Fundraiser of the Week: Andrew Sarson of the Canal & River Trust

The senior manager for individual giving at the waterways charity talks about the biggest challenges for charities over the next year and reveals what keeps him awake at night

Andrew Sarson
Andrew Sarson

How long have you been in your role?

Nearly 5 years.

What is the best thing about your role?

Discovering what was, to me, a hidden network of canals and rivers, home to some of the most stunning scenery, wildlife and historic water spaces this country has to offer.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Helping people to understand why they need to do something to help us protect and enhance our network of amazing waterways. Communicating a need for support.

What advice would you give to a new fundraiser just starting out?

Put the supporter first – always try to do what is best for them. Think about what your audiences expect to see from you and aim to deliver this in the most creative and useful way possible. Be positive and think optimistically as often as you can.

How did you get into fundraising?

Through face-to-face street fundraising. If you can handle that environment, you will be able to handle most things an office-based working environment will throw at you.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for the sector in the year ahead?

The General Data Protection Regulation and its impact on how we can communicate with supporters, not just from an asking-for-support point of view.

Engaging new, predominately younger audiences that don’t expect paper-based communications or having to commit to regular direct debit payments,and who want instant, accessible and exciting content at all times.

Understanding what "digital" means for your organisation and having a solid strategy to support this area of work.

What keeps you awake at night?

My 14-month-old daughter. 

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