What is the best thing about your role?
I am very lucky that I am inspired by those I meet with regularly who have benefited from the money they have been given by the RAF Benevolent Fund. This allows me to pass on this inspiration to those who fundraise for us. Working with my inspirational fundraisers and seeing the pride and satisfaction when they complete 100 marathons or abseil off the Forth Road Bridge gives me a sense of real fulfilment and makes working a real pleasure.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The area I cover is large: I even have a fundraising team in the Orkneys. It’s thus a huge challenge to make sure I give the best quality service to my fundraisers and volunteers in the field. I am so inspired by the variety of events that I want to be as supportive as possible. My partner has even been forced to dress up as the fund’s mascot, Ben Elephant, so we can spend time together, because weekends are fully packed during the busy summer season.
What is your charity’s main income stream? What are the positive aspects of that and what are some of the challenges?
The main income is from our RAF family and supporters, whether through legacy, gifts or fundraising. Our biggest problem is that the number of those in need of support is growing at a time when income from serving RAF personnel is declining. During times of conflict the public remembers the RAF, but during peacetime it can be difficult for the public to remember those who served in Ireland, the Falklands and other conflicts.
What qualities do you believe are important for a good fundraiser?
A perfect fundraiser needs to have a passion for the charity they work for because this will inspire those around them. They need to be quick thinking to come up with new ideas and develop existing ones. They need to be a great team leader who can get the job done and will stay cheerful and focused when wet through and faced with a gazebo about to fly away in high winds (can you can tell I work in Scotland?). The most important aspect is being resilient, however many times you are knocked back or an event doesn’t quite go to plan. Of course, it helps to have friends who will dress up as Ben Elephant.