Personal account: Charlotte Davies

EveryChild's sponsorship manager finds her language skills irrelevant in India.

The best advice I've had

This came from Paula Cook, a trainer for EveryChild, who told me always to be aware of body language. Body language is crucial here in the UK, but especially important when working with colleagues overseas. No matter how much you know your stuff, if your body language is making you look young, inexperienced, nervous or uninterested, then your message is lost. An equally good piece of advice I once received was always to be careful with the 'reply all' button when sending emails.

The biggest challenge I've faced

Delivering a fundraising training programme to overseas colleagues in environments where electricity isn't guaranteed can be difficult enough. But my biggest challenge was when I arrived to deliver a training course for 30 of my colleagues in India. Having been assured that all the delegates had a good standard of English, I found out five minutes before the start that this was definitely not the case and, what's more, that the delegates spoke in six different languages. None of my French, Spanish or Portuguese was of any help, so I had to spend the three days constantly rewriting the sessions. Everything had to be repeated over and over again as colleagues frantically translated for each other.

My greatest hit

In my first job as a fundraiser on a six-month contract at Chester-based charity Save the Family, I secured more than £350k in grants. This ignited my passion for fundraising because I saw that people really did want to make a difference.

My worst moment

This came on a work trip to some of our projects in Asia. The tough schedule, combined with a change in diet and several hours of travel, had left my digestive system less than happy. After two days of being force-fed all manner of sweet treats and culinary delights, I was forced to ask our country director if there was anywhere I could buy some digestive relief tablets. No one ever said that fundraising was glamorous.

My top tip

Make sure you really believe in what you're doing. As a fundraiser, your job is to inspire and engage people so much that they want to dig deep; so you have to show them that you have true conviction.

- Interview by Annie Kelly.

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