Clare Seal on Sharing Your Personal Story Online and Building a Community | Campaigning, Education and Activism

In our Campaigning, Education & Activism blogs, we share tools, tips and resources to help you help the causes you care about.

Based in the UK, Clare Seal is a writer, speaker and financial coach. She started an anonymous Instagram account, @myfrugalyear, in 2019 as she tackled her personal debt, then shifted her career towards financial coaching and writing as her story resonated with a large audience. In this article, she shares her experiences and advice for building a community.

If you had told me five years ago, when I was on the brink of maternity leave and desperately worried about how we were going to manage our rent, bills and debt repayments on statutory maternity pay, that I would be thriving in a new career as a financial coach, author and content creator in 2023, I wouldn’t have believed you. There are lots of parallels between my life now and the way things were back then, beginning with the fact that I am, once again, heavily pregnant, this time with my third and final child. But life has changed beyond recognition, both in terms of my personal life and my career – indeed, the two have become more intertwined than ever before, which makes things both easier and harder.

Until 2019, I worked in brand marketing for an interiors company, managing their social media, influencer and PR strategy for £27,000 per year. I’d returned early from my second maternity leave because I thought it would be good for my career, and I desperately needed to start earning more in order to service the huge sum of debt that I’d accumulated over the course of my twenties. I didn’t quite know how it had happened, but I had just over my annual pre-tax salary’s worth of borrowing spread across credit cards, store cards and an overdraft, and it was causing me daily anxiety. There were no fancy cars or designer handbags to show for it, just years of incremental overspending, a lack of financial literacy and a nice, though not super-flashy – wedding. My breaking point came mid-March 2019, when my anxious process of juggling tiny amounts of money from one account to another, desperately trying to plug the ever-growing gaps in my budget, finally failed me. I reached a breaking point in my relationship with money and did what any sane person would do in that situation: I started an Instagram account. 

My aim was, in the beginning, to find a place where I could hold myself accountable, to maybe get tips from like-minded folks or people who’d been through it before. I thought I might get a handful of followers who would shout at me if I overspent, but the more I wrote about the specifics of my relationship with money and descent into five figures of debt, the more it seemed to resonate with people struggling in the same way. I realised that there was a whole group of people who had been waiting for someone to talk about money and financial education in a way resonated with them, in a way that treated it with the gravity and nuance that it deserved, rather than just simplifying it down into ‘spend less than you earn’ type rhetoric. My account was initially anonymous which, ironically, allowed me to be truly honest and authentic online for the first time. It acted as my armour at a time when my skin was too thin to really withstand much criticism – I was being hard enough on myself without inviting judgement from strangers. 

Things moved quickly for me after I had a blog published on a popular website, and it was reshared a number of times by big accounts. I wasn’t ready for the huge influx of followers, and luckily most people were kind and supportive. Their stories and interest gave me the fuel that I needed to keep writing, keep documenting my progress out of debt and keep sharing my thoughts. I started to share tips based on what was working for me, and secured a book deal just a few months after creating the account. I started to secure commissions in magazines, speaking work and brand partnerships, all of which formed the foundation of my new career.

Real Life Money and The Real Life Money journal paperbacks, by Clare Seal
Clare’s books, via her website. Photographed by Emma Croman

I made more mistakes than I care to remember as I learned to navigate having a public platform, mostly to do with how much of myself I gave away and how much I allowed the opinions of strangers to impact me. When you’re creating a platform based on your own experiences, it’s hard not to take things personally – I highly recommend creating an auto-response or hiring a virtual assistant to deal with any unwanted attention, especially if your profile starts to gain traction quickly. I was also terrible at negotiating in the beginning, and wish I’d been quicker to collaborate with my peers to discuss rates and ensure that we were all getting the best deals possible. 

