Stories What I've learned from a year of Community Fundraising! Lotti is one of our Community Fundraisers here at St Wilfrid’s Hospice. Lotti has worked for the fundraising team for a year and chose to share a bit more about what she does out in the community and about community fundraising in general! Tell me about Community Fundraising 'Where to start?! As cheesy as it sounds, one thing I can definitively say is that every day is different. One moment I can be speaking with someone planning a craft fair, and then I’ll be chatting about the finer points of stall holding with little kids that have set up a pop-up shop outside their house.' 'I can be talking to a chap organising a big Broadway review at the theatre, and then will speak to someone who is being sponsored to wear only shorts for an entire year!' 'I’ve also found myself in some quite strange scenarios, such as: modelling for a Charity Shop fashion show doing aerobics in a very heavy mascot costume going to get 500 toilet rolls the day before an event 'In fundraising you truly have to be prepared for literally anything to land on your desk!' 'As well as dealing with individuals, I also get quite involved with community groups in our catchment area. One of my favourite things to do is to go out to the local W.I. or Rotary Club (or any other group for that matter!) and give a talk on the amazing work the Hospice does. It’s such a great way to get out and meet people, and also it spreads the word about the Hospice to people who may not know about us. I’m actually already getting booked up for talks for 2019, so do get in touch if you’d like me to come and visit!' What do you love about the job? 'Part of being in such a people-focused role means that I get to build personal relationships with our fundraisers – I’m there to help THEM do something positive at what can be a very difficult time. For a lot of people, fundraising and ‘giving back’ to the Hospice is part of their bereavement journey.' 'Whilst this is a big responsibility, there are wonderful benefits. You get to share in the joy they feel when they make their donation as they know their hard work will go to benefit the Hospice, helping to support another patient or another bereaved family. It’s a very special thing to be a part of and it is definitely one of the things I love about being a community fundraiser.' What’s difficult about the Job? 'Like any job, fundraising does have its difficult points! The main one I find is that charitable giving is such a personal thing, and many people have loyalties to a particular charity based on their on life experiences.' 'When you work for a charity, you are in direct competition with not only local charities in the area, but also from all over the country and potentially from all over the world. We work closely with these charities a lot of the time but there's still only limited money. At St Wilfrid’s we are so lucky that we have a huge network of loyal supporters, but it can be really difficult when you’re trying to reach new people and expand into new areas. Apart from that though, it’s been fantastic fun and there’s so much to learn.' How did you become a community fundraiser? 'There isn’t really a set path when it comes to a career in fundraising and, true to this, my path to becoming a fundraiser was anything but direct! After uni I worked in insurance for a few years, but it really wasn’t the sort of thing I enjoyed. I left to go back to uni to become an A Level teacher, and after that I worked at a local not for profit company in Eastbourne.' 'The main thing that most of my previous jobs had in common is that they were very much centred around people and, because they were all so different, I managed to get experience in dealing with people from all different backgrounds. It gave me some good skills in basic things, such as good telephone manner, that still benefit me in my day to day at St Wilfrid’s.' What qualities do you need to become an excellent community fundraiser? 'I would say that you need to be good at building relationships. You meet lots of wonderful people every day, and it’s important that they trust you – as you are the main contact they have for the Hospice. Building relationships like this doesn’t happen overnight, so skills like listening and good communication are a must have.' 'A key thing to have is passion for your cause. Before I visited St Wilfrid’s for the first time, I had an idea of what it would be like – like a lot of people, I heard the word ‘Hospice’ and immediately imagined a scary place. Coming to St Wilfrid’s absolutely shattered my perceptions and what I imagined in my head was nowhere near what it was like in reality. I’d never really thought about end of life care before, but now I realise what an incredibly important service hospices provide and I genuinely want more people to know about it!' 'Another big thing to have is confidence, as I mentioned before, I often find myself speaking to a room full of people whilst I’m doing a presentation about the Hospice, or briefing a big group of volunteers before an event. Confidence does come with experience, but you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there!' If you’d like Lotti to come out to a group meeting then her know! Her email address is [email protected] and her direct dial is 01323 434280.