As a charity, Demelza spends a lot of its time raising funds, and as a charity chief executive I spend a lot of my time involved in fundraising. I love it; it’s honourable, fun and amazingly worthwhile work.
In some ways our fundraising is very sophisticated – we have a turnover of £10m after all, the majority of which comes from fundraising of one kind or another. We know the profit ratios of our charity shops, we organise amazing events as expertly as any private company etc. But when it comes down to it, raising funds is still the simple thing it always was – nice people making it possible for us to do really, really nice things that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Literally making the world a better place.
Whether those nice people are individuals who press the ‘donate’ button at the top of this webpage, or include us at the bottom of their Wills, or donate furniture to our shops, or organise a summer garden party, or the nice people in companies who get their companies to sponsor us, the act of giving or raising money for charity is a wonderful and civilised human thing to be celebrated.
In a world where the bleakness can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, the fact that Demelza exists purely by virtue of thousands of people’s individual acts of niceness, is a bit of an antidote. It is for me anyway, and it certainly is for the children with life-limiting conditions and their families who rely on us. They rely on the generosity of those thousands of people.
Fundraising is getting harder however. It has picked up a bit of a tarnished reputation, with some poor fundraising practices in some charities quite rightly receiving press attention, and of course with the difficult economic climate putting pressure on people’s purses. It is getting harder for Demelza. Our incredible fundraisers, most of whom are volunteers, are having to work harder and harder. But harder and harder they work.
I’m doing the Brighton marathon in a few weeks. I’ll be rubbish and I’ll cripple myself, but I’ll be so proud to be finishing with (or more likely, after) our team of volunteer fundraisers, some of whom are also part of our team running the Virgin Money London Marathon the following week. And those are just two of the hundreds and hundreds of things people do for us every year to ensure we’re still here the year after.
As Chief Executive of Demelza, I’m proud of charity. So I’m proud to be a fundraiser. And unashamed of it. So, errm, if you can, can you give us some money? If you do, I promise we’ll turn it into something very special – just have a read of some of the parent and young person stories on this website if you want to know the sort of thing. It’ll make you feel nice.