FUNDRAISING NEWS: Rural body seeks top fundraiser

The Countryside Alliance is to recruit its first director of fund-raising as it bids to increase its lobbying power.

The organisation, which has more than 100,000 individual members and about 300,000 trade members, including country pubs, is seeking to fill the post as it looks to make a major drive in fundraising activity.

The director will initially steer a team of five that will work across all areas of fundraising and events. The appointee will also be charged with expanding the team.

Jill Grieves, a spokeswoman at Countryside Alliance, said: "We want to be seen more as a political force, even though we're not a political party. We want the Government to consult us more on rural issues, as we are obviously a huge voice for people living in the countryside. To do this, our fundraising remit is going to have to expand."

The organisation is looking to broaden its area of influence.

In addition to traditional areas of interest, such as preparing for the proposed Bill to restrict hunting that is due next March, it wants to be involved in the debate on airport expansion.

"We need to raise money to say all these things and so getting a professional fundraiser is the first step in doing that. We need to pay for print material among other things," said Grieves. "The scale of the organisation is growing as we go forward. The alliance is becoming more corporate - we want to become slicker, more streamlined and more efficient."

The alliance, along with the Country Land & Business Association, the National Farmers' Union and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, is also involved in setting up a rural council. "We're trying to get interested bodies together to represent a good couple of million people dwelling in Britain's countryside," said Grieves.

The alliance is to invite more voluntary organisations to join the council. "There is no limit on the number of people joining us, as long as they care about the countryside," said Grieves.

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