We’re thrilled to share the next blog in our ‘Light on a Regional Fundraiser’ series, written by Sarah Carlson-Davies, Senior Philanthropy Officer at Soil Association.
Why did you decide to go into a career in arts fundraising?
I enjoy connecting people to a cause. I consider myself someone who has a myriad of interests and beliefs, I felt that fundraising would give me the opportunity to be a part of many different things to advance several different missions throughout my career. In my first 5 years in fundraising, I have helped raise money for education, arts, heritage and now the environmental sector which has given me a massive appreciation for all four dimensions of charitable work.
“I felt that fundraising would give me the opportunity to be a part of many different things, to advance several different missions throughout my career.”
What are you most proud of having achieved in your career?
I am most proud of the relationships I have made with donors and my colleagues alike. In every role I’ve had, I have developed true friendships. It has been an honour to work with donors who have such rich life experiences and passions—it is inspiring and I am proud to have been a small part in their connection to an organization that in some way is making the world a better place to be. I am also proud to make connections and friendships with those who are ‘doing’ in an organisation—those curators, teachers, artists, farmers…I am not a one of those ‘doing’ but I like to think I am helping the important work happen.
“It has been an honour to work with donors who have such rich life experiences and passion…and I am proud to have been a small part in their connection to an organisation that in some way is making the world a better place to be.”
Are there any special moments/ fun stories that you will always remember?
I was working to put together a very ritzy gala event when I was working in New York City. Many famous faces were there. I was the very glamorous ‘greeter’, checking people in and occasionally taking their coats. Such good people watching that night! I was working around the clock since around 7 am that morning and was STARVING so snuck bites of pizza underneath the check-in table all night!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
That it is OK not to know something! When I first started working I was terrified all the time—I thought I needed to know everything. I wish I had been a bit more relaxed and looked at my inexperience as a strength instead of a weakness.