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Celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurial Day – An Interview with Charity Link Founder Carolyn Moore

By | Blog, The Charity Link Team

This week we celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), which is a movement established to bring awareness to the 250 million girls living in poverty globally, while inspiring and empowering the 4 billion women on the planet.

WED aims to celebrate and support women in business across the world, working to enable women and girls to be active participants in the economy. By igniting a network of women leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs, communities can drive economic expansion and elevate women financially so their communities and countries prosper.

Without doubt, female contribution builds a blueprint to alleviate and eradicate poverty.

charity link founder women's entrepreneurial day

What better opportunity then, than to grab a cuppa and get to know our very own Charity Link female entrepreneur and founder, Carolyn Moore.

In this insightful interview, we learn how Carolyn came to co-start what’s now one of the largest charity fundraising agencies in the UK.

Diving into the core of her working ethos, we explore the benchmark values that Carolyn introduced that remain a strong part of the Charity Link culture to this day.

Carolyn, what inspired you to start Charity Link?

The truth of the matter is that Charity Link wasn’t a part of my initial plan at all!

I came from a background in PR, having worked my way up from a receptionist job in London to eventually being offered a directorship at a PR agency.

But despite my achievements, the whole ethos of the working environments I was in just didn’t sit well with me. Having witnessed negative treatment from the top including staff, clients and even myself, I just knew I wanted something different.

“Being ethical was paramount to me. I felt strongly that this business should reflect upon my own values – showing kindness, being respectful and having a family-like team of equals.”

When I was 29, I lost my husband after a long battle with illness. This was definitely the lowest point of my life and I spent a couple of years really struggling to come to terms with the trauma I had been through. During that time, I just felt I had no real direction or sense of purpose, until two friends persuaded me to partner with them to begin a business. And so, a little reluctantly (!), Charity Link was born.

At the beginning we had very little experience and no real idea of what we were doing! We had a space above my parent’s double garage and my dad (a retired pharmacist) did the books, whilst my mum would bake flapjacks for us!

I was aware of other companies building businesses through regular donations and I could see a lot of pushy salesmanship going on, which I didn’t like. I knew I wanted Charity Link to do things another way.

Being ethical was paramount to me. I felt strongly that this business should reflect upon my own values – showing kindness, being respectful and having a family-like team of equals. The lessons my parents had taught me rang in my ears ‘Do it well, or don’t do it at all’.

Within 18 months, one of the business partners decided to leave to pursue another career. My remaining partner and I continued onwards. For 2 years we basically made nothing and debts were mounting as we grated and tried new avenues to make our business work.

Since both business partners had been ex-military, our focus became the M.O.D, visiting with special security clearance armed forces to try to get our break.

As we grew and evolved, we began to venture into animal based causes (a personal passion of mine which I was delighted to think I could contribute to). Of course, once we had a positive reputation, it became easier to attract and forge relationships with new clients.

It’s always been important for me to build good mutual working relationships with our customers, which feels healthy and feeds the soul for everyone. I have found that if we can’t work in this balanced way, nobody’s going to get the best results.

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career? 

That I can’t do everything myself and that it’s okay to delegate!

I really struggled with these things at the beginning and it was a real learning curve to realise teamwork is what ultimately gets things done.

I also wish I’d brought in a stronger senior management team earlier, because basically that would have been so much easier for me and everyone else too!

Has being a female entrepreneur been a barrier or an asset in building your business?

I don’t even really think about the fact that I’m female when I’m doing business and can’t say I have personally ever seen it as an issue.

However when I look back, I remember times when, in meetings with my male business partner, I would notice people address him before me. In those instances I’d be quietly bemused and would step in to make it clear that I was an equal stakeholder and that nothing is happening without my buy in.

In terms of my role as a female leader, it’s definitely the case that I feel a strong nurturing and maternal instinct. I guess that’s shaped the way I’ve related to people in the business. Since I tend to view the company as being like a family, I’m going to say being female has been an asset, because for many years (before the senior management team took over the day to day operations), I’d feel like the ‘mother figure’ of our unit.

