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Our fundraising journey: Stanwell Food Bank and Stanwell Events

Anna-Marie Goodacre is the Founder of Stanwell Events and Stanwell Foodbank. Here, she tells us about their fundraising journey over the last four years:

Stanwell Events started on Good Friday in 2018 with an Easter egg hunt which Anna-Marie organised to bring the community together. It soon became clear that there was a food need in the area. In September 2018, Anna-Marie launched a food bank. Now Stanwell Foodbank offers long-life food parcels, hot meals and support around food and fuel poverty, while Stanwell Events runs community projects including holiday clubs, fit and fed clubs for children, support groups for young mums and new parents and a youth provision. 

In just four years the food bank has grown to support 620 households, 50 weeks of the year, while the fit and fed club supports between 35-40 children a day during all school holidays including half terms.  The two organisations have grown to a combined income of almost £280,000. Back in 2018,” Anna-Marie says, We could run for four months on £300.” 

Stanwell Events’ and Stanwell Foodbank’s fundraising journey is a lesson in effective fundraising – and marketing. Here are Anna-Marie’s top tips:

  1. Use your network 

Anna-Marie believes her background in network marketing with Avon has been useful. I like to speak to whoever I can, wherever I go. Last year I met Rebecca from the National Lottery through the Your Fund Surrey. That meeting led to us making an application.” Last year, this resulted in a successful bid to the National Lottery worth £369,444 over the next three years. 

She also uses social media, in particular Facebook and LinkedIn: I love LinkedIn! This is the social media app I would keep over all others. Local businesses will use LinkedIn. I find you can be matter of fact on LinkedIn, and talk more about the impact you’re making, in a way that you can’t on Facebook, which is aimed more at the people who use our services.”  

It’s all about relationships. We’ve had a lot of councillors’ funding from their members allocation. You’ve got to get out and speak to people.”

  1. Remember you’re not alone. 

Crucially, Anna-Marie does not feel she has had to shoulder fundraising alone. I have a really good, amazing team of trustees. Ian Millin (Stanwell Events Chair) and I will go to events and talk to people. I think the generation gap between us works in our favour. Meanwhile, Stanwell Foodbank trustee Linda Millin focuses on grant applications”.  

Anna-Marie says she knew nothing about fundraising before founding the two organisations: We were put in touch with Solette, Alison and Suzie at VSNS early on. I still go there a lot for guidance and networking and fundraising meetings. I also go on any courses that funders run. Suzie always recommended that we get to know funders, pick up the phone and speak to them.”

  1. Have a plan 

I work visually,” explains Anna-Marie. ”At the start of the year, we put a dream board together, looking at what our project is going to be. Do we have events that can be self-funding? What else needs funding?  

We use the grant finder app and VSNS to find the best grants and focus on the top three. Then we work on building a relationship with those grant funders from there.”

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