EMPLOYEE PROFILE: Elisha Leachman, Fundraising Manager at Age UK Isle of Wight
Charities offer fantastic professional opportunities where you can earn a competitive wage whilst giving back to your community. We asked Elisha Leachman about her role with AGE UK Isle of Wight.
When did you join the team?
I joined in 2015. I actually transitioned from a retail manager. My previous experience in a target-driven and customer-service environment and my passion for achieving seemed like a good fit to join the fundraising team.
How have you progressed in the role?
In 2015 our aim was to double any cost spent. Now for every £1 of our fundraising spent, we make a return of £4.04. We used to have 4 annual events, now thanks to our fundraising team, we have over 10 each year either run by or for Age UK IW.
Have you changed since joining Age UK IW?
I have become more efficient in the way I work. When you know it’s a charities money you are spending, you are more motivated to do the best you can with it.
What are the challenges of fundraising?
It’s hard to stand apart from other worthy causes on the island. Getting the message out that we are an independent charity is tough, people assume we’re funded from the national AgeUK or their charity shops, but we aren’t. We have to raise every penny ourselves to meet the ever-growing demand on our services.
What are the best things about your job?
I love having the freedom to be creative and the satisfaction of achieving a goal and knowing that everything I do, ultimately, ends up helping our older islanders.
What does your working day look like?
I start planning events 3-9 months in advance. (I began working on Christmas events in August!) so I always have a to-do list. My day varies from bid writing, project planning, marketing, donor correspondence and appeals, to cheering on our amazing fundraisers at events.
What skills are needed to succeed in your role?
You need to be ambitious, confident and tenacious. Some skills you can learn, but if you don’t have the right attitude, you won’t survive. Excellent communication skills, budget- management, problem solving and adaptability are also essentials.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of joining a charity?
The charitable sector is ever changing you have to be able to evolve with it, whilst remaining passionate about what you do. In fact we are hoping to expand our fundraising team next year and will be accepting CVs from November, keep an eye out for our job ads or get in touch!