George worked for us for eight years as both a fundraiser and team leader. Hear what he has to say.
How long were you a fundraiser for?
I worked at UrbanLeaf in two spells, as a fundraiser and team leader from January 2008 – December 2012, and then as Regional Manager with my wife Hattie from September 2013 – September 2017.
What was the best part of the job?
I enjoyed so many aspects of working within these roles, but the best part of the job for me was just being able to feel really happy with what you were doing, and why you were doing it, at the beginning and end of each working day.
As a fundraiser, your focus would be on working well within a team of interesting and passionate colleagues, aiming to inspire members of the public to support incredible causes on a regular and long-term basis.
As a coach and manager, it was fantastic to help develop fundraisers and see them flourish and to create a positive environment for us to do our job to the best of our abilities!
What do you do now?
I have been a postman in Bristol for the past 18 months, a definite change from working in charity fundraising, but one which is positive for me with two young children and being able to work very close to home (I often deliver my own post!)
What vital skills did you learn during your time with UrbanLeaf?
I feel like I developed so many skills and learned so much from working for UrbanLeaf over such a decent amount of time.
I’ve always enjoyed talking, but the ability to feel confident talking to any member of the public from any possible background has stayed with me.
Also, developing important listening skills and empathy for other people’s situation, namely those of the people who we were seeking to raise money for, but also of the people we were asking for that support from.
How do you feel street fundraising helped you in your life or your career?
Working within a small, long-running company like UrbanLeaf enabled me to form close relationships with my work colleagues and feel like I was really provided with the opportunity to develop myself and learn from the range of experience and qualities within the office.
Street fundraising has definitely helped me in this respect, and I have benefited from working with many people that are now friends for life. Since the job requires a special mix of character and passion, as well as real resilience and empathy, it’s likely that a career within charity fundraising will involve meeting people that are truly inspirational.
Having the opportunity to be surrounded by people like this daily, with work friends but also people you are meeting for the first (and probably only!) time on the street, is unique to any workplace I’ve experienced before or since.
What would you say to someone considering trying street fundraising?
My main message to anyone considering street fundraising as a job would simply be to always be yourself, and to treat every person that you encounter as an individual.
Also, the work of the charities does so much of the talking for itself, but the key is in how that is conveyed to the person you talk to and your own unique ability to inspire them to support regularly.
When someone pledges a regular donation it should be a fantastic feeling for you and for them, and there is no greater feeling than experiencing that on a regular basis each day and week and on behalf of such great organisations!