In terms of the things I got right, or have learned to get right, I would advise anyone looking to grow a social media audience to embrace networking – not to get ahead, but to make real connections with other people working in a similar space. You have no idea how valuable that support will be in your low moments. Allow for ebb and flow of interest, engagement and opportunities – it can’t all come to you, all of the time. Use the downtime to focus on bringing as much value to your community as possible, and don’t get disheartened if some things don’t go down as well as you thought they would. As long as you retain clarity around your mission and what you’re hoping to achieve, and you’re consistent in getting that across, the rest will come.

You can find Clare’s books and contact her via her website. If her books aren’t in your local library, remember you can request them! You can also find them on our page. You can browse organisations that provide financial advice and help with financial literacy in the Everyday Life section of our directory. If our site helps you in your campaigning and activism, please consider leaving us a tip.

Last updated 23rd May 2023. Please note that articles are written by independent writers and do not represent the Do Something Directory.


Amnesty International UK

Note: this is the entry for the UK branch of Amnesty International.

Amnesty International UK is the UK branch of Amnesty International, a grassroots organisation working for human rights both in the UK and globally.

Amnesty International UK works on national human rights issues, such as establishing service provision for abortions in Northern Ireland, protecting the Human Rights Act and fighting anti-asylum legislation. Internationally, Amnesty International UK advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, freedom of speech and much more in places including Iran, Palestine, Ukraine and the USA. Regular campaigns include Write for Rights, in which people can write letters to incarcerated people.

How You Can Help

Time: various; from five minutes to several days at a time

Sign local, national and international petitions on Amnesty International UK’s action page or join the Pocket Protest to support campaigns via SMS. You can also get involved with human rights education, take up volunteering opportunities or join a local group of Amnesty supporters, such as a youth group or university society.

Money: various; typically from £4 per month

Join Amnesty International UK as a member from £1-£4 a month (concessionary memberships available), donate on a monthly or one-off basis or start a fundraiser.

Location: based in London; operates nationally

Find out more:

(This information was updated 08/03/23 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

The Black Curriculum

The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise working to deliver Black history across schools in the UK.

Founded in 2019, The Black Curriculum has a curriculum of materials, develops resources and runs in-person and virtual programmes to schools and young people, and corporations, to teach the importance of Black history.

How You Can Help

Time: varied

If you’re aged 14-18, you can join the accredited National Ambassador Scheme to educate and advocate in your school community. Educators can apply to take part in the Springboard programme, which explores Black history through music and the arts.

Money: varied

Donate to The Black Curriculum to support purchase and provision of books, materials and resources.

Location: Based in the UK

Learn more:

(This information was updated 13/02/23 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Digital Poverty Alliance

Digital Poverty Alliance is a charity working to end digital poverty by 2030, by a combination of advocacy and practical action.

Formed in the UK in 2021 by the Learning Foundation, Currys plc and The Institution of Learning and Technology, Digital Poverty Alliance publishes research, facilitates ideas sharing and runs programmes such as Tech4Families to improve people’s access to technology. Digital Poverty Alliance also advocates for policy and industrial change to improve access to technology and digital spaces.

How You Can Help

Time: varied; typically less than an hour at a time

Join the DPA Hub to join conversations about ending digital poverty or make a pledge to support the Digital Poverty Alliance.

Money: varied

Donate to Digital Poverty Alliance via its website.

Location: Based in the UK

Learn more:

(This information was updated 13/01/23 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Bone Cancer Research Trust

Bone Cancer Research Trust researches bone cancer and its causes, raises awareness of the disease and provides support to those impacted by bone cancer.

Founded by a group of families in 2004, Bone Cancer Trust funds research into the causes, treatments and potential cures for bone cancer. It provides information on the symptoms and types of bone cancer, with practical and guides for patients including resources regarding amputation, alongside support groups. Bone Cancer Trust also provides information to healthcare professionals.

How You Can Help


Campaign or fundraise for Bone Cancer Research Trust, taking part in one-off or regular campaigns and activities.

Money: various

Donate to Bone Cancer Research Trust on a regular or one-off basis.

