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I Became a Fundraiser for a Local Charity: A Case Study

By: Lynne Conner - Updated: 16 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Katy Daniels recently left college where she studied marketing and promotions. “I really want to work for a charity or social enterprise.” Despite the demands of studying and holding down a part-time job Katy knew that she wanted to get involved in the local community by volunteering her time.

Local youth group

“I heard about a local youth group that was looking for volunteers so I went along to find out more.” When Katy heard that they were looking for a fundraiser she was initially hesitant. “After all, what did I know about fundraising? But then I thought well, all my marketing study has to pay off surely and I said that I would give it ago.”

Katy decided to apply her marketing and promotions skills to advertise the group to local businesses. She spent time with the organisers and the children to build up a picture of the aims and activities of the group. “It’s run for 12 – 16 year olds and does a valuable job of keeping these kids off the streets and perhaps drifting into vandalism or crime. It offers them games, activities and new challenges and offers a valuable service to them and to the community.”

Spreading the word

She targeted local businesses based near to the community centre where the group is held. She compiled a newsletter with brief articles about the activities and the aims of the group and circulated it to the businesses as well as to public organisations in the area such as the police and local authority. “I wanted to build awareness of our group so people would realise what an asset it was.”

It was then time to start organising events and Katy persuaded the organisers to run an open day. Representatives of local businesses were invited along to meet some of the children and see the kind of work that the group does. Katy asked about sponsorship for activities and obtained full kits for the 5 a Side football team, a television for the community centre and two laptops for the use of the youth group. The local garage offered to run practical mechanical courses and a local beauty salon also offered some taster training for members of the group.

“We were delighted with the results of the open day and our appeal to local businesses. It exceeded our expectations and gave us all renewed confidence that what we were doing was worthwhile.” Katy contacted local newspapers and got coverage of the sponsorship deals which benefited both the group and the local businesses. Katy was also able to use it as a case study on her college course and it helped her achieve a first-class pass.

The next step

“The sponsorship was great but I knew we could do more.” Katy then contacted the local authority and asked for help and advice on applying for grants. “There are so many grants available but they all have different conditions of eligibility and requirements. It’s a minefield.” Katy received some useful advice from an information officer and also contacted her local Council of Voluntary Organisations for further advice on grant applications. “The group was able to fund me to attend a training day on grant applications run by the local CVO and it was incredibly useful.” The group now has several applications in the pipeline and Katy is hopeful that they will be successful.

Since graduating Katy has found a job in the communications department of the local authority. “I think they were impressed by what I’d achieved for our group.” But working with the youth group has been more than just a stepping stone for Katy. “It is dear to my heart and I plan to continue as fundraiser for them for as long as I can be useful. There is so much more that we can achieve.”

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