It’s always nice to meet new people, so let me introduce myself: my name’s Maxim Padbiarozkin and since April 2009 I have been working as the fundraising manager for the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH), a charity in Minsk. Friends of BCH have suggested that I am possibly the first fundraiser in Belarus, and this may well be so. I haven’t been in this job for long, so cannot say that I know all the NGOs or charities in Belarus, nevertheless, as far as I can tell at the moment, I am probably the first who is paid to concentrate purely on fundraising for one particular NGO.
It’s always nice to meet new people, so let me introduce myself: my name’s Maxim Padbiarozkin and since April 2009 I have been working as the fundraising manager for the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH), a charity in Minsk. Friends of BCH have suggested that I am possibly the first fundraiser in Belarus, and this may well be so. I haven’t been in this job for long, so cannot say that I know all the NGOs or charities in Belarus, nevertheless, as far as I can tell at the moment, I am probably the first who is paid to concentrate purely on fundraising for one particular NGO. This is not the first ‘first’ for the Belarusian Children’s Hospice. It was the first children’s hospice not only in our country but in all the countries of the former Soviet Union. Fifteen years have passed since it was set up. On 16th and 17th October this year we celebrated its 15th anniversary. Despite the fact that I am the new boy on the staff, I have known the hospice and its staff since about 2002 when, as a student, I was writing my dissertation on how children understand death. For a long time afterwards I was a volunteer and now, seven years later, here I am, an employee of the hospice.
Today’s BCH is very different to the organisation it was fifteen years ago – it has improved. It is better organised, the functions of each of its staff are clearly defined. What hasn’t changed is the lack of state finance. This is why we have always had to look to supporters abroad to help finance us. However, I have been given the task of working with potential funders within Belarus itself, to raise the hospice’s public profile, to encourage people to become more socially aware and active and to attract the attention and support of Belarusian businesses.
I don’t suppose I need to explain to you what a fundraiser does. All I will say is that in most hospices in the UK fundraising is carried out by a whole team.
During the first few months I felt as though I was trying to push against a huge ship, sailing against the current. There were no tangible results and there was the ever present threat of drowning …
My week’s training at Richard House Children’s Hospice in the UK was a turning point. Friends of BCH brought me over for this in May this year. It was there that I started forming a clear idea of how I should structure my activity. Then all I had to do was to carry it out! I can’t say that it was easy, but I’m not going to spend time complaining about all the difficulties. At times I had to work in the evenings and at weekends but I didn’t mind because I knew that I was doing something useful. This feeling has remained with me.
The preparations for and organisation of the hospice’s 15th anniversary events were a huge learning curve. I had to organise a charity concert in the Small Hall of the largest concert hall in Belarus, the Palace of the Republic. It was an adrenalin filled time getting into contact and working with all the different musicians and selling tickets. During the concert itself there were lots of hitches that had to be sorted out as we went along. The audience seemed to love the event which was great. Even better (from my point of view), we made approximately £1,500, which in Belarusian terms is a huge sum of money!
BCH’s website takes up a lot of my time www.hospice.by – updating it, getting it translated into other languages, analysing visitor numbers. I am proud to say that at the moment we are getting an average of 37 visitors per day (six months ago this figure was below 10 per day), and that each of these visitors spend an average of ten minutes reading the site. October results show that visitors came from 35 different countries.
I’ve only managed to say a fraction of what I’d wanted to tell you in this blog. Never mind, I’ll save the rest for subsequent postings.
Looking forward to seeing you again and thank you very much for your support!