Who are you?
After my degree, I moved to the UK, where I started working in the charity sector. I had never considered fundraising as a career, but I knew I wanted to be in the charity sector. I started as a Fundraising and Comms Assistant for a national charity and learnt on the job and stayed in the sector for sixteen years.
When I started working for Stonegrove, I’d already worked for a range of charities so when I met Gus I knew that in addition to an inspirational leader the charity had many of the right ingredients to make fundraising a success. I felt I could really help with the fundraising load and got straight to work during the lockdown.
‘Fundraising is all about teamwork and the biggest reward is not the money but what it translates to on the ground’.
What do you do?
I raise grants from charitable trusts and foundations which ultimately involves building relationships. There is a perception that trusts fundraising is all about the process but behind this there are people. With funding applications, you have to make the organisation stand out to the people who are going to give the funding and it is my job to facilitate this. In my role, you sit at two opposite ends of the table by placing yourself in the shoes of those giving the grants but also by being a passionate advocate for the project I’m raising funds for. The beauty of it is that in this process there is a coming together to achieve a common purpose.
What has been amazing at OneStonegrove is that it is a relatively young charity. It has a strong track record during Covid, strong local relationships with grassroots organisations, leadership and the capacity and the ability to listen to our local communities. This is a strength that funders can see and makes them more willing to give us money! The most frustrating part of what I do is finding new funding as this is inevitably limited, and competition has increased last year. Even with a great application, there are still too many.
This is why it is incredibly helpful when local residents and people who know us recommend us to organisations they have a connection with. It may be their company, local supermarket branch, local Freemasons Lodge, a Livery Company or a charitable trust.
Last year, a Stonegrove resident raised over £5,500 by getting their work involved in our fundraising. So please do get in touch if you have any ideas!
Why do you love what you do?
‘If I didn’t love what I do then I wouldn’t have done this for such a long time. When I raise quite large figures (occasionally in the six-figure sums!) I get to see how it makes a change. One grant can fund a whole piece of work, a project or a salary for months or up to 2-3 years. I get great satisfaction in knowing that a project can take place thanks to me. Fundraising is all about teamwork and the biggest reward is not the money but what it translates to on the ground’.