Personal account: Andy John

The ActionAid marketing and events officer on working and playing hard.

- The best advice I've had

It probably came from Brian Miller, head of direct marketing agency WWAV Rapp Collins, who spoke at a recent conference I went to. He said the future of fundraising is to stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what people are interested in. For me, that means building long-term and flexible relationships with supporters and engaging with them in a way that suits their lives and interests.

- The biggest challenge I've faced

We applied for the Blue Peter appeal two years ago and it was the most difficult pitch I've ever helped put together. All our fundraising is done out of one central London office and we have no regional network of support, so it is not easy to coordinate things like nationwide collection points. At the same time, we were all aware of the impact that winning the appeal could have on some of our projects, so we all put ourselves under a lot of pressure. In the end we didn't win it, but we learnt a lot and we're probably going to go for it again this year, so fingers crossed.

- My greatest hit

I'm really proud that I was on the team that devised MyActionAid, a social networking website that has brought together hundreds of donors, fundraisers and campaigners. I think we've set a really high standard for other charities to follow in this area.

Another high point was taking a major donor on a trip to Rio to visit some of the projects her company had helped to fund. We were visiting really deprived and often dangerous places, but seeing the difference the project was making was incredible. The donor was blown away by meeting some of our colleagues and partner agencies out there, and for me it was a chance to see the actual impact of what I was doing in London on the other side of the world. It must have worked because the donor's company has supported us ever since.

- My worst moment

Probably getting repeatedly beaten by Unicef in the inter-charity football league. And getting kicked off the park by WaterAid.

- My top tip

Try to balance out the seriousness of what you're working on by pursuing fundraising ideas that are fun, engaging and set you apart from the crowd.

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