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A year in fundraising

Posted on: 19.01.11 (Last edited) 19 January 2011

Carolyn Causton offers her own perspective on fundraising for conservation.

I’ve worked in fundraising before – but for higher education. I am a nature lover and I’ve worked in conservation before, but as a volunteer on a nature reserve. So imagine what a wonderful opportunity it was for me to combine my marketing, communications and fundraising skills with my passion, conservation.

I joined Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in February 2010, taking a maternity cover post for the Major Donor Manager. By strange coincidence Liz (who has been with FFI for seven years) and I worked together in the past, but I was assured by my interviewers that it was my presentation that won me the job. Before meeting the folks at FFI I researched the organisation and was very impressed and inspired. That most certainly influenced my performance at interview and I had no trouble talking about how I could contribute.

One of the first things I did was join FFI as a member. With very little cross-over time before Liz left, I was thrown in at the deep end (what other end is there?) I quickly became involved in producing reports for donors, getting to grips with the database and in planning for a major event – our spring Conservation Circle dinner with guest speaker, Stephen Fry. A man as charming in person as you may imagine. And he spoke with real feeling about the rhino relocation project and his own interest in conservation.

But it wasn’t all about meeting millionaires, celebrities and royalty. There was plenty of groundwork to do, and I enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labours. From researching potential individuals to approach to working with existing donors, there’s always plenty of paperwork to go with the fun stuff. What really engaged me about the job was the learning. Every report I wrote I learned more about the work of FFI. I was privileged to meet and work with the individuals who had hands-on influence in making change happen. In meeting donors, I met a cadre of individuals who, no matter what their background, all shared this common passion for conservation and the work of FFI.

From celebrities to bankers, from my next-door-neighbour (a retired Canon) to donors in far flung places, I was given a wonderful opportunity to engage with people who love and support what we do here at FFI.

In other words, fundraising isn’t just about putting out your hand and asking for money. It’s about understanding people, listening to what they want and making sure you are on the same wavelength, and if you aren’t, finding the right person who is. For me it’s about believing in what you are doing.

I have had a fabulous year at FFI where I have met some incredible people and developed my own knowledge far beyond my expectations. I have discovered new interests and learned new skills. But most importantly of all, I have discovered FFI and the amazing work that the committed people both within and external to the organisation do around the world.

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Carolyn Causton

Carolyn is a professional marketer and fundraiser with a personal passion for conservation, wildlife and birdwatching. She is also a musician and writer.

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Carolyn Causton
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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International USA Inc is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Delaware with federal tax identification number 81-3967095. 501(c)(3) status for Fauna & Flora International USA Inc currently is pending IRS approval.
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act