Third Sector Excellence Awards: Fundraising Team

The Fire Fighters Charity's fundraising team has hit some ambitious targets, and is anything but dull and stuffy.

The Fire Fighters Charity fundraising team
The Fire Fighters Charity fundraising team

For a team that worked together to achieve or exceed its target

Judging panel:
Dawn Austwick, chief executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Mike Barnes, director of marketing and business development, Direct Marketing Association
Eric Grounds, director of fundraising, Sue Ryder Care

British Red Cross
The Fire Fighters Charity
Mary’s Meals – Raffle and Rags Team 
South Yorkshire Community Foundation

Winner: The Fire Fighters Charity
The fundraising team at the Fire Fighters Charity was set a tough target of bringing in £7.5m this year. The organisation, which runs three therapy centres and helps 13,500 injured firefighters a year to recuperate, had rebranded and widened its beneficiary base. The target was hit and would have been surpassed had legacies not dropped by £1m.

The team, which consists of 10 full-time members of staff and nine part-timers, is divided into four departments: community fundraising, which raised £2.5m of the total; regular giving, which raised £3m; central fundraising, which raised £1.8m from trusts, legacies and large events such as global treks and marathons; and corporate fundraising, which raised £150,000. Each department had overall targets as well as individual targets. An income to expense ratio of 6:2 was set.

The team recruited 4,000 new donors last year to double its donor base and generate an extra £250,000 from this source.All projects are carried out using a five-staged approach: research, planning, communication, action, evaluation and review.

The charity’s website says it guarantees “to put the fun into fundraising”. Its largest fundraising event, National Car Wash Day, when people give donations at fire stations for having their cars cleaned, raised a record £370,000.
Measures are taken to motivate fundraisers, many of whom work either alone or in fire station offices. New employees have an induction programme to get a deeper understanding of the charity’s work, and fundraisers are encouraged to attend therapy sessions and activities at the organisation’s rehabilitation centres in Cumbria, Devon and West Sussex.
The charity runs employee awards to motivate staff, and fundraisers are urged to organise informal meetings with volunteers to share ideas. One of the judges, Dawn Austwick, said: “They are running a really complicated operation, but it comes across as coherent and consistent without being dull and stuffy. You get the feeling they have a good time.”

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