Being a Community Fundraising Officer is one of the best roles to have within a charity (although I am biased). Every day can bring a new challenge and a new task to add to the ‘to do’ list.
My role includes helping families and patients with fundraising through events they want to hold, such as quizzes and bake sales, or they might just want to place some collection tins for the charity. This is one of the parts I love the most because I get to hear everyone’s story and enable them to organise something great for a loved one affected by leukaemia.
I also try to get out into communities as much as possible. This includes talking to schools and community groups such as Scouts, Brownies and Rotary clubs.
It is my job to come up with different ideas in which our supporters can fundraise. This includes our eBay shop, recycling scheme, Goalden Gate lottery and regular giving schemes. This blog will give you a screenshot of how varied a typical week can be; there is always something going on!
Monday: School visit
One of my favourite parts of Community Fundraising is working with young people in schools. On Monday, I was off to Bolton Boys School to collect a cheque, as they had raised over £2,000.
It can sometimes be hard to see every school who has raised funds, especially as we are a national charity. However, I try and build relationships with schools who choose to donate to us. I have previously done assemblies to primary schools on stamps and how they can get involved with our recycling scheme, to speaking with sixth formers and helping them with their school ‘charity weeks’.
Bolton Boys School were so accommodating, and it is always nice to put a face to the name you have been chatting to throughout the fundraising. I even got a school lunch!
Tuesday: Sainsbury’s supermarket collection
We are lucky enough to be the Charity of the Year for the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Blackpole, Worcester, and on Tuesday we had a collection day there!
Collection days are pretty old school and are a staple in any fundraiser’s plan. Collection days aren’t always about raising large sums of money, but also about raising awareness of who we are and the support services we offer. We always try and encourage our Community Fundraisers to hold their own supermarket collections around the country.
After two days out and about, it is time for some grant applications. A part of raising funds is applying to trusts and foundations in order to gain funds for projects or services we offer.
For example, last year we received £25,000 form the Moondance Foundation, and this enabled us to promote our GP tool kit widely and help over 1,000 GPs recognise the symptoms of leukaemia sooner. This grant also enabled us to hire a GP toolkit officer, Nick York, who started with us in June 2017.
I apply for five grants a month and they can vary from £1,000 up to £20,000. The process can be painfully long! You can send a grant off to trustees and you may hear no response for 12 months. They have so many applications and usually only meet three times a year, some only once! So, you are in it for the long haul with grants, but the rewards can be huge, as shown by the Moondance Foundation.
Thursday: Support group cooking class
As a charity, we provide support groups around the country. This week, our Worcester Haematology Support Group went to a cooking class specialising in the neutropenic diet. This is a diet for people with weakened immune systems and is a great way for patients to look after themselves during treatment.
We recently secured a £1,000 grant from One Stop Carrier for Causes Foundation, and we wanted to use this to provide this service for our members. It is important as part of a Community Fundraising Officer’s role to understand the services we offer and to meet the people that use them. I really enjoy seeing what money from a grant has done for patients and how it can help them.
Friday: Catching up with our Community Fundraisers
A huge part of my role comes through our wonderful Community Fundraisers. This group of 50 people are individuals who raise money for Leukaemia Care on a regular basis. Some may hold a car boot every three or four months, some might do collections and table top sales for us all year round, or others have collection tins placed in their area and bank them for us.
It is my job to facilitate all their events (and others who want to hold an event on a one-off basis). This includes inspiring people with ideas for events that might suit them, and showing them how they can raise as much as they can. Most of these supporters have chosen to do an event in memory of, or in aid of, a family member or friend who has blood cancer.
Saturday: Christmas Lights Switch-on
There is no such thing as a day off in Community Fundraising! Collections and events are often held on weekends and we do try to attend local events in Worcester or provide a representative volunteer in other areas.
This weekend, we had a Christmas Lights Switch-on in Sutton Coldfield. The Nutt family do this every year and myself and my colleague Clare attended the event. It is always good for Leukaemia Care to be able show that we like to get involved with our fundraising and talk to people that might have questions about who we are and what we do. The event has previously raised £2,000 and is a great original Christmas idea.
Thanks for reading!
Community Fundraising Officer
If you would like to join Sara’s team of Community Fundraisers, simply drop her an email at email@example.com, or give her a call on 01905 755 977.