Our Team: Railway Children

Senior fundraiser Ian Watson takes us behind the scenes in the charity's fundraising department

How many fundraisers are there?

There are five, two of whom work part-time, and the charity has 12 UK-based staff in total. Our office is in Sandbach, Cheshire.

What do they do?

I cover individual and community fundraising, and we have a trusts and grants fundraiser, a corporate relations fundraiser and two events fundraisers. The fundraising budget is split more or less evenly across the four areas, although corporate relations bring in the most money. We don't receive any statutory funding.

How much do you raise?

Our financial year ends in May. In 2009/10, we expect to have raised £1.96m, and our target was £1.61m. We will have spent £500,000; our target spend was £470,000.

What's in the pipeline?

Over the next three years, we want to increase our supporter base from 4,000 to about 20,000. We piloted telephone fundraising last year and we will probably extend it this year, which will involve trialling cold recruitment over the phone. Personally, I don't like face-to-face fundraising, but I can see that it has its place. I think it's highly unlikely that we'd use it, but I wouldn't rule it out.

What's it like in the office?

All the staff are in the same room, except the chief executive. There's enormous variation: some days the phone is ringing off the hook and it's chaotic; but other times it's quieter.

Last year, when Tesco agreed to donate proceeds from the sale of Slumdog Millionaire DVDs to us, there was chaos in the fundraising team.

If something like that happened to Macmillan or Save the Children, there would be plenty of staff to deal with it. For us, it skewed everything towards that partnership.

Interview by Kaye Wiggins

More Fundraising at: thirdsector.co.uk/resources/goodpractice.

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