My career: Natalie Walters, RSPB

The community fundraising manager bites off more than she can chew

- The best advice I've had

Ten years ago, someone at the first charity I ever worked for told me to get experience with as many different charities and companies as possible. A decade on, I honestly think I would struggle to do my current job if I hadn't listened to this advice.

- My greatest hit

It was in a previous job, the first time my team and I raised more than £1m in one year from community fundraising. My latest challenge here is to double the RSPB's community fundraising income. One of my other greatest hits was the first time I inspired someone to run a marathon for charity.

- My worst moment

Very early in my fundraising career, I was given the opportunity to organise a charity ball. Being very naive, I thought I knew exactly what to do to arrange a successful event and did not need anyone else's help. Let's just say I was wrong. Very wrong. It basically took over my life, leaving me no time to do anything else. Community fundraising relies on volunteers and networks, and I now know how valuable volunteers are when you are trying to do something like that.

- My top tip

I have four top tips. First of all, never undervalue the work done by volunteers. Second, always say thank you. Third, everyone in community fundraising feels like they have never done enough - don't worry, it's not only you.

And last - and probably most important - work only for charities that you are really passionate and enthusiastic about. Your passion and enthusiasm will be contagious to supporters of the charity, and it will also keep you going on those very hard days when everything seems to be hopeless.

Interview by Annie Kelly

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