Joe Jenkins, Friends of the Earth
This week, we chat to Friends of the Earth’s Joe Jenkins about bingo, teleportation, and that novel he’s yet to write.
What do you love most about being a fundraiser?
That feeling you get when you try something different – and it works! There are boundless opportunities as a fundraiser to experiment, innovate, try new ways of doing things. Plus knowing everything you do is connecting people with your cause and changing the world; not many people get to call that their job.
Give us an unusual fact that people might not know about you?
While at university (and for a short time thereafter) I was a bingo caller at the largest complex in the UK. This probably isn’t going to help build my credibility, but if you ever me hear give a presentation, you can sometimes catch a glimmer of my bingo patter sneaking in. I have retained a memory bank of incredibly weak banter that I can’t resist drawing on, every now and then.
What would be your superpower?
Instant teleportation to any point in the universe. I love the idea of being able to travel to anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye (and never have to sit on a plane, train or motorway ever again).
What’s been your proudest achievement to date?
In May, having resisted for the previous two years, I finally signed up to Friends of the Earth’s Big Green Bike Ride – which involved cycling 85 miles in one day, from London to the New Forest. Before that, I’d never cycled more than ten miles in my life. So I’m proud I did it, I’m proud I survived – and I’m proud I managed to raise £1,000 for my charity at the same time.
If you weren't in fundraising, what would you like to do instead?
Before I found fundraising, I thought I was going to be novelist. Part of me still does, one day…
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Follow the passion. In fundraising, this is non-negotiable – whether this is your passion for an idea, or passion for your cause, it’s the difference between average/bad fundraising and the best. It’s also a good rule of thumb for life in general.
What's your best piece of advice for other fundraisers?
Aside from “follow the passion”, I would advise every fundraiser to never forget why we do what we do. Never stray too far from your cause, never lose sight of the vision you’re inspiring people to support, and always remember you’re part of a movement to make the world a better place. And don’t let spreadsheets, budget figures or databases become your sole view of your charity or your supporters!
What three things would you take with you to a desert island?
My guitar (so I might finally learn to play it properly), my notepad/pen (so I might finally write my novel), and my music collection (to make me feel better if I don’t achieve the other two things).
What makes you happy?
Time – with my daughter, my wife, a good book, a special meal or a fine drink (not always in that order).
Joe Jenkins is director of fundraising, communications & activism at Friends of the Earth.