Fundraiser of the Week: Abi Wells of Lepra

The corporate and community partnerships manager at the leprosy charity talks to Third Sector about innovation in corporate partnerships and not being able to switch off

Abi Wells
Abi Wells

What is the best thing about your role? 

The best part of my role is being able to connect people with an important cause and beneficiaries that they’d probably never come across otherwise. Corporate fundraising is an area that is increasingly interesting as we see more and more examples of innovative partnerships and collaborations between charities and companies looking for a unique way of making a difference. It’s really exciting being a part of this wider movement.

I’m also very lucky to work with a group of passionate and talented colleagues who share the same drive to make a genuine difference to the lives of people affected by leprosy and other neglected tropical diseases. This can be really reaffirming when working on a tough project or trying to find a solution to a shared problem.

What do you do to switch off from work? 

Reading, holidaying or preferably a mix of both. With that in mind, my ears always prick up when I discover mentions of not-for-profit causes when I’m on holiday (or while lost in a book), so I suppose there’s a small part of my fundraiser brain that’s always on. Perhaps that means I don’t really switch off from work.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for the sector in the year ahead? 

The dreaded B word (Brexit) and consequently reaffirming the role that international charities will continue to play within Britain to continue to support overseas relationships.

What’s the best piece of fundraising advice you’ve ever been given? 

"Time kills any deal", shared with me by a corporate fundraiser in my first charity role. I don’t know if he remembers sharing the advice, and I don’t suppose I’ve ever passed it on, but it’s stayed with me all the same and, though it's simple, it holds tremendous value.

Outside of this, I think the best advice I’ve picked up from wider fundraising conferences and blogs iconcerns achieving the right balance between keeping campaigns and initiatives both simple and quickly digestible for partners and supporters, while striving to meet bespoke goals and innovative solutions. This is something that we’re constantly trying to get right at Lepra, and I think it will continue to be a key part of our relationship fundraising.

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