21 Nov 2016

Interview with: AiDS Orphan

 Aids Orphan

Ahead of World AIDS Day on 1st December 2016, we spoke with Anna Clarke, Challenge Event Coordinator, at UK-based charity AiDS Orphan. The charity supports children affected by the AIDS crisis in Africa. We wanted to find out more about the charity’s aims and the role fundraising plays in their vital work.

Can you tell us about AiDS Orphan?

We were set up in 2009 when our founder, Ian Govendir, visited Nairobi (the country where we do the majority of our work) and realised that child AIDS victims weren’t receiving the attention they need and deserve. We aim to give a voice to children in the AIDS crisis, supporting and providing for children and infants who have been infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

What’s been your most successful fundraising event to date and why?

The very first challenge event we ran – a Kilimanjaro climb – was our most successful so far – we raised an amazing £65,000 with a fantastic group from Kings College, London. It worked so well because we were catching the wave of challenge events kicking off, and the group got really involved in fundraising.

Have you noticed any new trends in fundraising in recent years?

Young people are getting more involved than in previous generations – Raising and Giving events at universities are becoming much bigger and becoming almost non-profit organisations themselves. It’s clear that student fundraising is on the rise, and it’s a really positive trend.

What are your current campaigns?

We focus on trust-fundraising and the majority of our unrestricted funds (donations that can be used for any of the charity’s work) come from challenge events – like marathons and cycle events. We’ve tripled funds raised in this area over the past three years and we’re working hard to continue to grow this.

What changes have you seen in recent years in the fundraising sector?

The charity sector at the moment is experiencing a very turbulent time – it’s more difficult than ever to engage people in the fundraising sector. The notion of more typically economically-developed countries helping poorer African countries is also one which is surrounded by ethical issues, which we now see being voiced more than ever before. In order to attract fundraisers, we focus on challenges and experiences, offering people the chance to gain something positive while they’re giving back.

What impact has BT MyDonate had on AiDS Orphan as a charity?

BT My Donate has been crucial in our growth over the past 2 1/2years. It has allowed us to fundraise for our challenge events offering a free platform that doesn't take commission - an important consideration for us as a small charity. It's provided a platform for over 100 fundraisers and an easy way for their friends and family to donate.

What role does public fundraising play in AiDS Orphan’s work?

Public fundraising is absolutely essential to our work at AiDS Orphan’s – it means that we have unrestricted funding which we can put towards any of the charity’s work, which can be quite varied. Being able to operate in this way allows us to continue as a charity, carrying on enabling access to life saving treatment, education, medical support and counselling for those affected by AIDS.

Do you have any fundraising tips you’d like to share?

When you’re fundraising, it’s all about being personable – go to people to let them know you’re raising money, rather than waiting them to come to you. It’s a much better way to spread awareness of the great thing you’re doing!

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