1. Tell me a bit about your role at Evolve Housing + Support? When did it start and what are your main services?
I’m Head of Business Development which means that I manage the Communications and Fundraising for the charity. Evolve is a leading homelessness charity in London, providing housing and support to over 2,000 people each year. We believe in building on people’s strengths, aspirations and goals to help break the cycle of homelessness and help them move forward with their lives. We offer a programme of support tailored to meet people’s individual needs, including housing, employment and skills training, mentoring and counselling. We work with young parents and children at risk of exclusion to build the skills and resilience that can help prevent homelessness. We campaign to end street homelessness. We build affordable homes to help people move on to an independent life. Our mission is to help children, young people and adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness reach their potential and move on to live happy, independent lives, and end the cycle of homelessness. My role is to ensure that we are growing our awareness as London’s leading homelessness charity, and ensuring that we’re raising money that can be spent directly on supporting the vulnerable people in our services.
2. What was the main driver for taking on this role?
As a Croydon-girl, over the years I’ve seen street homelessness in the borough increase, and felt quite power less to make changes for these people. As a fundraiser, I am passionate about making sure that charities are able to raise the money that they need to support people in their care, and provide them with the help and empowerment they need to make changes for themselves. I was ready for a new challenge and having worked closely with communications teams during my fundraising career, I know the power that communications with communities and businesses can have to make these changes.
3. What gets you up in the morning?
A cup of tea!!! But seriously, managing my fantastic team here at Evolve, and working with people who are equally as passionate as me about ending homelessness and the cycle of it.
4. If you could change one thing about your first few years in business, what would it be?
My first job after university was in event organising, and although it was a fantastic experience, I wish I could have started working in the charity sector earlier in my career. I love what I’ve learnt about the positive changes people can have on people’s lives, and learning about the science and psychology of communications and fundraising.
5. What is your biggest achievement to date?
This role. I love developing my team to become amazing fundraisers, and helping to motivate and inspire them. We recently recruited one of the team to become our fundraising manager which makes me so excited for her career, and helps me know I’m making the right decisions for the charity and our direction.
6. What has been your biggest challenge?
Ending homelessness! It’s such an enormous, complex issue, and no one single charity, organisation or government has the answer. Every single individual effected by homelessness has their own individual journey, trauma and experience, that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. However, I do believe that by having a holistic approach to each individual and their needs means we can support every one of them to achieve their aspirations. It is also a huge challenge to raise the money that we need to be able to help homeless people achieve this. Homelessness is not a ‘sexy’ cause to give to, and yet it effects whole communities, not just individuals. By educating individuals and businesses on the causes of homelessness, I believe together we can change people’s lives and improve communities.
7. Lastly, which social media platform has helped you get the most customers to date and why?
Social media plays a massive part in spreading the word about the reasons for homelessness, and empowering individuals, communities and businesses to feel that they really can make a difference. For me as a fundraiser, twitter has been the most helpful in terms of engaging with people and reaching the widest audience.
Laura joined Evolve Housing + Support in 2017. She has more than 10 years’ experience of working in fundraising and communications for charities including Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, and Brain Research UK. As well as implementing fundraising strategies, Laura has worked on rebranding projects and websites to increase supporter engagement. Laura is from Croydon and through various volunteering roles in the area has worked with homeless people including rough sleepers since 2014. Laura is a keen runner and enjoys cooking.
I’ll be co-hosting the summer LinkedIn Local Croydon on July 24th with Laura and Evolve Housing + Support – you can join us by booking here
Missed the event? You can still donate and qualify for a complimentary headshot via this Just Giving page from London Photography:
This interview was conducted by Jennifer Corcoran, LinkedIn Consultant & Trainer, Founder and CEO of My Super Connector and Host of LinkedIn Local Croydon. Jennifer regularly writes and speaks on the topics of social media, personal branding, networking and being an introverted entrepreneur. If you need help with any of your profiles mail [email protected] You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @SuperConnector.