At Work: Fundraising - Personal account - Sarah Joseph

Challenge yourself, says the Alzheimer's Society's head of fundraising development.

The best advice I've had

The previous director of fundraising at the Alzheimer's Society told me you must never give up in this profession, and you have to learn not to take rejection personally - if you don't ask, you don't get. You should always tackle situations head on - perseverance is all. Another piece of advice I've been given is to do something each week that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

The biggest challenge I've faced

My biggest challenge, which I've come across at most charities I've worked for, is trying to get people within the organisation to understand that people like giving money if you ask them in the right way. The next stage is to persuade colleagues to put fundraising asks in their mailings and bulletins, and to include them at any other possible opportunity.

It's also important to tell people that fundraising is an exciting and dynamic profession with immense potential and that there's bags of personal fulfilment to be gained through working in this sector. It's important to dispel the grubby, tarnished image that fundraising always has.

My greatest hit

My best moment was signing off on the Alzheimer's Society's first online fundraising campaign. The campaign, which is due to be launched on 21 September, aims to raise £3m to continue helping the people in the UK affected by dementia. For me the campaign sums up why the charity's work is so vital. I hope it will capture the importance of memories and make you think about the impact of losing your own. A lifetime of memories defines your identity - your name, where you live, your education, your career, your likes and dislikes. They create history. Many of the memories on the campaign website are really inspiring. It makes me realise why I'm doing what I'm doing.

My worst moment

Probably sitting in the make-up room at the BBC ahead of an interview on Breakfast TV with Jeremy Bowen. And masquerading as Dennis the Menace when I was working at Mencap as part of a Tesco Charity of the Year event. All for the good of the cause.

My top tip

Challenge yourself in some way every day. If you can do one thing, make sure it will transform your fundraising and your relationship with your donor in some way. Don't forget, the donor is always right.

Interview by Annie Kelly.

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