My Career: Paula Pearce, Unicef UK

The charity's head of fundraising initiatives talks about the highs and lows of her career

The best advice I've had

There are two pieces of advice I draw on regularly. The first is to catch my staff doing something good rather than look for things they might be doing wrong.

The second sounds simple, but it helps keep me focused in stressful times. It is the concept that your time doesn't govern you: you govern it. I postpone meetings and turn off my emails when I have to so that I can concentrate on my main priorities.

The biggest challenge I've faced

The economic climate we're facing now. Throughout my career I have hit fundraising targets, but this year has really kept us on our toes.

The recession forces you to think harder, be more creative and develop more reliable income streams.

My greatest hit

Building my team at Unicef. I started immediately after a restructure and took over a completely new team operating in a completely new way.

There had been a regional structure for community fundraising and events and I was tasked with doing it in a centralised way.

Four years on, we have grown to a team of eight fundraisers and we handle everything, from overseas treks to gala events and motorbike rallies.

My worst moment

One of our most important supporters once fell through the seat of her chair and my colleague and I had to heave her out by the elbows.

My top tip

Don't underestimate community fundraising. Apart from the income it generates, it also feeds the organisation with a wealth of new data for direct marketing, increases awareness of the charity and creates some great images and stories for your website.

Interview by Annie Kelly

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