re holding this in trusts for the British public, we’re just enabling them to give thanks. It doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to our volunteers it belongs to the public, we truly believe that,” Clive added.

“At the end of the day, we’re just there trying to make sure it happens. It is a volunteer-led thing. From digital, to design, to finance and communications, getting the badges ordered and manufacturing. It’s all been done by volunteers. It’s not about me, it’s not about any one volunteer.”

If you would like to learn more about the fantastic Pin Your Thanks initiative or even volunteer, you can visit their website.

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