Tributes have been paid to Liz Monks, former director of fundraising at the Alzheimer's Society, who has died of cancer aged 48.
Monks, who had a career in the charity sector spanning more than 20 years, died in the early hours yesterday morning after a 12-month battle with a form of the disease called small-cell neuroendocrine cancer.
She held senior fundraising roles at the Terrence Higgins Trust, Shelter, the RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss), Action for Children and Breast Cancer Campaign (now Breast Cancer Now), before becoming director of fundraising at the Alzheimer’s Society in 2012.
She was also chair of the Institute of Fundraising's convention between 2011 and 2014, and was instrumental in its success, friends said.
Monks left the Alzheimer's Society in 2013, initially on a temporary basis to take adoption leave, but then permanently after it was announced in February 2014 that she would not be returning to the charity because she wanted to concentrate on her new family. She was diagnosed with cancer later that year.
Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Liz was not just a brilliant fundraiser but also one of the most influential leaders in our sector. Her ability to inspire and galvanise people to make change happen was demonstrated right to the end. Courage is often a much over-used word, but in Liz’s case never so apt."
Thomas also spoke about a fundraising appeal for Macmillan, which was launched by Monks in July to raise £20,000 to fund a staff member to work full-time for one year at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she was being treated. The centre employs one person on a part-time basis because of a lack of core funding.
A statement issued by Imogen Ward, chief executive of the Lessons for Life Foundation, said that a group of friends and colleagues had promised Monks they would continue her appeal and reach a new target of £50,000.
On the JustGiving page, which has raised £17,000 so far, Monks wrote: "I am writing to you, one fundraiser to another, to ask for your help with a project very close to my heart. I am writing at a time when fundraising itself is being questioned, and I hope this will show what our profession is all about. I know as staff in charities, or in agencies providing the skill and capacity so desperately needed to fund the work of organisations like Macmillan, that you share this commitment and belief that a donation or funds raised can make all the difference.
"This belief has, so very wrongly, been called into question recently. As much as techniques and practice may change, what must not change is the simple fact that money changes, improves and save lives."
Ward announced the appeal at September’s I Wish I'd Thought of That event in London, when she described Monks as "a phenomenal figure who has had a big career in the sector". She said at the time that one of the reasons Monks had wanted to launch the appeal was to stand up for her profession and show people that, contrary to the criticism of the profession in the media in recent months, fundraising was about doing something beautiful.
Other sector figures involved in promoting the appeal include Tim Longfoot, managing director of Open Fundraising, whose agency has agreed to raise or donate £5,000 to the appeal, and Tobin Aldrich, chief executive of the Misfit Foundation.
Donors to the appeal in recent days include Anne-Marie Huby, managing director of JustGiving, who described Monks’s death as a "huge loss", and Gill Raikes, chief executive of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity, who said that Monks would be greatly missed.
Alan Gosschalk, who worked with Monks at the RNID and Shelter, told Third Sector she was a model person to work with: creative, driven and with an "amazing sense of fun".
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said in a statement: "Liz was one of the most talented, energetic and creative fundraisers I’ve ever met, as well as one of the nicest."