I’ve just joined Young Gloucestershire as the new Fundraiser at a time when fundraising and fundraisers are not enjoying the greatest publicity (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33490964). 

This will be a challenge for some charities; especially those who rely heavily on direct mail which tends to target older donors – the demographic that responds to letters in the post. 

Young Gloucestershire does not use these methods, nor does it recruit agency staff to collect direct debits on the streets which is also becoming more heavily regulated. 

While charities are receiving a hard time, quite rightly in some instances, it doesn’t take away that fact that charities are more important than ever, with Government funding being slashed for services across the UK.  More people are turning to charities than ever before and it is no different for Young Gloucestershire.  As you will see from our latest Annual Report (http://www.youngglos.org.uk/pdf/yg-ar-2015-web.pdf), more young people are using our Link drop-in centre, more young parents are joining our ViP parents while more young people are gaining qualifications and life-experiences through our Princes Trust and HITZ’s programmes. 

More and more young people from the County are being helped to help themselves into work, training or back into education. 

But charity programmes like ours do have a cost and the money has to be found so I have been given the dual responsibility of raising funds (cash!) to enable Young Gloucestershire to continue and expand existing programmes and, importantly, to fund new programmes and activities to help the young people we work with. 

So what is fundraising and what does a fundraiser do?  Wikipedia’s definition is as follows:- 

“Fundraising is the process of gathering voluntary contributions of money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies.”

This is not a bad effort and my job quite simply will involve asking for money from all the groups listed.  Simply put that is the job of the fundraiser – asking people for money.  Most of the “people” I will be asking are the Trusts & Foundations which are specifically set up to give away money to charitable causes.   There are over 10,000 charitable trusts and foundations in the UK distributing £2billion in grants annually so most of my time initially will involve researching these bodies to see if YG is eligible – do they fund projects for young people? – and then completing the relevant application forms by any deadlines they provide.   The back of our Annual Report list some of those trusts that have kindly supported YG in the past year and for whose support we are extremely grateful.      

In the past, I’ve had a variety of jobs in the County including working for a building society, a bank and a sports tour company but I wanted to make a difference and have been a fundraiser for 15 years.  Despite the negative press my profession is currently receiving, I’m proud to be a fundraiser and I’m really pleased to be joining Young Gloucestershire at this time. 

I’m from Gloucester and know that the City and County have many challenges to deal with especially with regards its Youth Work provision.   Young Gloucestershire alone will not be able to meet all of these problems but I intend to do my best to provide the vital funds needed to enable it to do the best that it can to support our disadvantaged youngsters who are facing their own challenges in their lives. 

The hardest part of facing any challenge is the first step and in my very short time with Young Gloucestershire, I have already had the privilege of meeting some of young people who are meeting that challenge head-on; taking that first step in bettering their lives whether this be through door of the Link, working through a 12-week programme or by meeting one of our mentors for the first time.  

If you would like to discuss how you can personally help these young people and more, then please do get in touch with me at karl.gwilliam@youngglos.org.uk