My week: Neil Jones

The Make-A-Wish Foundation chief executive deals with meetings, balls and budgets.

Neil Jones
Neil Jones

Monday: I start every week with such good intentions and seem to end it by not accomplishing all I had set out to achieve. But this week is going to be different. It kicks off with a review of the weekend's Hilton Foundation Ball, organised by the charitable trust for Hilton International and LivingWell, and held this year for the benefit of Make-A-Wish. It was great to see 750 people enjoying themselves, although it was even better to witness their generosity - so far, this year's ball has raised more than £100,000.

Tuesday: In June we celebrated our 21st anniversary. Since we started, we have granted more than 4,500 wishes. We have got a year of special activities to mark the event and focus everyone's minds on the 20,000 children fighting life-threatening illnesses in the UK. We talk today about how to get another burst of media activity before the turn of the year. As ever, the trick is not to be overwhelmed by the statistics and to focus on the difference we can make.

Wednesday: More meetings, more balls. I meet Leslie Rose from our Christmas Ball committee. Leslie is a patron of Make-A-Wish and his committee has raised £3.5m over 15 years. This money has sometimes been the difference between us continuing or not. It's another shining example of how many charities wouldn't exist without the commitment of unpaid supporters. Leslie assures me this year's ball, on 24 November, will be the best yet.

Thursday: I'm off to Athens for a three-day conference. Make-A-Wish now exists in 30 countries - although each of us is independent, we are linked by a name and a passionate belief in our cause. The flight gives me a chance to catch up on the budgeting process for 2008. I reward myself by reading through the 12 wishes we granted last week. I worry what my fellow passengers will think of a grown man reduced to tears by his paperwork and try to look as though the in-flight film has cause me to well up - difficult, given that it's The Simpsons Movie.

Friday: As I talk to colleagues from all over the globe, I'm ashamed to say I'm surprised at how inspirational the work of some of our smaller organisations can be. They are less encumbered by regulation and legislation, and seem closer to the essence of what real charity work should be: passion and purpose changing the world for the better. I feel guilty about what I've failed to achieve this week and yet again make a mental note to do better next time.

- The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to young people with life-threatening illnesses.

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