Third Sector’s Fundraiser of the Week: Caley Eldred of City Year UK

Our Director of Development Caley Eldred talks reputation, regulation and superpowers.

What is the best thing about your role? The amazing people that I get to work with at City Year UK. I have a fantastically close fundraising team who work hard, provide excellent support to our donors and methodically identify new potential partners and funders. Most importantly though we get on well and recognise each others strengths and weaknesses. The wider staff team are also a great bunch, people who are really passionate about the work we do. However the success of City Year all comes down to the amazing 18-25 years olds who give a year of their time as full-time volunteers. They work in schools in areas of high social deprivation and support children who are really struggling and are at risk of not achieving their potential. I never cease to be blown away by their energy and enthusiasm.     

What do you think is the biggest challenge for the sector in the year ahead? Yet again the sector faces another potential risk linked to reputation. The recent allegations of the abuse of volunteers and vulnerable people both overseas and now in the UK means that we must do everything we can to ensure our policy and practice protects the very people we are here to serve and that we can reassure donors of this.

Would you like to see more done to support fundraisers – if so, what? I would like regulation to work for fundraisers and not just be seen as a box we have to tick. We currently pay the levy but receive little benefit other than being able to publicly display this and provide some level of comfort to our donors. More should be done to improve the relationship between the regulator and the fundraising community.

If you work for a small charity, what particular fundraising challenges do they face? City Year UK is a small to medium charity on track to raise around £1.9m in 2018/19 from voluntary sources, alongside £1.2m from the contribution we ask schools to make in order to participate in our programme. We receive less than 1% of our voluntary income from government sources, but have the support of some long standing (corporate, trust and foundations) partners and major donors, many at quite significant levels. However we have not done enough to develop our new business pipeline and this is a particular focus for this year. Additionally as a young charity with young beneficiary groups we are not a classic legacy prospect nor do we have the natural profile for a large scale regular giving programme.

How important are corporate partnerships and what can they offer a charity? Our corporate partnerships form a key part of both our voluntary income but also our programme delivery. We are lucky enough to have been working with the likes of Credit Suisse (through their EMEA Foundation), TowerBrook and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for many years and more recently DHL Foundation. They all provide significant funding to support our work but alongside many of our other partners they also provide valuable support to our 18-25 year old volunteers. They provide their own staff as volunteers to mentor them over a ten month period; they offer skills workshops; they help to run our mock interview and CV advice days; they provide inspiring individuals to talk about their career path and encourage young people to consider their options for their futures.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I’m going to greedy and choose two! Precognition and healing. This would enable me to not only predict the future but also have the ability to heal the pain of serious illnesses. I’d be able to help eradicate some of the major issues affecting us globally, but it would also be extremely handy closer to home as a busy working mum who often forgets to stock up on plasters and paracetamol when I need them most!     

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