INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Fundraising is second nature when fighting for a cause I believe in

Laura Denton, assistant fundraiser at In Kind Direct

I think the fundraiser in me was born when I was 10 years old, and saw Newsround's appeal to help save giant pandas that faced extinction.

I subsequently set up 'The Panda Club'. We made and sold notebooks, hats, stickers and posters, organised a car boot sale and baked cakes to order for the people down our lane, raising £100 for the WWF, and (although little did I know it at the time) laying the foundations for my future career.

University proved to be good training too - working to a tight budget, unearthing obscure grants and awards that I could apply for, and learning how to pitch my request to the right person in the right way.

Some 15 years later, when searching for a job, I realised that I could be doing what I seem to have been doing all of my life - fundraising.

I work for In Kind Direct, a charity that convinces manufacturers to donate its surplus goods to us, so that we can re-distribute them to the voluntary and community sector for use in their charitable work. I never tire of telling people how many brand new things would have ended up in landfill sites had it not been for In Kind Direct's intervention.

Starting from scratch, learning the basics from the chief executive, Robin Boles, who is an experienced fundraiser, is a privilege and a challenge, but one that is immensely enjoyable when I know that the money I raise is going to such a good cause.

So when asked what it's like being a new fundraiser, although it's a far cry from 'The Panda Club,' I can still say, hand on heart, that I love working for a cause I believe in - finding out who has money to give - and doing my best to get my hands on it.

For more information on In Kind Direct, please telephone 020 7860 5930.

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