Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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Working in the voluntary sector

5.1 Learning from the fundraising process

As you heard earlier, when Anna was talking about the organ fundraising project, the people involved often learn a lot from the process. In the next activity, you will hear Patrina Law reflecting on her experiences as a fundraising volunteer.

Activity 7 Reflecting on the fundraising process

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

In this video, Patrina Law reflects on the process of getting involved with the restoration of a village hall.

Write notes on the following questions:

  1. Why did Patrina get involved with fundraising?
  2. What did she learn from the process?
Download this video clip.Video player: volb2_week5_patrina_video5-640x360.mp4
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My name is Patrina Law, and I volunteer for Waddesdon Hall, which is a registered charity for a Grade II listed building in Buckinghamshire. I started volunteering about eight years ago for the Hall because I was using the hall as a dance teacher, and I was told by the committee that the hall was considering its exit strategy.
And it’s absolutely beautiful, and it’s the only hall for the community in that area. And it’s beautiful, it’s one of the last dance halls left in the county, and in fact, there’s not many dance halls left in the UK, they often get carpeted and things.
So I was just really shocked that it was going to be disbanded, and it’s a charity, and it’s a beautiful building.
So I got myself on to the committee and got other people involved in the committee and other people involved as volunteers. And over a period of years, have raised enough money to do a large number – sorry, a small number of large building projects to completely turn the hall around, change its renting strategy, and get it back into profit again and functioning as a true and beautiful village hall that’s used for the whole community.
So for me, I fell into volunteering, I didn’t consider that I’d stood up one day and decided to do some volunteering. I felt that there was a cause there and I needed to get involved, and I did. And it became a very satisfying endeavour.
I was surprised at how many of my work skills I could use in this voluntary way, especially when it came to raising funds, because filling-in grant application forms is a very onerous process. And you’ve got to stay very patient and you’ve got to be thick skinned enough to take the knock backs when you don’t get the grant that you were hoping for.
When you do get the grant you were hoping for and you see the project be fulfilled, it is immensely satisfying. and then the knock-on effects of that are that the hall thrives. And once you’ve had one grant, you have more confidence about you to apply for others. And also I think volunteering is satisfying because you can infect other people with the bug of how satisfying it is.
You can get more people involved. And in doing so, it makes your life easier as a volunteer, because you’ll become surrounded by like-minded individuals. And I think for the case of Waddesdon Hall, it was simply that, whilst it was a beautiful building that was falling into disrepair, no one in the community knew it was even a registered charity. No one knew it was going to be shut down. And I think communicating to people around in the environment that you’re going to lose this amazing asset if we don’t all get together was a real incentive.
So now I feel satisfied, I can take a step back and I can listen to other people on the committee who are far wiser than me and have far more experience than me, and take a leaf out of their book, and I’m learning from them now that it’s standing on its own two feet.
End transcript
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  1. Patrina didn’t set out to volunteer or fundraise – she got involved because she used the hall as a dance teacher and wanted to help save the building.
  2. Patrina says that her work skills came in useful, and she learned to be patient when filling out forms and thick-skinned when they had knock-backs. She says that she and the committee grew in confidence in applying for more grants after one success.

    Patrina learned to involve more people and to communicate with the local community about the threat to the building. She also says that she is still learning from others on the committee. Overall, their fundraising has been a success because they have saved the building, restored it and enabled it to function profitably.


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