The fundraising sector has experienced its fair share of knocks in recent years. From the negative media headlines and the fines for poor practice to challenging rule changes, it has not been an easy time for those working as fundraisers.
But fundraising remains the lifeblood of the charity sector; without it many charities simply could not exist. It therefore needs to attract highly skilled people, people with clear ideas about how to negotiate a way through the changing fundraising landscape and who are able to adapt to the digital age.
That's why Third Sector this year launched Fundraisers: The New Generation, a programme to identify the best the up-and-coming talent in the sector and the potential leaders of tomorrow.
Entrants nominated themselves and could be of any age, but had to have worked in fundraising for fewer than three years. They were asked a range of questions, from what led them to become fundraisers and what they considered to be their proudest moments to their views on how fundraising should evolve in the next few years.
Their answers were judged by our panel of four experts, who came to Third Sector's office in April to decide from among the 47 entries who should make the inaugural list.
Ten people from a wide variety of charity causes and a diverse range of fundraising roles made the cut this year. We're really pleased with those chosen and expect them to go on to great things, so well done to all.
Jes Bailey, Founder, Crowdfund 360
Crowdfunding isn't yet a mainstream way for charities to raise funds, but Bailey is keen to make it so. She's been a fundraiser for one and a half years and went into fundraising to tackle inequality.
"I wanted charities never to be held back by a lack of money from helping the world's most vulnerable populations," she said on her entry form.
Bailey believes crowdfunding is one of the best ways for charities to diversify their fundraising streams and help the sector recover public trust, and says the proudest moment of her career so far was seeing training she helped provide lead to 37 charities raising a collective total of £107,000.
After that, she decided to set up her own crowdfunding training business, Crowdfund 360, which she says is the only one of its kind. "Crowdfunding is project-specific, so people know where their money is going and they receive updates," she said.
Bailey says she would like to see individual fundraising revolutionised through technology and wants to see a diversity of funding streams become a reality for charities.
What the judges said Claire Gates, head of individual giving at Help for Heroes, said: "Jes displayed a great entrepreneurial and altruistic spirit. She is giving those charities an opportunity to fundraise and engage in a meaningful way, while getting hundreds of projects funded and delivered."
Claire Stone, Business development manager, Stroke Association
Stone spent five years working in the corporate sector but never felt truly motivated by her work. "I was always thinking 'why does this matter?', she said on her entry form. "I had always been heavily involved in charity initiatives, and when I learned about corporate fundraising I instantly knew it was for me."
Since joining Stroke Association two years ago, she has worked to improve the perception of corporate fundraising within the organisation. Over the past year, she has also helped to raise £350,000, which included winning a year long-term strategic partnership with Well Pharmacy. The pharmacy chain was so convinced of the potential of the partnership that it scrapped the employee vote stage of the process, Stone said in her entry.
Stone wants to be leader in fundraising in the future and is keen to help others to develop. To this end, she is currently mentoring two other fundraisers. In terms of Stone's hopes for the sector, she says she wants fundraising to stand up for itself better. "I would love to see the sector and everybody in it be braver and less apologetic about the amazing things that we are all doing," she said on her entry form.
What the judges said Ian MacQuillin, director of the think tank Rogare, said: "Claire brings dynamism to her role and seems to have the ability and power to sway and convince others. She also wants to be a leader in fundraising. Let's hope she succeeds."
Emma Smith, Direct marketing officer, Cats Protection
Smith moved into fundraising two years ago because she wanted to work in a fast-paced, diverse environment. "I certainly found this in the fundraising industry," she said on her entry form.
Her successes at the animal welfare charity Cats Protection include creating the emails that helped to raise an additional £17,000 for its Christmas appeal, and an email campaign opposing the breeding of kittens in poor conditions and selling them for profit. Her email helped to secure an additional 2,000 signatures for the campaign, which ultimately proved successful when the government pledged to take action.
She has also worked on individual giving programmes to help boost the number of regular givers. In five years' time, she says, she would like to have a portfolio of successful appeals and programmes under her belt.
Given the turbulent times, she would like to see the sector continue to adapt to the needs of its supporters. "Inevitably, new technologies and channels will emerge," she said on her entry form. "I am looking forward to finding new ways to engage with donors, enhance supporters' journeys and bring back trust to the sector through responsible fundraising."
What the judges said Gates said: "Not only did Emma provide evidence of her own direct impact, but she has clear ideas about how she hopes to harness innovation."
Chris Malla, Public fundraising officer, Arthritis Care
After graduating from university, Malla completed two internships, one at a charity and another at a record label. Much to his surprise, he found working for the charity more enjoyable.
Since joining Arthritis Care last year, he has helped the charity to beat fundraising targets and cut costs. He plays a considerable role in the charity's value-exchange campaign, which aims to secure contact details for new donors, helping to coordinate adverts on train lines, in lifestyle magazines and across a targeted audience online. The campaign exceeded its targets. He also helped Arthritis Care to grow its income from Gift Aid and found an untouched section of the charity's donor base.
His proudest moment in fundraising came when a mailing campaign by the charity in November exceeded its target within five weeks. Malla says he would like to see the sector showing more pride in its work. "I feel that pride in the sector has plummeted since the summer of 2015 and this has a negative impact on everyone who works in the sector," he said on his entry form. He believes that being open and proud about its work is vital to building public trust.
What the judges said Gates said: "Chris is a hugely enthusiastic fundraiser with a successful record in both recruitment and retention. He has also seen the benefit of a concentrated effort to reduce costs and grow income through Gift Aid - both are vital and can often be overlooked. He also has an exceptional beard!"
Lyndsay Stecher, New business manager for trusts and foundations, Oxfam GB
Stecher became a fundraiser less than three years ago because she wanted to help those without a voice. "I fundraise for poverty reduction because I care deeply about its effects on real people," she said on her entry form. She views her fundraising role as both "a privilege and a big responsibility".
One proud moment that sticks in her memory is how she influenced a cold supporter to give their first discretionary humanitarian grant after she shared her stories of visiting Oxfam's drought response in Zimbabwe. Her coordination of a last-minute UK supporter visit to see Oxfam's work in Ethiopia also prompted a sceptical foundation to give a six-figure sum to an advocacy project.
Stecher has developed and led the implementation of a bespoke "funding pipeline" tool, now used by Oxfam's 30+ philanthropy & partnerships department for portfolio management, trend mapping and budgeting. She also supported her fundraising colleagues and other Oxfam affiliates to develop engaging proposals, particularly around new donor relationships. In five years' time, she'd like to be in a more strategic fundraising role. "I want to see collaborative partnerships based not only on funding, but also on sharing expertise and networks to address systemic problems," she said in her entry.
What the judges said Ashford said: Lyndsay displayed passion for the cause, her role and the sector. She has a clear vision of how her role fits within wider organisational aims."