Meet Linda Trew
Back in 1999 I decided that my new year’s resolution for the new millennium would be to do more for charity. With a background in childcare (education and fostering), as well as sales and IT development in the travel industry, I had no real idea what that meant. I started off by signing up to do a trek across the Andes to Machu Picchu, raising funds for Scope. Little did I know that this trek would change the course of my life.
Following fundraising for the trek, radio and newspaper interviews, presentations and fundraising events, I got the bug. I continued to be a volunteer fundraiser for a number of years, raising thousands before getting my first role with The Children’s Society, an organisation that was close to my heart, combining my faith and passion for children. But starting as a volunteer fundraiser grounded me; it provided the perfect foundation. I will never forget how tough I found it and the challenges I faced.
Skip forward 21 years and I have had the pleasure of working for local, national and international charities in all aspects of fundraising, independently and also leading teams and managing multi-million-pound budgets. I also continue to volunteer, being a trustee on a couple of boards.
In 2009 I was one of the first cohort to graduate from Cass Business School, City, University of London, with a post graduate diploma in charity fundraising and marketing, rubber-stamping my experience with academic learning and a qualification. The course fired up a passion for marketing and comms, taking me down another route, so closely linked with fundraising.
This proved super helpful and exciting as I helped an organisation through their merger and rebrand, led on a national emergency appeal across all media platforms, right down to writing the humble appeal letter or supporter magazine. Helping charities to develop their brand, establish their position and create a compelling case for support is so rewarding.
Whenever I do a fundraising review for organisations now I always consider the supporter: what is their motivation for supporting you? How are you communicating with them? How are you keeping them engaged? By understanding why people support, we can design our fundraising activity around this and the result is a more engaged supporter base that will become lifelong givers.
I have seen significant growth in returns on investment achieved by being supporter led. Often though, when we have worked in an organisation for a while, we become stuck in a rut and can’t see the opportunities. I love it when I visit a team and we work through their fundraising plans and tease out the opportunities that they hadn’t previously seen. Teams become excited, re-energised and thrilled as the results start to come in.
As much as I loved leading teams (I have had the best!), I enjoy my role as a consultant even more because it gives me the opportunity to work with so many more organisations and help to have an even bigger impact. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing fundraising and marketing being more successful and enabling the charity to better deliver their services for their beneficiaries.
Now that really is a blessing!