I’d also say that I’m very empathetic, which is typically perhaps a female trait. I think this is a bit of a double edged sword, because although you need empathy to work alongside charities, it’s not so great when having to make black and white business decisions.

What are you most proud of when you think about Charity Link?

Without doubt the people.

I am absolutely proudest of our fundraisers. They have the hardest job of all and I never forget that.

Back in the days when I did that job myself, I remember it just being so difficult to keep my morale high. We often stood out in the snow or pouring rain and we stayed away from our families in many a horrible B&B back then (even with the odd cockroach!). Of course we’d never let our fundraisers do that now!

a lady fundraiser is talking to a lady donor and smilingWhat I’m saying is that I totally ‘get it’. Day in day out, trying to sign members of the public up when sometimes it seems like all you get is rejection, means digging really deep for motivation. It’s one of the most challenging yet most highly rewarding jobs. I know our fundraisers love knowing that they are truly making a difference.

That’s why at Charity Link we always say passion is one of our three key core values – you absolutely need in spades that to do this job!

But, you know, whilst I’m saying all this, I’m also so proud of the senior management team too!

To drive a business through a pandemic with no experience is a phenomenal feat… Our CEO Graham, HR Director Miranda and IT & Venues Director Layla are just fantastic at what they do.

I’m also so proud of the culture in Charity Link. It’s become a reflection of the things I believe in and hold dear: Respect. Empathy. Kindness. I love people helping people and I’m a sucker for animals!

You know, the business is the people. We could do a load of things cheaper, but I want to go above and beyond. I want us to be the business we deserve.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting up a career as a fundraiser?

Leave your ego at the door. Be 100% teachable. Be prepared to work hard and remember there are no short cuts! Nothing comes free in this life.

How do you want people to feel when they work for Charity Link?

Happy. Contented. Valued. Respected. Listened to. I want them to feel that they earn well for the effort and work they’ve contributed. But above all, I want them to feel appreciated. Because they truly are.

If you could nominate someone in the business for an award, what award would you give and why?

This is a tricky one for me because I have stepped back from the day to day operations so I’m sad to say I don’t know everybody as well as I used to. I honestly could name so many that I do know though!

One name sticks out to me (although I really don’t want to just name one person!) and that’s Hannah our HR manager. I remember the day she started and she was in such a different place. It was as if she was in a chrysalis and we have just watched her burst out into a butterfly. So the award would be ‘Biggest Transformation’ – and it would go to Hannah.

But there many others and I really don’t like picking just one!

What are three words that define you as a person?

Kind. Honest. Ethical.

What is guaranteed to bring you joy?

Without hesitation, my 9 year old daughter – I just love being with her! I also love our two dogs (who are also like children frankly!) and time spent in the great outdoors. The simple life is what brings me joy.

Sending thanks to Carolyn for such a wonderful insight into the history of Charity Link. There’s no doubt that the origins absolutely underpins the company we are today.

If you’re interested in a career as a fundraiser with our excellent team, we’d love to hear from you! We are always on the lookout for passionate, professional and ethical people!

Feel free to send your CV to recruitment@charitylink.net

Alternatively, if you’re a charity and are interested in learning more about the work we do, please reach out to us at newclients@charitylink.net

 

Energy…boosted!

By | Blog, Uncategorised

It’s fair to say that January isn’t the easiest month for fundraising – potential supporters are still weary from festivities and are head down trying to balance out the December over-spend. Luckily we’re experts at engaging with people and keeping our energy levels up, even at the most challenging time of year.

This month we’re riding high on an extra ‘energy boost’ as 3 of our clients have made the YouGov Charity Index ‘Buzz Rankings’ Top Ten for 2019.

