My Career: Cath Errington, Warwickshire Association of Youth Clubs

The charity's assistant director on the ups and downs of her career

- The best advice I've had

Shortly after starting at WAYC I read The Zen Of Fundraising by Ken Burnett, which gave me loads of tips. One that stuck was to thank your donors. Until I'd read that, I didn't have a proper system in place for doing this.

I also got good advice when I did my Open University Certificate in Fundraising. My tutor and other people on my course helped me to implement a fundraising strategy and business plan for the first time and, more importantly, set realistic fundraising targets based on my experience rather than other people's ideas.

And my boss always says "keep smiling", which can be hard on a bad day but always seems to work.

- The biggest challenge I've faced

My first year at WAYC was certainly my biggest challenge emotionally. I had never done fundraising before and I was the first full-time fundraiser they had employed. I worried day and night about where the money was going to come from, as did our treasurer - and probably my boss. I still worry, but I have more experience and knowledge to fall back on now.

- My greatest hit

In my first year here, I made two successful lottery funding applications: a European funding application and a £10,000 grant from the Tudor Trust. Nothing will match the excitement of seeing that first money rolling in. The day I got my database working was also quite exciting.

- My worst moment

Finding out the lottery wouldn't support us again because we had already received too much money from them - and getting stuck in the lift at work with six other colleagues when I was eight months pregnant. We were trying to surprise a colleague with a bunch of flowers and were over the weight limit. The engineer was not impressed.

- My top tip

When you're preparing an application, always work closely with the people who will be doing the actual work. Always read through your work and ask someone else to do so as well: they will always spot something you've missed.

And never let yourself get downhearted. You never know what's around the corner.

Interview by Annie Kelly

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