FUNDRAISING NEWS: Age Concern seeks full-time head

Age Concern UK is to recruit a full-time head of fundraising for the first time in almost two years. The move is part of a bid to drive forward an ambitious strategy to double voluntary income by 2005.

For the past 18 months, Rachel Billsberry-Grass has filled the post of interim head of fundraising on a part-time basis after attempts to recruit a full-time head proved unsuccessful in 2000. She intends to continue to work for the charity as a freelance consultant after the fundraising chief is appointed.

In the past two years, Age Concern has overhauled its fundraising structure and hired around 20 new staff in an attempt to increase the effectiveness of the department. It will now plans to trial channels such as face-to-face fundraising, pilot a national raffle and launch an overseas challenge.

Ailsa Ogilvie, income generation director, said that the changes had moved the charity's fundraising forward in "leaps and bounds".

"To date our fundraising has been very traditional and not as virgorously geared to growing income as it should have been," said Ogilvie. "I think in the past we've focused too much on short-term measures to recruit cash donors using the same tried-and-tested methods.

"Now we're at a point where we must be bolder and commit more investment to really move our fundraising forward."

Ogilvie and Billsberry-Grass have also restructured staffing within the department, and increased team numbers by almost two-thirds.

"I feel that we're now ready for someone to come in and almost start with a clean slate," said Ogilvie. "The opportunities for growth are incredible and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do to improve."

New plans will also be put in place to work towards better co-ordination across all the entire Age Concern Federation, which is made up of 397 separate Age Concern operations.

Age Concern UK believes that it can provide valuable fundraising training to other federations and is creating two new posts within the department which will work with other operations such as Age Concern Scotland and Wales to identify new fundraising promotion opportunities and provide support and advisory programmes.

"The federation was only launched in 2000, but I think that we can play a big part in increasing communications and sharing knowledge," said Ogilvie.

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