Meet David Pond, the Individual Giving and Donor Care Manager at Keech Hospice Care, who discusses the purpose and practicalities of fundraising, with Charityworks trainee and colleague, Morven Lean. Keech provides a purpose-built facility in Luton but also cares for adults and children in a variety of other settings including patient homes, hospitals and schools.
Being made redundant from a financial services company (at 24) made me realise that I wanted to be doing something that fitted more with my values. So that’s why the third sector appealed to me. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get into charities, so you have to take the opportunities that present themselves. I had visions of working with a well-known charity (that was all I knew at first) but then this opportunity presented itself to work for a small organisation that had a role of interest to me.
In my current position, attention to detail is particularly important. My work involves detailed analysis; it’s all about looking at figures, trying to understand what it is they’re telling me, and using that information to show who is responding, who isn’t, and why that might be. Figures don’t really tend to present a visual picture, so you’ve got to be quite creative as well. What I like about direct marketing is that it’s a fusion of the two: an understanding of numbers and an understanding of the people you’re contacting. You can measure it, so you see things twig as you go along.
So for example with the Christmas appeal, we’ll have an idea of who our case for support is, what we can ask support for and what a difference that support can make. It’s important that when we write to our donors that there’s a voice there. Putting the voice of the beneficiaries at the centre of what we do carries much more weight than my voice as a hospice employee.
Even now, l make mistakes in my job. I liken doing a direct mail appeal to throwing a stone into a pond: it’s going to cause some ripples. You’re not looking to cause any upset but you are looking for a reaction of some sort, ideally that they are going to make a gift. But I appreciate that when some mail lands, it doesn’t always land at the opportune time. In light of the Stuart Etherington Report, with complaints from individuals receiving too much mail, we have to be really careful about who it is we’re contacting. You can’t just go down to the wards and speak to anyone, and quite rightly – they’re fairly protective about who you can speak to. As a fundraiser, I’m certainly not looking to exploit anybody, but what’s really important is for people to be able to tell their story. We want all our beneficiaries to feel that their voices are being heard.
Morven Lean is a Charityworks 2015 trainee working as a Clinical Systems Support Analyst at Keech Hospice Care.