Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility. Today we hear from the charity side of our campaign.
Meet Leonor Stjepic of Raft
Leonor is the CEO of Raft, which finds new ways of treating the injured. It’s a charity that thinks big, exceeding its £2m fundraising target by £600K in the space of six months.
What is Raft?
“A niche internal medical research charity – one that strives to punch above its weight focusing on rebuilding lives after major trauma.”
Would you prefer help or straight forward donations? If help, what kind of help?
“Naturally money is always helpful, and allows an organization this size the opportunity to achieve more through exploration of a number of opportunities we want to deliver upon which currently we may not be able to. In addition, harnessing knowledge and skills such as trustees and volunteers. “Never judge a book by its cover” – many a person has expert skill-sets that would be beneficial to organizations such as RAFT.”
How important are volunteers?
“Volunteers are important both for the charity and for the volunteer themselves. The volunteer-charity relationship is a special relationship which needs to be respected by both sides in order for both parties to achieve their philanthropic aims. Our volunteers to date have brought a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and drive which has been a pleasure to work with and brings new life to all those involved. However, as a small charity, we are often overshadowed by the larger charities that can publicly promote their cause. We, however, being more specialized and a niche organization are known more specifically in smaller circles within the charity sector and by word of mouth. Therefore, volunteers are not so aware of us unless they hear of us elsewhere.”
What sort of work are volunteers doing?
“They have in the past worked on more technical matters as compared to administrative roles.”
Do you offer training or would you prefer people come in with that skill-set?
“Naturally, we would prefer people to have an understanding especially when the work they are involved in is specialized, but within other areas, volunteers would be treated as an employee and would naturally receive training. Volunteers, even if not a paid member of staff, are part of the RAFT family and a team member.”
How long do volunteers tend to stay with you?
“To date, the terms of engagement varies, but one volunteer has been with us for 18 months to date. Others had varied depending on their home-work responsibilities.”
What sort of people are you looking for?
“People who naturally have an interest in the organization and cause – this assists their understanding and embedding into the organization and team. We would welcome all volunteers but those who have the motivation and strive to make a difference are always welcome!”
Do you have any advice for people thinking of volunteering on how to choose a charity or what to do?
“Becoming a volunteer is similar to personal relationships in life. Some are like comfortable and well-loved coats that feel warm, protective and comforting and then there are others where the coats isn’t quite right. Volunteering needs to meet the individual’s needs and they need to find a cause and then a charity that meets their personal needs and drivers. Its very personal and different for each.”
Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!