Fundraiser of the Week: Lydia Hollinson of Lancashire Women

The business development officer for the gender equality charity Lancashire Women talks to Third Sector about corporate fundraising, new ideas and weightlifting

Lydia Hollinson
Lydia Hollinson

What is the best thing about your role?

I have used the charity’s services myself and it made a huge difference to me and my family, so being able to raise funds that I know will make a significant difference to other women and girl’s lives feels like an absolute privilege. The role allows me to support the business more than I ever dreamt possible and I genuinely feel like it was kismet. The role was a brand-new one when I joined the business, so I have been involved in designing the role and developing the strategy. Being involved in this way allows me to continue to shape the role as we learn and develop our fundraising approach further.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Corporate fundraising is challenging, full stop. Approaching potential donors and not getting the results you want immediately is difficult when you believe so strongly in the charity you are working for. It’s important to regularly take a step back and review what you are doing and how you are doing it, and look to see how you can improve. It’s also good to remember that its often about the long game and building a long-term successful business relationship can take time.

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

Be resilient, patient and flexible in your approach. Don’t lose sight of your priorities, nor your progress so far.

What do you do to switch off from work?

Lifting heavy weights! I run a female-only weightlifting club (The Strong Mamas Club) that empowers women to feel stronger and more confident. I also spend time with my family. My daughter is six and time with her is fun, chaotic and exhausting… but I would not change any of that.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Julie Andrews! Or a vet.

What keeps you awake at night?

New ideas. Sometimes the best ones come to you at the strangest times: in bed in the middle of the night or in the shower in the morning. Writing them down as soon as I think of them allows me to park them and sift through them at a more reasonable hour. I can then prioritise which are creative genius and which are the 2am ramblings of a tired working mum.

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