62 Charity brands have been ranked by asking people if they have heard of the brand and whether their feeling towards the brand was positive or negative. Scores are calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative responses from the percentage of positive responses for each brand.

In our training we employ many tried and tested methods of keeping our energy levels up and our positivity going in order to drive success for our charity partners. It’s great to know it’s working.

Well done to all those that made the Top Ten – nothing speaks louder than results.

Multicoloured Christmas Lights at top with a light blue background

How the UK really feels at Christmas

By | Blog

You know it’s nearly Christmas when the lights go on in Regent street (5.00pm today, just in case you wanted to know). The festive season has officially begun, slowly but steadily – there’s already a faint whiff of steel bands and mince pies in the air. Christmas is definitely coming.

Whatever your view of the official start of Christmas…we appreciate November is a step too far for some. It’s impossible to argue with the facts, late November and December are hands down the peak times for charitable giving in the UK.

So despite the franticness of the season and the long list of jobs to get through, our minds are definitely more focused on the causes we feel passionate about at this time of year.

So it’s true what they say, Christmas is a time for giving (I know, sorry). The UK is one of the top charitable giving nations, yes there is room to do more, but it’s clear that charitable giving is at the very heart of the British DNA.  As fundraisers we meet this every day but at this time of year there’s a wonderful swell of interest for our Charity partners and we happily capture the mood and chance to share in even more enjoyable conversations with potential donors.

If you are thinking about regularly supporting a charity, what better time to do it than at Christmas time?  Look out for us across the country at the very best seasonal events, including the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, at Olympia and The Country Living Christmas Fairs, in Harrogate and Glasgow. We might even be sporting a bit of tinsel (or is that just me).

multiple hands one on top of the other from people in business uniforms

Thank you team!

By | Blog, The Charity Link Team


It’s the start of a new season (don’t we know it by the rain storms) and it’s also the first official week of fundraising for our newest charity partner. Hooray!

It still makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. Even after 20 years, we still feel uniquely honoured by the trust that has been put in us to deliver.

In the whirlwind and adrenalin of it all it’s not easy to take the time to stop and think – to celebrate our successes as a business and the effort it’s taken to get here.

So, this week we are officially celebrating in the Charity Link office and thanking our people…

…for the months of hard work gearing up to this – from that very first conversation to the months of due diligence, planning, training and complex logistical operations that have followed (and continue). It’s been a slick process and coordinated effort across all our departments.

When the first day of fundraising comes, we are ready – ready as ambassadors of our client’s brand and feeling pretty proud of our own.

Recognising this moment is what will help drive many more. Thank you team!

we are hiring logo with a speakerphone and speech bubble

Are you looking for a career change?

By | Blog

What’s at the top of your ‘dream job’ wish list?

A great salary, positive culture, a clear career path, work-life balance…this list could get pretty long!

Except there’s something rather important missing. It seems we’ve finally realised there is something even more crucial than the ‘perfect package.’ I’m talking about a seven letter word starting with P and ending in E. That’s right ‘PURPOSE’. Today, more people than ever are putting ‘purpose’ right at the top of their ‘dream job’ wish list.

I’ve certainly done some jobs that make me look back and think errrr why, and for what? Did I actually help create any kind of positive change here?! Except the need to update my CV…

I certainly don’t remember ‘purpose’ being banded around like it is today – as a catalyst for career change and a more exciting and fulfilling direction.

Many of our employees at Charity Link, just like me, enjoy working with the simple but clear purpose of raising much-needed funds for our charity partners – charities we feel passionate about. 

With purpose behind you – what you can achieve is really quite incredible, AND enjoyable.

Check out our career listings today.

a lady fundraiser is talking to a lady donor and smiling

Are you in it for the long-term?

By | Blog, Uncategorised

There’s no denying that life has become increasingly overloaded, instant and short term. ‘Digital overload’ is now recognised as a real ‘THING’. In reaction to this more and more people are limiting their screen use and even turning off their phones to escape the noise. Famously even Ed Sheeran has logged off.

