Fundraiser of the Week: Scott Smith of Making Space

The fundraising manager at the adult health and social care charity talks to Third Sector about Twitter, storm chasing and listening to your supporters

How did you get into fundraising?

My first experience as a fundraiser came at secondary school. I was a keen geographer and was fortunate enough to have travelled to Costa Rica, Iceland and Austria. I would record, edit and sell a 60-minute or so "trip highlight" DVD to everyone who went on the trip. In total, I raised about £2,000 for the Climate Group, the North West Air Ambulance Charity and a school in San José. At university, I took this one step further and helped to organise an awareness and fundraising campaign that was launched in parliament.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A weatherman. As a keen geographer, I was fascinated by the weather – so much so that I went on a storm-chasing trip in the US one summer during university. I also shadowed meteorologists at ITV and at the Met Office, but it seemed meteorology as a career, as opposed to a hobby, wasn’t for me.  

How long have you been in your role?

I have been at Making Space for two months. Before that I was a fundraising manager at the neurological disease support charity the PSP Association for a year, having been a volunteer fundraiser there for six years. And before that I was community development and partnership manager for the Stroke Association.

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

Although advice, support and feedback from colleagues, literature and at conferences is all very useful, the people you need to listen to the hardest are your supporters. Fundraising is a very subjective area and things can be interpreted in so many different ways. Your number one priority is always the supporter. If your decision to do something has your supporter at the core of it, you can’t go too wrong.  

Do you tweet and why?

I do use Twitter (@ScottSmith_MS), as do a lot of my peers. It’s a lovely way not only toshare the good news coming out from the charity I work for, but also to see what others are up to too. Just like my parents and grandparents would pick up the first paper of the day, I enjoy my morning browse through Twitter to catch up with what’s going on in the (fundraising) world. I really enjoy seeing how different charities engage with their audiences in different ways – it’s fascinating that, unlike what some people outside the third sector circle think, charities are not all the same and they all have blossoming, individual identities.

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