Personal account: Kelly Archer

The acquisition campaign manager at WWF-UK on being a headless panda.

The best advice I've had

At a conference last year, WWF's international marketing director said that fundraising wasn't about selling a programme or project, or about meeting your targets, but about developing a relationship with the donor. It's something I've acted on ever since.

The biggest challenge I've faced

A couple of years ago I managed a high-profile above and below-the-line campaign for WWF-UK, which was a disaster. After some analysis, we realised we had been trying to do far too much. We had wanted to change our brand positioning, test different creatives, motivate the public to take action and ask them to donate - all with one campaign. If we weren't even clear on our objectives, how could we expect the public to get the message? It was horrible having a campaign fail like that. On a positive note, the next one we did was much more focused.

My greatest hit

Pitching and winning internal funding for a WWF T-shirt idea that I wanted to develop. Seeing something that you created out there in the world is pretty special. I'm told that a presenter wore one on El Salvadorian daytime TV.

My worst moment

I went to the London Marathon dressed as a giant panda to cheer on the runners who were raising money for WWF. A little boy tugged my arm and said: "Bear, where's my mummy?" I couldn't talk through the costume, so I tried to do some sort of panda-esque mime for "she's running in the race", but he wasn't satisfied.

After about five more minutes of arm tugging and unsuccessful miming, I took the head off and said "mummy's running in the race", at which point he burst into very noisy, inconsolable tears.

He thought he was in the presence of a real panda and was distraught to see it remove its head. Never work with children or animals.

My top tips

Get into a position to have the 'elevator pitch' conversation, in which you have three minutes to convince someone that they should support you. If you can't believe in and justify your work, why should anyone give you their money? And be immensely proud of what you do and the achievements of the charity you work for. How many people can truly say they're helping to make the world a better place?

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