Focus: Fundraising - Me and my charity

Simon Edmands is international sales and marketing director at UKIP Media & Events, an international publishing and exhibition company based in Dorking, Surrey. He supports the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Why did you choose the Motor Neurone Disease Association? I was a charity fundraiser for much of the 1990s and I worked at the association's national office in Northampton from 1996 to 1999. At the time, it was purely a career move - from a regional position within a very large organisation to a more responsible, strategic role within a smaller, more dynamic charity.

But I very quickly became motivated by both the devastating nature of the disease itself and the amazingly positive way in which the charity supported everyone affected by it. When I left at the end of 1999, I immediately joined my local branch and have been an active member ever since.

What do you do to support them? As well as making a regular personal donation, I am also the PR and fundraising officer for the East Surrey branch because of my background in fundraising. I organise a range of events and activities, from street collections and quizzes to balloon releases and greyhound racing evenings. I also created the concept of charity affinity business cards, with the association's logo, website address and simple awareness statement on the back of our company's business cards, an idea subsequently adopted by many other businesses and charities around the world.

How many hours a week do you volunteer? About five hours a week, during the morning, the weekend or at lunchtime. I fit it in when I can. It's a lot of juggling.I have a sympathetic boss who would give me a day off if I needed to be at a fundraising event. Rather than donating money, I prefer to use my personal and professional skills to persuade other people to part with their cash.

Do you support other charities? Yes. I make monthly £10 donations to WWF, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Cats Protection. I have also recently taken over as president of my local Rotary Club in Leatherhead.

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