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Five days under the wing

By Emma Gill, Somerset Wildlife Trust

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of spending five days on secondment with Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) – a bit of a change from my usual role as Head of Membership Support Services at Somerset Wildlife Trust.

The purpose of my visit has been to look at what the two very different local charities have in common, and how we can share ideas to help each other raise awareness and funds for our respective causes.  A lot has been crammed into five days, with a whistle stop tour of everything from databases to lotteries, PR to volunteering, events to Helipad, and even an excursion to the DAAT airbase at Exeter Airport.

Whilst there might not seem an obvious link between a Somerset conservation charity and DAAT, it is surprising how much we have in common. We both share the need to communicate and engage with supporters, have ambitious fundraising targets to meet in order to provide our services, and have to make every donated penny work hard to achieve as much as it can for a good cause.

It is reassuring to know that we also share the same challenges, with funding sources becoming fewer and far between, and many of them requiring match funding, meaning that charities need to raise a certain amount of money in order to claim from the funder.  It is a tough environment for charities out there, making it even more important for us to work together.  I’m convinced that spending time sharing ideas and experiences is a very effective way of doing this – I know that I am returning to my day job with information and ideas to help improve the way we do things, and I hope DAAT will feel that I have shared some useful knowledge with them too.

It has been a privilege to spend time in the company of DAAT’s passionate, enthusiastic and good humoured team, and I look forward to returning the compliment and inviting them to spend some time with me at Somerset Wildlife Trust in the not-too-distant future.

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