Do you think fundraising has changed since you have been involved with it, and how?
Yes. Certainly at Initiatives of Change there was a tendency to see fundraising as something that couldn’t be engaged with and was only about grant funding. Due to the nature of some of the work, there was a culture of believing that the charity was not fundable, which is not true and certainly not a healthy culture to have.
What advice would you give to a new fundraiser just starting out?
If you’re fundraising for your charity through events and activities, be creative, keep it simple and stay passionate about your cause. Passion can sell most things.
If you’re in a more permanent fundraising position in a charity, focus on relationship-building. Like all business, all good fundraising starts with a relationship. This is what we must invest in.
Would you like to see more done to support fundraisers? If so, what?
I think there is a lot around to support fundraisers already through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and other similar organisations. I think that, as fundraisers, we have to take responsibility to stay creative and engaging, just like a business would have to. I think charities can do more to support their own fundraisers.
What advice would you give to organisations applying for grants?
Be arrogant in what you would like and in sharing your experiences – don’t under-sell yourselves. But at the same time you have to remain realistic in what you can achieve with your resources.
What do you think of the fundraising levy?
I’m undecided at the moment. I can understand the idea of making charities accountable for how they are using money. I think this is important, but on the other hand it also feels like charities are being asked to pay out even more than they do already. People give money to charities so that they can do good; it feels wrong that the charities then have to use a portion of that money to pay a levy.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Easy, I would be invisible. I love to people watch and I always think about what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in certain situations. It would allow me to be nosey and to learn from other people’s failures without them knowing that I was watching. I’d also want to be able to sing everything and turn any situation into a musical, just for fun.
What do you do to switch off from work?
I founded and run my own social enterprise, so there is little time to switch off between this role and my own organisation. My organisation is a performing arts company, and I love to go to the theatre and to salsa dance.