Fundraising News: Me and my charity

Brenda and Gordon Wilkinson have supported Tearfund's fair trade arm, Tearcraft, for 20 years. In September, they are publishing a book of recipes from countries where the charity operates.

Why did you choose Tearfund? We found out about the charity by helping a member of our church with sales of Tearcraft, which sells craft goods made by people in the world's poorest countries. On a study tour to Honduras last April, we saw how wisely the money is used by Tearfund's partner organisations. Each volunteer paid their own expenses, about £1,700.

How do you support Tearfund? First, by regular giving, because all charities need that kind of support. Also, we've taken on the positions of area volunteer co-ordinators, assisting several hundred Tearfund supporters in our part of south-east England. We supply Tearcraft goods to other supporters so they can run craft sales and increase awareness of Tearfund's work.

People often make donations to the charity through us - in 2004, we sent in almost £6,000. We give talks about Tearfund's work - based on our trips to Thailand and Honduras - and we write articles and give interviews.

At the moment, we're working on a fundraising cookery book, Recipes for Disaster. The book is our idea and will have an A-Z format, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. On each page there will be information about the country, details of a Tearfund development project and a recipe from that country.

We are planning an initial print run of 5,000 - at £7 a copy, we hope to raise £25,000-£30,000.

How much time do you give? We sold our science publishing business in April 2000, so although we have done some consultancy work during the past few years, we now see our main 'job' as working for Tearfund. It probably amounts to one full-time job between us.

Which other charities do you support? In addition to supporting our local church, we give to Shelter, ChildLine, Crisis, YWCA, our local hospice and environmental charities such as Friends of the Earth. We also run our own fund to help the Lao Song craft workers in Thailand.

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