Strenghtening public fundraising across Central and Eastern Europe
I come from the town of Rivne in Western Ukraine. If I were a painter, I would choose to paint it at sunset. My brush would paint in dark-green the Polissya forest with tall pine trees, swinging in the wind and whispering stories from the past. When I was little, my parents decided that artist is a very ungrateful vocation and sent me to music school instead. Playing the violin was my first real challenge, but it brought me no satisfaction, whereas the need to reflect beauty by means of colours still lives inside.
A later challenge in life was adjusting to another culture at the age of sixteen and living for a year in the United States far from friends and family. Yet, this unique chance to study at an American high school (part of the US Department of State exchange programme) and witness life in a democratic society and market economy, expanded my horizons. I became interested in international affairs, my professional goals got solidified.
While studying business with ethical dimension at the International Christian University-Kyiv, I worked part-time at the American Councils for International Education. I was also an active member of the European Youth Parliament-Ukraine, which truly kindled my interest in the European Union project and developmental issues. Needless to say, when I received a fellowship to pursue an MA degree in International Relations and European Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, I got very excited and grateful to George Soros for this opportunity.
At the American Councils for International Education I learnt the ropes of event organizing, while at the same time studying the tricks of marketing and management. As a coordinator of the Future Leaders Exchange Programme (FLEX) alumni, I was a head organizer of the two annual alumni charity balls. Beneficiaries of our activism were children’s departments of Ukrainian hospitals. Each year our group of volunteers doubled the proceeds to improve children’s conditions.
Later, as a fundraiser and coordinator of the three annual alumni giving campaigns at CEU, I had the opportunity to implement my creative ideas by cooperating with colleagues from various departments and supervising student-interns from different countries. I came up with the “CEU to Infinity” brand for the campaign, which implies that CEU does not end after graduation and timeless gifts of alumni have an ever-lasting impact on the University. My latest contribution to my alma mater was the Baobab Leaves campaign, aimed at promoting sustainable development in university and alumni communities worldwide.
At WWF CEE, I will work with a matrix management model for the first time, which has pros and cons. However, at the end of the day, it all comes down to individual decisions, hence good personal relations are a key in any organizational system.
I also believe that sharing is caring. Once I have enough useful and inspiring fundraising best-practices and ideas, I will do my best to spread them among my colleagues in WWF CEE. Let’s test it all together!
I have a feeling that 2013 will be an exciting year! We will develop a good fundraising infrastructure in three countries – Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The goal is to strengthen face2face programmes and start direct mailing in Romania, launch public fundraising activities in Bulgaria, and have a successful direct mailing campaign in Hungary. And enjoy this roller coaster ride in the process!
What I do when I am not working? In my “free” time I serve on the board of Habitat for Humanity Hungary, and I also organize events and professional development trainings together with my volunteer club JCI Expat Budapest. I go biking along the Danube, jog around the lake near my house, practice belly dancing and drink Aperol spritz with my friends. I have seen all the movies with Audrey Hepburn and I collect everything which has an image of this charming and kind actress. I’m addicted to facebook, so feel free to add me as a friend!