Championing fundraising excellence in Scotland
Zoé Mobey spoke at the Institute of Fundraising’s Scottish Parliamentary Reception last night on how fundraising is more than the money we raise or the return on investment made. She summarises what she said here.
I’m a proud fundraiser and I was really honoured to be asked to speak at the Institute of Fundraising’s Scottish Parliamentary Reception last night to celebrate the excellent work and achievements of fundraisers in Scotland.
I love my job, because it’s how I get to make a difference. I may not be on the front-line saving lives, but I get immense satisfaction from knowing that the funds I raise changes lives for the better. The Institute of Fundraising has played a huge part in my professional development, helping me become the fundraiser I am today. It’s helped me gain qualifications, given me access to fundraising resources and kept me up to date with fundraising developments. I’ve been inspired by speakers at the Scottish Conferences and the IoF has helped connect me with fellow fundraisers to share ideas and best practice.
Currently, I’m Head of Funding & Evaluation at Edinburgh Leisure, an independent charity on a mission to help people lead more active, healthy lives. We run 30 sport and leisure venues and are committed to creating opportunities for everyone to get active and stay active. Our Active Communities Programme harnesses the power of physical activity and sport to improve the lives of around 10,000 people affected by health conditions, disabilities, inequalities and poverty each year.
In 2017, we launched our first public fundraiser, the Jump In Swim Challenge, a sponsored 5KM and 10KM swim during September. It raised a staggering £26,500 and I could not have been prouder when it went on to win ‘Best Use of Event or Community Fundraising Initiative’ at the Institute of Fundraising’s Scottish Fundraising awards in 2018.
For me great fundraising is more than the money we raise or the return on investment made – it’s a platform that allows us to achieve our charitable mission. This is the approach we took with the Jump In Swim Challenge, which enabled us to achieve a number of strategic priorities.
'Overwhelmed by the passionate support'
Edinburgh Leisure’s charitable purpose is often misunderstood. Whilst we are a well known name in Edinburgh, people wrongly assume that we are the council. For me a key objective of this fundraising event was to increase awareness of our charitable purpose and normalise charitable giving for Edinburgh Leisure. We were ready for potential objections and used every opportunity through our event materials to educate and reassure people about what we were doing and why we were uniquely qualified to do it. There were no negative challenges and I was overwhelmed by the passionate support from participants and the fantastic press and social media coverage received.
Holding a sponsored swim challenge was the perfect fundraiser for Edinburgh Leisure as it aligned so well with who we are and what we do. We run 10 swimming pools, receive over 1 million swim visits each year and teach over 8,500 children and adults to swim every single week. We aim to inspire more people to get and stay active, so the Jump In Swim Challenge was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the benefits of getting active through swimming. The event was designed to encourage people to swim more regularly throughout September, supporting them to form new healthy habits. I was encouraged to see participants increasing their physical activity through swimming and heartened to receive their feedback about the positive impact the challenge was having on their own health and wellbeing.
Lastly, this fundraising event enabled us to save an at-risk project. By raising £26,500, with an £8.91 return on investment, we had enough funding to continue the project for an additional year. This gave 508 pre-school children affected by poverty the chance to take part in free swimming lessons which made them safe around water, built their confidence and equipped them with a skill, that could potentially keep them active for life. It gave them the chance to enjoy a happy, healthy childhood.
Winning this award from the Institute of Fundraising is a massive endorsement for Edinburgh Leisure and our funding team. It gives our charitable purpose credibility. It provides recognition from the fundraising community that our work is seen as an example of fundraising excellence. But most of all, it celebrates how our great fundraising changed lives for the better.
Zoé Mobey is Head of Funding & Evaluation at Edinburgh Leisure. She has two decades fundraising experience under her belt and has been privileged to work across a range of disciplines for some amazing UK and Scottish Charities.