Dan Nelson, Community Fundraiser in North-East England, is looking ahead after a challenging year.
Gradually, restrictions are easing and we are looking forward to getting out more and meeting our supporters again. It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and community fundraising is no exception.
I’d been in post for one fun and successful year before the pandemic – the North East was buzzing with fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society!
We have four active voluntary fundraising groups and I’d built strong relationships with local businesses, with good leads for potential new partnerships.
Then COVID hit and it all stopped overnight. Community groups could not host their annual ball or ladies’ night, businesses were empty and the energies that drive Charity of the Year partnerships had to be used elsewhere.
We immediately began promoting our emergency appeal to all our partners and throughout our networks. As colleagues went on furlough, I was thanking and keeping in touch with more supporters than I normally would.
I started making an extra 50 calls a week to people involved in events like Cupcake Day.
Even now, I’m speaking to supporters I’d never have had contact with before – people taking on treks or asking about leaving a gift in their will.
I have had to adapt to working from home permanently and all that brings, including just not moving enough and making sure I go for walks to avoid back pain and Zoom fatigue.
I’ve had personal challenges, as everyone will have in one way or another. My two-year old daughter spent months at home with myself and my wife (who also has a very demanding full-time job) and became a regular feature on team meetings, including screaming for attention in the background!
But there are positives too. I have always felt very well supported by my colleagues and seeing each other in our homes has really bonded us together.
As our team has evolved, we’ve integrated what we do with Dementia Friends and dementia-friendly communities to form a new fundraising powerhouse – the Regional Engagement team.
The future’s looking brighter and I’m super proud to have lived through this remarkable period of history with Alzheimer’s Society.
We’re determined to raise the funds necessary to be there for people affected by dementia when they need us the most.
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