Charities can’t just ‘go digital’ and hope for long-term success, not when their potential donors are otherwise digitally engaged. Thank goodness the art of conversation is not lost but becoming increasingly valued (again).

We give our Charity partners that hard-to-get air time and cut-through – personal, tailored conversations with potential donors, free-flowing dialogue with questions & answers. Thought-provoking conversations stick in the mind and create committed donors for the long-term.

And long-term is key – what Charities really need is a predictable income stream that enables them to deliver on their purpose year on year on year.

Research by the government in 2017 showed that 40% of donors donate via direct debit and that this raises an incredible £3.6 billion for charities.

So, these conversations are well worth having. Perhaps it’s time to look up from your screen and just have a chat.

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Passionate about fundraising

By | Blog, Uncategorised

In the fundraising business, passion means so much more than just boundless enthusiasm.

It’s passion for doing a difficult and important job, supporting charity partners to raise much-needed funds. It’s about results, professionally and ethically achieved.

Except that these days everyone is ‘passionate’ about everything and the more a word is said, the more it loses it’s meaning – you can achieve anything with a bit of passion, right?

Not really. You won’t get anywhere without it, that’s certainly true – but when it comes to being a professional fundraiser, turning that passion into results? Is not so simple.

It’s a job that, let’s be honest, most of us would be hopeless at, so we asked our fundraisers – what really drives their passion to be professional fundraisers?

Passion for People

“I’m meeting new people every day, so I never get bored. I really enjoy talking to potential donors about charities that really make a difference”.

Passion for success

“My ultimate goal to is find and recruit committed donors for our charity partners, I thrive on that feeling of success. It just feels good”.

Passion for our charity partners

“I’m a professional fundraiser but I can’t do that well without being a true brand ambassador. I work in close partnership with our charity partners because I need to be able to educate and inform potential donors”.

Passion to persevere

“You need to have a lot energy and self-belief but that’s made easier because of the amazing charities we support – especially when the going gets tough. I really believe in the cause, so it just can’t help but come across.”

 Passion for doing things right

“There’s only one way to do things properly and that’s to the highest ethical and professional standards, every time. Working for a business that priorities that gives me confidence and a sense of pride”.

‘Passionate about fundraising’ has been our strapline for over 20 years, and it’s still right at the core of who we are.

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Hello May! We’re ready for you

By | Blog

What’s not to love about May? We can almost call it summer, can’t we?!

Ok, so that’s debatable BUT warm (ish) sunshine signifies only one thing at Charity Link – that show fever is here!

Our famous and flourishing British show season really starts to get into full swing in May and our venue bookings and logistics teams are maxed-out guaranteeing our charity partners an audience at some of the biggest shows of the summer season. There is buzz in the air and we like it!

Charity Link has been part of this well-loved and energetic season for years, booking space for our Charity partners months in advance guarantees unrivalled exposure for their cause. There is no better time for our fundraisers to talk to potential donors – the atmosphere is relaxed and visitors have both the time and the headspace to engage in educational and enjoyable conversation.

Our results prove that private-site fundraising is one of the best ways to recruit long-term committed donors for our charities. So, while there may be some sore feet come the end of the year,  sharing our passion for some of the UK’s best-loved charities with the warm and generous UK public makes it all worthwhile.

So whether it’s Grand Designs Live or The Great British Sewing Bee Live, maybe we’ll see you there! Enjoy.

lottery balls numbers 5 4 7 2 and 8 differing sizes and colours

lottery fundraising

By | Blog

Lottery fundraising is just one of the ways we help drive our charity partners’ big goals.

As with all our face to face fundraising – we represent our charity partners to the highest possible standard. Our clients put their trust in us because nothing comes before ethics, values and compliance – that’s the Charity Link way. You can be assured, we’ll protect your brand – like it’s our own.

If you’d like to know more about how we support our clients with their Lottery fundraising objectives – please get in touch today.