Viewpoint: How Treloar tackled the opportunity of a lifetime

When the Treolar Trust became the Lord Mayor's charity of the year, activities included the largest ever game of pass-the-parcel.

Being chosen as the official charity of the Lord Mayor of the City of London's Appeal for 2005/06 was the most exciting episode in our 100-year history.

The pace and high-profile nature of the year was set by the televised Lord Mayor's Show last November. From then on, we were always operating in the fast lane, but quickly learned to live in the moment - dealing with current issues while mindful of the future.

We'd been gearing up for months in the hope of being chosen. Treloar Trust is a Hampshire-based charity that provides education and independence training for physically disabled students.

Time is money

Good organisation and planning are essential: the appeal is not the only item on the Lord Mayor's agenda. We learnt that, with high-profile fundraising, time is money and manpower resources are gold dust.

There are no written guidelines for the appeal. Each beneficiary charity must re-invent its own wheel, relying on the goodwill and advice of predecessors to help them hit the ground running.

Mayoral links opened doors to many new fundraising opportunities, plus media, government and decision-making contacts, which left a valuable legacy to build on. Managing expectations was a major factor. Many people wanted to stage events to support the Lord Mayor, but unfortunately we could not do them all.

We assessed events on creativity, difference, popularity, and costs versus likely income. We countered unexpected financial costs by setting net estimates, rather than gross ones, and we encouraged well-intentioned supporters with unprofitable ideas to consider different approaches. Being a small team, we considered which events could be staged by third parties .

We tried to give existing, proven events a new, mayoral 'spin'. We agreed budgets and, where possible, looked for sponsorship or gifts in kind, or both, including people's time and talent.

We set clear fundraising goals and maintained regular dialogue - but faster activity accentuated the need for us to document action points.

To maximise potential, we ramped up publicity of 'the need'.

We aimed to do a few things well. Even so, we ended up with 66 events, many organised by other people with our support.

So what did we achieve? Among other successes, thanks to the Lord Mayor we can now claim the world record for the largest publicly staged children's game of pass-the-parcel, and we met our appeal target of £4m, which is the modern equivalent of the £60,000 raised in 1906 by Lord Mayor Treloar when he founded the charity 100 years ago.

 

5 MORE THINGS ...

The Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1906/07, Sir William Purdie Treloar, set up a 'cripples fund' to build a hospital and school for children with non-pulmonary tuberculosis. It raised £60,000, the equivalent of £4m today, and the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripples' Hospital and College was established in Alton, Hampshire, in 1908.

Treloar School today is a non-maintained special school for physically disabled children from seven to 16. Treloar College of Further Education takes disabled students of 16 and over.

The Treloar Trust maintains strong links with the City. Every Lord Mayor becomes an ex officio trustee of Treloar Trust and visits the two sites.

This year the trust launched a three-year centenary appeal with a fundraising target of between £10m and £12m. Its main aims are to finance a new hall of residence, a students' common room and a new project called Moving On in the Community.

The Lord Mayor of London Appeal next year will be VSO, which expects to raise as much as possible to send professionals to share their skills in developing countries.

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