Nicola Irvine, ellenor’s new Supporter Engagement Manager, first took a role with the Kent based charity – which provides hospice care and support to families facing life-limiting illnesses – just over thirteen years ago.
After five years with ellenor, two and a half with Teenage Cancer Trust, and another half a decade at Demelza, Nicola’s journey has now taken her full circle – and it’s been as much a personal story as it has a professional one.
Because as well as giving Nicola her first (and most recent) opportunity in fundraising, ellenor played a part even earlier in her life; providing care to Nicola’s uncle, and supporting her loved ones. So, as well as affording her opportunities to learn and to take on a wide range of tasks, her role also allows her, in essence, to give back to an organisation that’s close to her and family’s heart.
So what does being a Supporter Engagement Manager at ellenor mean, exactly?
"Asked to describe the role in a sentence, Nicola says “we guide people through their desire to support ellenor”. For her, supporter engagement is about taking people on a journey."
And a varied one, at that. Whether it’s providing support to the fundraising efforts of nearby schools, canvassing local rotary clubs to raise money for syringe drivers, or engaging with ellenor’s participants in the London Marathon, it’s all within Nicola’s remit.
“What we offer is a really personal connection. When you’re fundraising for ellenor, you’ll be having an actual conversation with somebody. Compare that with one of the big charities; where you could be raising thousands of pounds, yet never speak to anyone."
“We’re able to provide something a little different to that automated process… something with a more personal feel”.
Like Nicola, who works closely with ellenor’s marketing and communication teams, this familial approach to fundraising doesn’t operate in isolation – rather, it’s a natural extension of ellenor’s close, almost symbiotic relationship with the local communities.
“The impact of our work is very local. Whether it’s the people delivering care, or those funding it, there’s always someone on your doorstep who will have interacted with our service in some way. We work with so many homegrown, local heroes”.
"Yet last year was 2020, after all, and even the heroes struggled."
COVID-19 has taken a big toll. Scuppering each arm of the Supporter Engagement team’s three-pronged approach to fundraising – corporate, community, and events – the pandemic has also impacted ellenor’s ability to generate income from these usually reliable areas of fundraising.