The best advice I've had
It was given to me by my dad. He told me never to assume. I have tested both sides of that coin and it rings true every time. I've stuck to it ever since submitting a job application online and then missing out because the organisation in question never received it.
The biggest challenge I've faced
I once worked for someone whose views and strategies on fundraising were very different from mine. He believed in a scatter-gun approach; I believe in an individually oriented, relationship-building approach. He wasn't a fundraiser, but he was my boss. We managed to work alongside each other for a while, but we never got rid of the tension between us and I eventually left.
My greatest hit
I now work for AbilityNet, which helps disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology. When I joined, its relationship with DSGI - the parent company of electronics retailers such as PC World and Currys - was worth about £10,000 a year. Since I've become the charity's corporate and development manager, I've increased that figure 20-fold. DSGI is now supplying three years' funding for a flagship AbilityNet project that is building a network of organisations across the UK, supplying them with accessible IT equipment, training and a structure of support.
My worst moment
I now coach and play for the England Blind Cricket team, and we often struggle for funds. To help ensure there was enough money to hold training weekends leading up to the Blind Cricket World Cup last year, we held a series of bucket collections. One thing I seriously detest is holding a tin or a bucket at a station asking for money, but I knew how important it was. So, after voicing my objection, I reluctantly picked up my bucket. There is just something about a blind or partially sighted person, with or without a can or a dog, that I think subconsciously creates the wrong impression with people.
My top tip
Fundraising is quite often more about listening and interpreting than about talking and writing. Listen to what funders have to say and read the guidance they give: they quite often even give the types of words that they want us to use.