Location: UK

Learn more:

(This information was updated 21/12/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

How to Support a Charity or Non-Profit Using Social Media (in less than three minutes)

In our Campaigning, Education & Activism blogs, we share tools, tips and resources to help you help the causes you care about.

Time pressed and frustrated you can’t do more to support your favourite charity, community group or non-profit organisation? If you’re active on social media, you actually have a lot of power at your fingertips – even if you don’t have a six figure follower count. Here are our top tips for supporting your favourite organisations in less than three minutes:

Share the organisation’s posts

Not so often you irritate everyone you know, mind you. Share strategically! Send a post directly to a friend who would be interested, share a news post post to your stories or mention a friend in the comments of a post with a quick ‘would you be interested in this?’ Sharing is far more efficient than just generating ‘likes’ for the post or page.

Comment on posts

Algorithms generally reward ‘content’ that generates ‘engagement.’ (We don’t like that everything in the universe seems to have been reduced to content, but that’s a conversation for another day.) So engage! Comment with a response to an interesting post and maybe even get a comment thread going. This will boost the organisation’s chances of being seen on the ‘explore’ page of the social media site, or showing in the ‘suggested for you’ section of a feed.

Make your own post about the organisation

Whether you share a graphic they’ve created, share a photo or video of your own involvement or just post some words about what the organisation means to you, you’ll be helping your organisation hugely. Don’t forget to mention and/or tag them with the handle they use on that platform, or they won’t be able to see it!

We hope you find these tips helpful – and we’d love to know if you have any suggestions!

Last updated 7th January 2023.


Care4Calais is a charity offering practical and direct support to refugees in the UK, France and Belgium.

In the UK, Care4Calais provides essential items such as toiletries to refugees, helps them register with doctors, helps with language learning and works to get young people into school. It also provides support with dealing with the legal system, such as providing interpreters and signposting. In France, Care4Calais works alongside other aid organisations in Calais, Dunkirk, Caen and Paris, providing practical help for refugees such as first aid, toiletries and sleeping bags, as well as a day centre and a children’s centre. Care4Calais also works with refugees in Brussels, and in Ventimiglia and the Italian Alps, and advocates for refugees’ legal rights in the UK.

How You Can Help

Time: varied; typically several days at a time

Care4Calais welcomes volunteers to help its teams across the UK, and in Calais. Alternatively, campaign or fundraise for Care4Calais, raising awareness of the plight of refugees in Europe.

Money: typically £10 minimum at a time

Donate to Care4Calais on a one-off or regular basis, or buy a ‘gift’ for a refugee, such as a phone or a winter coat.

Location: Based in the UK; working in France, Belgium and Italy

Learn more:

(This information was updated 28/11/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Conway Hall (Conway Hall Ethical Society)

The Conway Hall Ethical Society is a humanist organisation supporting free thought and celebrating and promoting culture and diversity of opinion.

Conway Hall Ethical Society began in 1787 as a dissident congregation advocating for freedom of thought. It is now based at Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, London. Conway Hall hosts regular social and cultural events alongside debates and lectures, both in London and online. The Conway Hall Humanist Library and Archives hosts the UK’s largest collection of humanist material in the UK, including academic papers, manuscripts and personal documents.

How You Can Help

Time: n/a

Conway Hall Ethical Society does not typically accept volunteers; we recommend contacting the organisation directly if you are interested in volunteer work.

Money: typically £2-£5 at a time; average £40 annually

Donate to Conway Hall or Conway Hall’s Sunday Concerts. You can also join Conway Hall as a member for between £30 and £55 per year.

Location: London, England

Learn more:

(This information was updated 21/12/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Essex Wildlife Trust

Essex Wildlife Trust is a conservation charity working across Essex, England, to preserve and advocate for wildlife and green spaces.

Established in 1959 and part of the UK-wide network of Wildlife Trusts, Essex Wildlife Trust is a charity dedicated to conservation of Essex’s land and sea, as well as advocacy and education. Essex Wildlife Trust works with schools and businesses to provide outdoors learning and outreach work, as well as ecology consultancy services. It pressures local and national government to take steps to preserve and rebuild green spaces, halt species extinction and tackle climate change. Specific projects include the Essex Seagrass Project, Share Our Shores and barn owl conservation.

