Lesley Pinder chats about she fell into fundraising, her charity’s upcoming merger, and tearing around on two wheels.
How and why did you get in to the voluntary sector?
I always wanted to do something that made a difference. I started working in the arts for a small theatre company and then for a community arts organisation. From there moved to London for a job as a community and events fundraiser for an NGO. I didn't really understand what a fundraiser really was if I’m honest, it was just the next step in my journey to finding out what I really wanted to do. It turns out I’d already found it!
What are the most important things you've learnt in your career?
That fundraisers are the link between people who wish they could change the world and the people that can. That we should think not of 'asking’, but of giving people an opportunity to do something amazing. That has always stuck with me.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
Anyone who knows me from Twitter won't be surprised when I say cycling! Pretty much all my non-working life is spent training, racing or watching people racing bicycles. It keeps me fit, it keeps me sane and constantly reminds me of what can be possible with some grit and determination.
Who is your role model and why?
I’m inspired by everyday people who do great things with humility, and people who never stop learning. Most recently I’ve been impressed by the quiet dedication of Sarah Brown and the work she does around equality and education for girls. I’ve likewise been inspired by a woman I know through cycling who has not let cancer stop her from living her life with verve, humour and adventure.
What is the most out-of-the-ordinary thing you have done?
I guess track cycling is quite out of the ordinary, although for me I can’t imagine life without it. I have raced around the country and won a gold medal at the National Masters (over 30) Track Championships. Worlds next year!
What’s been the best moment of your career?
Securing a £500k gift for a new project with Depression Alliance was an incredible moment. It was the result of some brilliant team work, the most inspired ask by our appeal board chair and a little bit of serendipity. Being able to deliver and launch the project, Friends in Need, just 12 months later at 10 Downing Street was also a high point.
What do you love most about your charity?
The people I work with. They’re talented and passionate which pushes me to be the best I can. Just as importantly they have a brilliant sense of humour which makes all the difference, especially in times of stress. And I absolutely love my job.
What’s the most exciting new thing your charity has coming up?
By far and away the most exciting thing is that we will be merging with Breast Cancer Campaign. Together we’ll be able to end breast cancer sooner, and have a much more powerful voice. I’m excited to be part of the journey towards launching the biggest breast cancer charity in the UK.
Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to your ideal dinner party?
This is officially the hardest question ever! I’ve picked one person for each part of my life: Marianne Vos (the world’s most successful female cyclist), Larry Page (CEO of Google, the world’s most innovative company) and David Bowie (because… David Bowie). Whether they’d all get along is another story!
If you won £20m on the lottery, what would you do with the money?
So, obviously first I’d buy myself and my partner a bike or three and I’d look after my family. However, the biggest amount would be ethically invested to generate funds for charities. I’d happily fund the less glamorous or popular costs that can be harder to fundraise for – like fundraising!
Lesley Pinder is innovation and product development manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer.