At Work: Fundraising - Personal account - Kate Gare

Move Europe's business development director on the art of mountain climbing.

The best advice I've ever had

My current chief executive told me that fundraising is like climbing a mountain: it requires careful planning, ensuring you have the right tools for all eventualities, making sure you take small steady steps and knowing your end goal. Although you must never lose sight of this goal, you have to be prepared to deviate a little en route. This was great advice for me, not only in terms of fundraising, but also for climbing mountains.

The biggest challenge I've faced

Before I joined Move Europe, I was an account director at the CSR consultancy Cause & Effect. Making the transition to my current role was daunting because, apart from a couple of years in events at the Teenage Cancer Trust at the start of my career, my main fundraising and communications experience had been centred around developing corporate and charity partnerships.

Happily, I soon realised how many of the skills I'd gained in the private sector were were relevant and transferable to other fundraising and communication work.

My greatest hit

A couple of years ago, I volunteered with a very small grass-roots charity in Western Province, Kenya. It was doing fantastic work bringing clean water and sanitation to some of the most hard-to-reach villages and also supporting disabled people to become more independent through co-operatives. It felt great to be able to share my knowledge in a really useful and sustainable way.

My worst moment

I love to travel, and I remember arriving in the dead of night at a game park in Zambia and setting up camp with some friends. It was only in the morning that we found out we were blocking the main route the elephants used to get to a watering hole. We realised when we left our tents and found ourselves being chased by an elephant. Luckily, one of the guards came and saved us.

My top tip

Obviously, understanding your audience and effective relationship building are key in fundraising. However, it is also critical that you fully understand the work of your charity. My tip is to get out there and see your work in action and get to know some of the people your charity supports - it is only then that you can imbue your potential funders with that knowledge and passion. Funders need to see that you understand and believe in the work you do. If you don't, why should they support you?

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