I never intended to be a fundraiser. Coming from a part of Somerset where we never really had door-to-door visits - I didn’t realise that charities even did this until the day I saw an advert for a job with HOME. I was immediately intrigued; I wanted to find out what it was all about. And I’m so glad I did. That was seven years ago and there has been no looking back.
Coming from a background in hospitality, I knew little about fundraising. I knew how to look after a team of people and I’d managed restaurants locally, in Wales and Newcastle, but this was completely different.
The truth is that I wasn’t very good at fundraising when I first started, but I persevered and quickly got the hang of things. I worked on some incredible campaigns and learned so much about the fantastic work that charities do. I quickly realised how much I love meeting so many awesome people and talking to them about charities’ work.
I’ve worked on some amazing campaigns. I think the two that stand out for me most are a Marie Curie campaign – their nurses do such a great job – and a private fundraising event at the Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The job can be really tough and it probably sounds strange but one of the things I like most about fundraising is that it takes real grit and determination. You have to be someone that is prepared to go out there and beat the odds, no matter what the weather. People that need charities’ help don’t suddenly stop needing it when the weather turns.
I’ve waded out when the snow was up to my thighs, through flashfloods and on some of the most beautiful days too. You never know what you’re going to get when you fundraise or who will be behind each door. Every day is so different and you meet the most amazing people.
After starting with HOME, I was promoted faster than I ever dreamt I would be. Just a couple of months into the job I was leading a team and helping other fundraisers succeed. And over the years I’ve worked my way up to Deputy Manager here in Newcastle. I still fundraise – typically around three shifts a week – but I’m also responsible for recruiting and training up staff, and managing our performance on campaigns.
One of the best parts of my job is helping other fundraisers develop and succeed. The need to become experts in having real human conversations. This isn’t a case of talking at people – that will never work. They need to listen and really engage, and this can be one of the hardest things to teach.
What I really enjoy is identifying the specific areas where fundraisers need support. Some people need more confidence, while others need competition or recognition. It is fantastic to help someone that is struggling become a really successful fundraiser and often a team leader too.
It’s a tough job but it’s incredibly rewarding and the culture here makes it easy for fundraisers to progress if they have the right mentality and commitment to it. As for me, I love my job; that no two days are the same. One day I could be fundraising in the snow and the next I’ll be training up an up and coming fundraiser and helping them see and believe that they can really reach their full potential.