FUNDRAISING NEWS: Why I Give - Dorothy Darke

Dorothy Darke is a retired teacher. Her father was Jewish, and she was five years old when her family fled Nazi Germany. After 55 years in England, she wrote a book on her experiences, from which she donates all profits to Refugee Action.

What made you become involved with Refugee Action? My father was a tremendous anglophile - very enthusiastic about the help and generosity he had received from the English, and keen to assimilate. Refugees then were labelled as 'enemy aliens' by the Government and I was thoroughly teased when I started school.

When did you become involved? In 1999, when my book was published in English with the help of a Barrow Cadbury Trust donation. I wrote it as a dissertation in 1993 for a postgraduate MA on peace studies. The book made profits of £3,000 in 1999 and £1,500 in 2000.

Roughly how much time do you give per year? It's unquantifiable. I work on impulse: if something needs to be done I do it. I organised a village conference single-handedly and give talks, which happen to publicise my book.

What do you feel you bring to Refugee Action? Time. I realised long ago that giving money is not as valuable as giving time.

Do you consider new approaches from organisations? Sometimes. I'm not very easily convinced and I'd rather dedicate my time to those I can support fully.

Are you ever annoyed by how charities approach you for money? I was intensely annoyed by a 10p and 2p coin sealed inside an envelope for a donor recruitment drive. I was so upset that I wrote to the Charity Commission.

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