Fundraiser of the Week: Yaseen Sheikh of Penny Appeal

The Midlands fundraising coordinator for the humanitarian charity talks to Third Sector about his unusual route into fundraising.

Yaseen Sheikh
Yaseen Sheikh

How long have you been in your role at Penny Appeal?

Just over nine months, but I have to say it’s been the fastest nine months of my life.

How did you get into fundraising?

I’ve been volunteering for a couple of charities for more than five years. Last year, Penny Appeal offered me an opportunity to feature on a TV Series called The Interns (similar to The Apprentice) on British Muslim TV, alongside nine other contestants. I won the show and was given the incredible prize of visiting Penny Appeal’s amazing projects in The Gambia. After my emotional and exciting journey to Africa, I was inspired to do more fundraising. A couple of months after this, I was blessed with the opportunity to change my career and start fundraising full-time for Penny Appeal.

What is the best thing about your role?

Job satisfaction. When you’ve had a busy day and crawl into bed smiling about having made a huge difference to so many lives, that is exactly what I love.

What reaction do you get from people when you tell them you’re a fundraiser?

They normally say they don’t have any cash until I pull out the card machine and see their jaws drop. On a serious note, most people I meet always ask how they can get involved in volunteering and do something for charity.

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

Being inspirational, organised, supportive, trustworthy, energetic and self-motivated.

What’s the best piece of fundraising advice you’ve ever been given?

Not to forget to thank your donors – this is just as important as asking for money. It’s polite, ethical and good business. It’s also an effective way of making donors feel good about supporting your charity.

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