Meet Team IFC: Sarah Gray

Sarah GrayThis month’s Meet Team IFC introduces fundraising consultant, Sarah Gray. Speaking about Switzerland, Uganda and Australia, Sarah puts the international into International Fundraising Consultancy.

Role within IFC

I work as a Fundraising Consultant delivering some of IFC’s projects. I have a wide variety of clients, all of whom are united by their need to raise additional funds, often from new sources, for either capital projects or to support their revenue stream. My role is to make this happen as professionally and effectively as possible, meeting some fabulous people along the way.

Your career in a snapshot

Here goes: 10 years working in the City of London before moving to the not-for-profit sector with my first role being as Head of Marketing at the beautiful V&A. Then a move to the other side of the world where I became General Manager of Fundraising and Marketing for part of the Australian Red Cross. And then freelance fundraising consultancy and a Google search in July 2012 that led me to IFC…

What led you down this path?

Strange as it sounds, I have always wanted to help make a difference to the lives of people in challenging circumstances. I am one of those lucky people who gets to do what they really want in life, the only problem with that is that the path is likely to be a very long one as I don’t think I would ever retire.

Why IFC?

The great thing about being a consultant is the wide variety of people that you meet and the very different range of projects that you get involved in. The international aspect adds even more variety to this; part of my role takes me to Switzerland each month and I experience this firsthand through the wide range of people that attend First Friday in Geneva.

Tell us about a fundraising success?

To me, fundraising successes come in all forms and sizes. This morning I have just found out that a charity I work for has been successful in their application for a grant for £20k to fund a subsistence farming programme in Northern Uganda. The lady on the ground in Amolotar is called Agnes and runs a charity called Hope Development Initiative. I know that this will be a life changing grant for her and the people she works for and will alter the future of some of the families in her community.

What do you see as the biggest fundraising challenge facing charities?

I do think that one of the biggest challenges an organisation faces is to harness the power of volunteering. This applies at all levels, from the recruitment (and retention) of visionary Trustees to the management of everyday volunteers who make a charity what it really is.

Where would you like to see charitable fundraising be in the next 5 years?

It would be great to see a significant step change in the way and amount that some of the UK’s largest corporations give to charities. Corporate donations to UK charities are estimated at around £1.6 billion annually which, given that there are 4.9 million private sector businesses, employing an estimated 24.3 million people, with combined annual turnover of £3,300 billion is rather unimpressive! Companies have a much wider role to play in society and really do have the same fiscal, environmental and social responsibilities to the communities in which they operate as individuals do.

You’re voted in as the next Prime Minister, what’s the first thing you do?

Err, be extra careful about removing all microphones from me before mentioning the Queen. No seriously, I couldn’t and wouldn’t as I would want to rearrange the country’s finances in such a way that people like Agnes didn’t have to apply for grants to feed their community and that would most certainly bankrupt our country.

Tell us a fun and interesting fact about yourself

I have an Australian passport and love Australia. In my opinion it is the most beautiful country in the world with its vast areas of unspoiled coastline and its unchartered red centre. I like to feel that I know the country from different angles having walked over the harbour bridge, dived on the Great Barrier Reef and walked up Ayers Rock but I am very sure there is more left to explore.

But the most fun and interesting thing about me is that I have three great children but that is a whole different story…


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