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What happened to loyalty?

1
I recently got made redundant from my job and I have to say it’s both a blessing and a curse.
I started my career in professional fundraising within the charity sector over a decade ago.
Fresh faced and eager to ‘make a difference’ I quickly realised that the corporate world wasn’t for me and embarked on discovering the wonderful and varied world of the third sector.

Working as a Community Fundraiser based at a local Hospice was at times incredibly uplifting but full on. There were long hours, evenings and weekends spent at events. All of

SelfishMother.com
2
which were in addition to my normal working hours, of course being a charity I never got paid any extra money for this and that was fine. I was doing it for the cause.

I knuckled down, rolled up my sleeves and worked bloody hard for the best part of my twenties. Raising money, organising events and championing the cause. The majority of my work involved managing amazing but sometimes difficult volunteers, these people who give up their precious time for free became my work colleagues, friends and mentors. Some of them were bereaved or affected by

SelfishMother.com
3
terminal illness so of course they naturally came with a host of emotional needs. We all know that charities simply couldn’t operate without these wonderful generous souls. That is a fact. However they couldn’t sustain and develop without paid professional fundraising staff either.

The long hours and lack of career progression took their toll. I saw friends move on to other charities or get promoted. As I crept into my thirties I got married but knew I’d be silly to leave as my plan was to try for a baby straight away. It was when I was on

SelfishMother.com
4
maternity leave with my first daughter that I experienced first hand the term ‘restructure’ and my role was at risk of redundancy. It was such a horrible time and my former Manager and good friend sacrificed herself for me. She was made redundant and left. It was a massive shock that it happened. I think I must have been naïve to not think that kind of harsh restructuring happened in the charity world. After all we’d gone above and beyond for the cause and been so loyal over the years.

Juggling full time work and a toddler was challenging

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5
especially with the stressful targets, reduced resources and extra hours expected. I become pregnant with my second daughter within months of returning to work, it was made apparent that I would find continuing in this role with two small children ‘very difficult’. I knew this was probably the case but I was a bit put out being told that.

Fast forward to present day and after eleven months working for another charity I have been subject to another ‘restructure’ -god I hate that word now, and as a result I was made redundant. I know this

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6
happens in every industry and it’s usually to save money blah blah blah. We’re told not to take it personally, it’s not you it’s us! So much of the charity sector calls for people to give-give their time, give their money, give their support yet what do we get in return for all this giving? Yes I have two children and I work 21 hours a week but I get paid for 21 hours. During the last year I never missed a deadline, I never shirked out of meetings that required me to travel regularly with overnight stays.

Fundraising has given me a huge amount

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7
of job satisfaction, it’s an amazing feeling to know that I’ve raised and supported others in raising millions of pounds that will directly support and care for people at the end of their lives, that will fund research into cures for cancer and give hope to millions of people.

I’m really not sure what my next move will be, I kind of feel like I’ve reached the end of my fundraising road and perhaps a change would be good. Either way whatever I decide and I’m not asking for the world but a bit of loyalty would be nice.

SelfishMother.com
Helen Mulhern

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- 12 Mar 19

I recently got made redundant from my job and I have to say it’s both a blessing and a curse.
I started my career in professional fundraising within the charity sector over a decade ago.
Fresh faced and eager to ‘make a difference’ I quickly realised that the corporate world wasn’t for me and embarked on discovering the wonderful and varied world of the third sector.

Working as a Community Fundraiser based at a local Hospice was at times incredibly uplifting but full on. There were long hours, evenings and weekends spent at events. All of which were in addition to my normal working hours, of course being a charity I never got paid any extra money for this and that was fine. I was doing it for the cause.

I knuckled down, rolled up my sleeves and worked bloody hard for the best part of my twenties. Raising money, organising events and championing the cause. The majority of my work involved managing amazing but sometimes difficult volunteers, these people who give up their precious time for free became my work colleagues, friends and mentors. Some of them were bereaved or affected by terminal illness so of course they naturally came with a host of emotional needs. We all know that charities simply couldn’t operate without these wonderful generous souls. That is a fact. However they couldn’t sustain and develop without paid professional fundraising staff either.

The long hours and lack of career progression took their toll. I saw friends move on to other charities or get promoted. As I crept into my thirties I got married but knew I’d be silly to leave as my plan was to try for a baby straight away. It was when I was on maternity leave with my first daughter that I experienced first hand the term ‘restructure’ and my role was at risk of redundancy. It was such a horrible time and my former Manager and good friend sacrificed herself for me. She was made redundant and left. It was a massive shock that it happened. I think I must have been naïve to not think that kind of harsh restructuring happened in the charity world. After all we’d gone above and beyond for the cause and been so loyal over the years.

Juggling full time work and a toddler was challenging especially with the stressful targets, reduced resources and extra hours expected. I become pregnant with my second daughter within months of returning to work, it was made apparent that I would find continuing in this role with two small children ‘very difficult’. I knew this was probably the case but I was a bit put out being told that.

Fast forward to present day and after eleven months working for another charity I have been subject to another ‘restructure’ -god I hate that word now, and as a result I was made redundant. I know this happens in every industry and it’s usually to save money blah blah blah. We’re told not to take it personally, it’s not you it’s us! So much of the charity sector calls for people to give-give their time, give their money, give their support yet what do we get in return for all this giving? Yes I have two children and I work 21 hours a week but I get paid for 21 hours. During the last year I never missed a deadline, I never shirked out of meetings that required me to travel regularly with overnight stays.

Fundraising has given me a huge amount of job satisfaction, it’s an amazing feeling to know that I’ve raised and supported others in raising millions of pounds that will directly support and care for people at the end of their lives, that will fund research into cures for cancer and give hope to millions of people.

I’m really not sure what my next move will be, I kind of feel like I’ve reached the end of my fundraising road and perhaps a change would be good. Either way whatever I decide and I’m not asking for the world but a bit of loyalty would be nice.

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Helen Mulhern

Mummy to Isla (3) and Isabelle (1) Charity Fundraiser Aspiring author Trying to figure it all out

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