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60 seconds with a street fundraiser
We chat to Eric, one of our street fundraisers based here in London. From challenging preconceptions to the kindest thing he's seen on the street, this '60 seconds with' reveals all about what it's like to be a charity street fundraiser.
What made you apply for this role?
Prior to doing this I was trapped working insane hours and needed a change of pace, to have more time to reflect and be myself, and when I saw there was a job that allowed me, for a living, to talk to people all day! Something I love (too much if you ask some) I just had to try it. It was never something I’d considered but since my first day on the street I was hooked
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a fundraising team leader I always read up on Concern's current projects before checking where I ‘m supposed to go and heading there! Once at site I set up the team; getting a feel for the day, keeping sprits high and discussing with them projects of ours that I think will be inspiring! We work for a morning session before I must try to find a place for us to eat (usually Pret) and then we work about four more sessions with another 30min break halfway through that. During the time I do a mix of keeping the guys motivated and in a good mood whilst I myself jumping on the street in the bib and fundraising when I can!
What is your favourite thing about the job?
There are actually two things, on the surface it’s not being sat down all day, but most of all being able to experience the sunlight in summer! In my last job I barely saw it. But on a more personal level, what’s really solidified my love for this job, is being able to work for an organisation that is saving lives. It’s really empowering and keeps me going through the most challenging of days.
You’re on your feet a lot - what do you do to relax at the end of the day?
My favourite thing to do after a long day for me, is just to sit down and draw. It’s an amazing way for me to unwind and keep my mind active, whilst making something that lasts! It’s something I think more people should get into. When I am more motivated however I like to use my evenings to try and improve my skills in foreign languages, If I want to help on the ground one day it would be useful to speak more than just English!
You must see all sorts on the job – what is the kindest thing you’ve seen happen in the street whilst working as a fundraiser?
Due to it being such a large issue these days you unfortunately do see a lot of homelessness on the streets of London, but what is great to see is members of the public taking time out of their busy days to sit with, buy a coffee for and help those in need especially in the winter. My favourite example of this was when I saw a group of teenagers which had gone to a local store, requested all the stock that was heavily reduced and were walking though the streets handing out sandwiches and drinks to homeless people.
What are people’s general reaction to you when you approach them?
Honestly it varies upon where you work, different crowds and different demographics but the one thing that is consistent is that most people are very polite and courteous, even if they don’t have the time to stop. Its not uncommon to be thanked for the work I am doing or find people who give to so many charities including this one, it really does make the days so much better.
Are there any preconceptions of street fundraisers that you’d like to challenge?
Yeah, that we’re disconnected and separated from the organisations we are representing and are just doing what we must for our pay. Most of us are incredibly passionate, and know a great deal about the groups we’re working for, many staying with the industry not because it’s a stopgap but because the feeling of working towards something greater is genuinely amazing
Do you have any tips or tricks that you would say to anyone hoping to become a street fundraiser?
If you hope to become a street fundraiser, I think the best quality to work on is your skill communicating, not just verbally but also nonverbal, learn to talk with your hands and be big! But a thing that’s important to remember in this advice is that you still need to be yourself, you will not be selling someone a product! Rather connecting with them and telling them about a group you resonate with so keep it personal and have fun!
If you could do another job for a day, what would it be?
As much as I do love being outdoors sometimes in mid-winter a day in an office working at a computer does sounds quite appealing! But I think given my time in this industry it would have to be something humanitarian still, to keep me motivated and connected! The dream position would be helping develop the solutions used in the field myself.
What do you think makes Concern a special charity to work for?
I feel like an integral part of the organisation; with constant opportunities to interact with and ask questions of members of the charity that have been in the field and worked in the countries I am talking about every day. It’s so important because I can see what we are achieving and thus the value in my work.
If you could sum up Concern Worldwide in three words, what would they be?
(As a Charity)
Compassionate, Intelligent, Effective
(As a workplace)
Engaging, Fun, Comradery
Do you have a message for our supporters?
Thank you so much, thank you for taking the time out of one of your days to stop and talk with myself or one of my colleagues and then supporting us, we couldn’t be reaching the poorest people in the world without your generous support. And its because I know there are people like you out there that I keep doing my job!
Thank you so much Eric!
If you see Eric on the street, give him a wave or stop to chat, we're sure he'd love it!