How You Can Help

Time: typically several hours at a time

Fundraise for Essex Wildlife Trust or adopt species to help its work. You can volunteer for various local centres in different capacities. You can also take part in various campaigns, such as 30 Days Wild, or join in with campaigns or petitions to pressure local or national government.

Note: many volunteer opportunities require several hours at a time, although some, like magazine deliveries, may only require your help once or twice per year.

Cost: various

Become an Essex Wildlife Trust member or make a one-off or regular donation via the Essex Wildlife Trust website.

Location: Essex, England

Find out more:

(This information was updated 28/11/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Trans Rescue

Trans Rescue is a non-profit helping transgender people to legally and safely escape from dangerous places and situations.

Based in the Netherlands, Trans Rescue provides safe, legal options for transgender people to travel out of their country of origin, providing help at various stages, such as leaving an abusive home and moving into a hotel, then leaving one country and spending time in another before moving on again. Trans Rescue helps people to claim asylum or apply for long-term residency. It operates under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, ensuring that it never breaks the laws of any country it operates in. All people travel via ‘conventional carriers’ such as train or aeroplane. Trans Rescue also operates projects in specific places, such as building Eden House in Kenya, a safe, communal living space for trans people in Nakuru.

How You Can Help

Time: varied; typically several hours at a time

Trans Rescue is always looking for volunteers, from translators to legal interns to content writers. Note that most local work goes on in the Trans Rescue offices in Enschede, the Netherlands, but there are opportunities for international volunteers, especially working with people who in transit or recently arrived.

Money: typically £10 minimum at a time

Donate to Trans Rescue on a one-off or monthly basis via its website.

Location: Based in the Netherlands; operating in Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lebanon, the Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, the UK, the USA and Yemen

Learn more:

(This information was updated 28/11/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Border Violence Monitoring Network

An independent network of non-profits and associations, the Border Violence Monitoring Network monitors and publicises human rights violations at the borders of the European Union.

Formed in 2016, the Border Violence Monitoring Network works predominantly in Greece and the Balkans, tracking events from the Turkish border with Greece and Bulgaria up to Italy and Austria (the ‘Balkan Route’). It records, fact-checks and publishes reports which track and analyse human rights violations and ‘pushback’ at national borders. Reports include testimonies, medical reports and images.

Note: Border Violence Monitoring Network works with our other entries, including No Name Kitchen. The network’s legal frame is German NGO Rigardu.

How You Can Help


If you would like to get involved with the Border Violence Monitoring Network as a witness or journalist, or become involved in advocacy, you can get in touch via its website. (Note you can use an encrypted public PGP-key to get in touch privately.) You can also subscribe to a monthly newsletter summarising the situation on the Balkan Route.

Money: various

Use PayPal or bank transfer to donate to the Border Violence Monitoring Network.

Location: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, Turkey

Learn more:

(This information was updated 27/11/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)


Sightsavers works in over 30 nations globally, preventing sight loss, fighting disease and advocating the rights of those with disabilities.

Founded in 1950, Sightsavers prevents sight loss by providing eye surgery for issues such as cataracts and glaucoma. It trains eye care workers, distributes medication and works to ensure that medical care is accessible to people with disabilities. Sightsavers also fights diseases that cause sight loss, such as trachoma and river blindness. The organisation advocates for the right of disabled people to access education and work opportunities, as well as working toward political participation for disabled people.

How You Can Help

Time: various; typically a few hours at a time for fundraising

Fundraise with Sightsavers or join its Equal World disability rights campaign. Sightsavers does work with volunteers, but they are people local to their community. This is due to their invaluable connection to, and insight into, their own communities.

Money: various

Donate to Sightsavers on a monthly or one-off basis.

Location: Global; based in the United Kingdom

Learn more:

(This information was updated 20/11/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)