Tributes paid as prominent fundraiser Danielle Atkinson dies aged 46

Atkinson, who died of as yet unknown causes, has been described by former colleagues as 'a brilliant fundraiser' and 'funny, feisty and fabulous'

Danielle Atkinson
Danielle Atkinson

Tributes have been paid to Danielle Atkinson, head of individual giving at Plan International UK, who died in the early hours of yesterday morning. 

Fundraisers and colleagues described Atkinson, who was 46, as “funny, feisty and fabulous”, “a brilliant fundraiser” and a “lovely person”.

Twitter users have been paying tribute to her using the hashtag #ThankYouDanielle.

Atkinson was admitted to intensive care on Tuesday last week and died at 2.30am yesterday, but her cause of death is not yet known.

Rose Caldwell, chief executive of Plan International UK, said: “We are extremely saddened at the passing of our beloved colleague and friend.

“Danielle had a long and successful career in fundraising and was hugely respected across the sector”.

She said Atkinson, who had been at the charity for three and a half years, “was known throughout the organisation for her wit, warmth and wonderful smile”, was passionate about helping others and was dedicated to her role overseeing Plan’s child sponsorship programme.

“She was so proud to work for Plan International UK and she will be terribly missed by us all,” Caldwell said.

“Our heartfelt thoughts go out to her family and friends at this difficult time."

Atkinson is survived by her parents, her brother and sister-in-law and her nieces.

She was a trustee of the Institute of Fundraising between July 2014 and July 2019. 

The IoF said that everyone connected with Atkinson “knew her to be kind, generous and wickedly funny”. 

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said: “Danielle was the best of people."

He added that she was a fantastic fundraiser and the “very best trustee you could imagine”. She was “thoughtful, supportive, always happy to volunteer to help on the most difficult bits of being a trustee”, said Lewis, “as well as huge fun”. 

Atkinson was previously assistant director for public fundraising at Breast Cancer Now and head of public fundraising at the Breast Cancer Campaign. 

She was also head of digital and individual giving at the children’s charity Merlin, and became head of Merlin Fundraising integration at Save the Children UK when the two charities merged in 2013. She had also worked at the British Red Cross

On Twitter, the charity digital consultants Kirsty Marrins, Madeline Sugden and Lisa Clavering launched #ThankYou Danielle to allow those who knew her to share memories of her. 

“We’d love her family to see how much she was loved in our #charity community,” Marrins said in a tweet. 

In her own tribute, Marrins said:

Atkinson’s former Merlin colleague Imogen Ward said:

Liz Tait, fundraising director at the Teenage Cancer Trust, who is also an IoF trustee, paid tribute to Atkinson.

Katie Hepworth, director of fundraising at the Education Support Partnership, said Atkinson’s influence extended far beyond the people she met in real life.

Kathryn Brooke, direct marketing manager at the Disasters Emergency Committee, tweeted:

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