How I Came to be a Full-Time Fundraiser

Contributed by Nat Paterson – Fundraising Manager

Fundraising full time. Wow, it’s harder than you think!

But SO rewarding.

Here’s my story of how I came to be at the point I’m at today:

I’ve previously done small fundraisers; Race for Life, bake sales, asking for donations at events etc. for various charities. And I will continue to do these, however….

…. here I am, fundraising full time!

I’ve supported the Boldesti dogs for a while. Purely by chance in the beginning, because whilst skimming through Facebook as you do, I came across a picture on Janet’s Facebook of something that looked interesting! So I started seeing what else there was. I would bid on auction items, buy raffle tickets; send what I could when a desperate appeal had been made. I didn’t really look too far into what it was I was supporting, if I’m honest, I just knew that there were dogs that needed help and that money was needed. There would be happy updates of dogs that had been saved, and obviously I knew that Janet had adopted Romanian rescue dogs, as well as her Thai boy, so for me that was all great, as I was buying lovely presents for people from the auctions and all the money was going towards helping dogs in dire situations.

Yet I’m a full time mum with no income and I realised that this wasn’t sustainable. I was going to have to stop supporting due to financial constraints and that broke my heart.

So I got in touch with Janet, who is a very dear friend and also a previous employer, to see if I could help. As well as my years of working with animals, I also have an admin and bookkeeping background so I felt that it was a winning combination for helping out!

At first I simply offered to assist with the running of the auction over at For the Love Of Dogs Auctions, in any way the team felt was necessary. This included setting up a linked Instagram page and trying to increase their following.

I was added to the Happy Tails group and spent hours – and I mean hours – engrossed. Horrified, angry, upset, happy, disgusted, elated, heartbroken, and proud… you name it; I felt every emotion going whilst trawling through the group. It lit a fire within me and I vowed that day to do my absolute very best to help save these dogs.

Janet, following a trip out to Boldesti to help Mădălina with a spay clinic, decided to set up her own shelter at home so that she could foster and eventually rehome some of the dogs. This became Woodfield Dog Rescue, part of her charity The Woodfield Foundation. A more hard working, dedicated, passionate and caring human being you will struggle to find anywhere. I think it was this brave move that really inspired the rest of us to do more, try harder, and think outside the box.

To cut a long story short, we evolved and specialised the roles in our team, and the auction became my responsibility. I think we’ve got into a pretty good system now that works well and everyone knows what they’re doing. We all have different skill sets that really complement each other and I can honestly say I have never met a group of such passionate, dedicated, and KIND women.

I’ve discovered that not only do I really enjoy running the auctions, but also I’m actually pretty good at it! It ticks all the boxes for me on a selfish level: admin, creating attractive collages, selling and connecting with people.

But the very best bit?

When I get to empty the auction PayPal and transfer all the money across to pay for transport! And then when we get the live updates to say that all the dogs are on the “Happy Bus” as we call it, it is such a huge relief and a massive high.

To know that all our hard work has paid off. That we have saved lives. That these dogs have a chance. That they won’t just be discarded like rubbish and that they can go on to live full and happy lives.

When Janet asked me if I would like to help out with Woodfield Dog Rescue, of course I jumped at the chance!

How could I resist the opportunity to have a really good excuse to go up to my happy place and kiss those fluffy beauties???

She introduced me to Izzy, who is so lovely and has such great experience and ideas. We all have the same ideals and our little trio work really well together.

It’s so exciting being part of something from the ground up and I can’t wait to see where this journey we’re embarking upon together, takes us, and the dogs we’ll get to meet along the way.

One of the great things I’ve found about fundraising in this age of social media is that I can do everything I need to do during the day, from my phone, which allows me to still be the mummy that I need and want to be, for my gorgeous boys. Daniel is 2 and Oliver is 8 months, so as you can imagine, they’re hard work and it’s go!! go!! go!! all day, every day, which is wonderful and I absolutely adore being a stay at home mum. However it doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything other than them! But with everything being at my fingertips, I can quickly check in to see how my fundraisers are doing, and then catch up properly on the laptop once they’ve gone to bed and the bomb site of toys has been cleared away!

I’ve made some wonderful new friends in the short time I’ve been fundraising for the Boldesti dogs. Like minded, supportive, fabulous women. I’ve also discovered that the human race at times can be utterly despicable. But I truly believe that strong women like the ones I’ve met can and will change the world.

What I didn’t realise before I took all this on, and what I think a lot of our supporters don’t realise, is just HOW much effort is involved. There are a lot of separate pieces to the puzzle that collectively is called “rescue”. A lot happens behind the scenes that nobody really knows about. And it’s time consuming. And it’s heart breaking. And it’s tiring.

But my god is it worth it.