Charity Events Specialists Support Programme
The Clare Foundation launched “The Charity Events Specialists Support Programme” in May 2021 with the aim to help Buckinghamshire based event fundraisers to adapt to the challenges of fundraising in a post-Covid world.
As part of the programme, The Clare Foundation offered a small number of bursary funded places within The Charity Events Specialists exclusive membership group known as The Collective. Jane Curtis, Founder and CEO of the Charity Events Specialists, sponsored by The Clare Foundation, will provide 1:1 and group support to events fundraisers who apply for this programme. This is a pro bono service.
Sasha Wallen from Hearing Dogs has been a beneficiary and shares how the programme has helped her in her role at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Hear from a beneficiary of The Charity Events Specialists Support Programme
Our Head of Charity Operations, Helen Mee recently interviewed Sasha Wallen from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People to hear more about her experience on the programme.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Sasha Wallen and I work for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People as their ‘Community Fundraising and Event Support Officer’. I have worked for the charity for almost 4 years, most of which I was working within Welfare as a ‘Dog Welfare Officer’. This role was highly rewarding as I supported the health and wellbeing of our future little life changers and was able to gain an insight into the impact of the work we do as a charity. I began my role in the fundraising department in March 2021 (this year!) and this was completely new to me. My role is being funded by The Rank Foundation who run the ‘Time to shine programme’ which aims to enable individuals with the right skill, mix, talent and work ethic, the opportunity to experience a 12-month paid leadership and development placement in a charity.
Why did you apply to join the Charity Events Specialists Support Programme?
Throughout the year, I have been eager to seek all opportunities that would facilitate my own personal development as I knew this would have a direct benefit on my current role. I initially heard about The Collective and Charity Events Specialist Support Programme after attending an online workshop in May, run by Helen Mee, which was based around running events. After the workshop, I was quick to do my research on The Collective and felt that the opportunity The Collective provided in creating a community, connecting you with other like-minded individuals and running crucial training sessions would be invaluable to my own development.
Has being part of the programme met your expectations?
The programme has surpassed my expectations and it has been an invaluable resource throughout my year as I have navigated my way through the world of fundraising and events. With the current pandemic, the events world is ever changing and being adaptable has been paramount to success. The network created within The Collective Community has been so useful when I have needed advice and has allowed me to learn how other individuals have created an impact in unprecedented times.In addition to this, having access to training sessions (both live and on play back) has been another great outlet where I have been able to learn and then implement those skills into my role.
What has been the highlight of your membership of the Collective so far?
My highlight of being involved in the collective has been connecting with other like-minded event professionals throughout, whether this has been in the weekly catch ups or during discussions in training sessions. Connecting and sharing ideas has been energising and provided reassurance throughout which has not only helped my professional development, but also my personal development.
Has being part of the programme helped you grow in confidence or grow your network?
Being part of the programme has undoubtedly had a direct benefit on my confidence. This is because it has been a resource that has provided enthusiasm, encouragement and reassurance as well as providing me with knowledge and understanding on how to make an event as successful as it could be. The combination of the above has meant I feel much more confident in my role and my own ability. From attending the weekly meetings and training sessions, I have been able to connect with others and grow a strong network of people that I can reach out to if I have a question, query or even a worry. There are so many members in the collective that have different levels of experience and come from different backgrounds, and it has been great to absorb all their knowledge and learning and I think anyone that wants to develop, should consider becoming a part of The Collective. So yes, these two elements have been two huge areas which The Collective has helped me with!
Would you recommend The Clare Foundation’s Charity Events Specialists Support Programme to other events fundraisers?
Of course, The Clare Foundation’s Charity Events Specialists Support Programme has enabled me to have access to the invaluable resource that is The Collective. I am very grateful that Helen Mee provided me with the bursary funded place into The Collective and she has been so supportive throughout the year which has spurred me on to ensuring I make the most out of the resource.
The Collective itself has been an invaluable resource for me, and I would certainly recommend The Collective to anyone within the Events and Fundraising industry. This industry is ever changing, especially in the current world we are living in, and this resource has been the perfect outlet to understand what is working, what needs changing and how to approach those changes. The Collective has essentially been an amazing community full of support where every member is willing to help each other.
Without The Clare Foundation’s support programme, I wouldn’t have been able to have access to this and a lot of my personal and professional development this year can be attributed to being part of the exclusive group.
Have you been able to create a new fundraising event? If so, tell us about it…
One of my biggest roles this year has been project managing a new event for the charity which was launched this month. The event is called ‘Santa Paws: Festive Fun run’ and I was able to utilise all my learnings from The Collective and implement that into the development of the event. From the initial planning stages, we knew we wanted to create a hybrid event accessible to all, so we invested in the platform Give panel. This is a Facebook fundraising tool that enables easy stewarding and the effective creation of Virtual Events. We signed up to this in late September and very quickly launched our first pilot challenge ‘The Barking Bake Off’. We wanted to do this so we could test the platform, understand how to effectively utilise it, and then push all those learnings into Santa Paws. However, The Bake off was much more successful than we anticipated and so far, the total raised is over £13,000 which is absolutely incredible and given me that needed boost for Santa Paws…
What is Santa Paws: Festive Fun Run?
‘Santa Paws: Festive Fun Run’ is a hybrid event which aims to be inclusive and full of Christmas joy. It is primarily a fundraising event where participants are encouraged to get sponsored for their runs, with every penny raised helping deaf people leave loneliness behind and reconnect with life.
The event is two pronged, offering a physical event at our headquarters in Saunderton, Buckinghamshire as well as a virtual version which is accessible to all. The physical event is taking place on Sunday 28th November and participants can purchase their tickets online prior to the event.
Those attending are encouraged to dress up as Christmassy as possible and will receive a dog bandana and Santa hat when they arrive. They will then choose their route (1 mile loop or 400 metre loop) which they can walk, jog or run! The festivities don’t stop there because there will also be a bake sale to refuel those tired legs.
Our virtual Santa Paws, ‘The 12 Jogs of Christmas’, challenges participants to run, jog or walk 12 times in December – with or without their dog. The challenge is primarily being run on Facebook, but an alternate option is provided on our website for those that don’t utilise the social media platform. Providing this virtual alternative maximises accessibility and provides participants the chance to connect with others across the country that decide to take on the challenge. Once each participant raises £10, they will receive their dog bandana and Santa hat in the post which will hopefully energise them to reach their 12 jogs!
All participants involved in the hybrid event will have access to a fundraising pack, a tracker card to log their jogs and stewardship from us which will be full of encouragement. This event is all about being festive and fun, with the key focus on fundraising, which is why we have offered the incentive of a free Hearing Dog puppy sponsorship to anyone that raises over £100.
Our aim is that both events will create the same sense of community and achievement whilst connecting us all in the lead up to Christmas. In future, we hope to make this an annual event which we can grow nationally but for now, if you would like to find out more, please follow the links below: