Fundraiser of the Week: Ayla Besser of the Sick Children's Trust

The head of fundraising at the charity that provides accommodation for the families of children in hospital talks to Third Sector

Ayla Besser
Ayla Besser

How long have you been in your role?

I joined the Sick Children’s Trust in July 2018 as head of fundraising. The fundraising team at the charity consists of 14 fundraisers working across community fundraising, corporate fundraising, trust fundraising, philanthropy and special events.

Do you think fundraising has changed since you have been involved with it, and how?

Fundraising has changed across the board, especially over the past few years with high-profile charity scandals and cases that have led to increasing public distrust. It is now more important than ever that we are transparent about how money is being spent and what proportion is going back directly into the cause. A positive change that has driven fundraising forward is the advance in digital technology. The use of websites, donation platforms and social media means charities such as the trust have been able to reach more supporters than ever before.

What qualities do you believe are important in a good fundraiser?

We are a national charity, but have a small, family feel. A good fundraiser should be able to make sure each supporter feels valued and appreciated. They need to be knowledgeable, on top of the latest fundraising trends and news, creative and, above all else, have a real passion for the cause they are working for.

How is your charity using digital to fundraise?

The trust is developing a new website to make a supporter’s journey to fundraising and donating as easy as possible. Recently, we have expanded our digital use, moving away from being solely reliant on Google AdWords to harnessing social media tools such as Facebook and Instagram donate. We take a much more proactive approach in terms of getting our key messaging out to warm audiences about the impact their donations have and how they can get involved in helping families with seriously ill children in hospital.

What makes a good corporate partnership?

At the trust we have a dedicated corporate fundraising team that works closely with corporate partners to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership is formed and developed, with good shared values. A good partnership is all about engaging staff through a creative and proactive fundraising programme, and we look for our partners to be fully invested in our case in order to make a positive difference to the lives of families in our care.

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