CAREERS: How I Got Here - Jill Jokel, director of fundraising, Willow Foundation

What was your first job?I began fundraising in 1979 as the appeals officer and only fundraiser at the Church of England Pensions Board. I did loads of direct mail appeals.

What does your current role involve? Willow Foundation provides special days for seriously ill people aged between 16 and 40.

Most of the fundraising takes place in Hertfordshire, but the special days are spreading geographically and we require the fundraising to match that. As director of fundraising I review the fundraising strategy, which includes diversifying income streams and helping the charity to grow.

Roughly outline your career path. Following nine years of fundraising, I ran a busy corporate hospitality company. I then joined a marketing consultancy, but after a few years I was back in the voluntary-sector working at King George's Fund for Sailors. After three years, I was headhunted to work at the Rett Syndrome Association UK as its first full-time fundraiser.

I then became director of fundraising at the Manchester Institute of Nephrology and Transplantation before moving to the Willow Foundation last December.

What has been your greatest career achievement? When I started at King George's Fund for Sailors, much of its support came from donors who remembered World War II and wanted to support the Royal Navy. So, to raise awareness of the current needs of seafarers, I devised The Year of the Seafarer in 1997.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Only work for a charity where you are motivated by the cause.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time?

I am the honourary treasurer of the maritime division at Friends of War Memorials and support the Rett Syndrome Association, the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease, and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

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