19 October 2020
An interview with Vanessa Riley
We loved hearing from Clare Hill in our last blog post – what amazing work she has done for WorldShare over so many years! This week, it’s over to our Fundraising Specialist, Vanessa Riley, to share a bit about who she is and what she’s involved with. Vanessa joined us just over a year ago and has been an integral part of our team ever since…
Can you sum up your role at WorldShare in less than 100 words?
Hello! I am the Fundraising Specialist at WorldShare and my role is extremely varied. In a nutshell, I am responsible for generating donations from individuals, churches and charitable trusts in order to reach out to the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised all around the world. This means finding ways of sharing stories from our ministry partners and their beneficiaries that inspire and motivate you, our amazing supporters. Whether you support in prayer, give financially or give your time to raise funds for us, we greatly appreciate all you do and the huge difference that your support makes.
What motivates you to do this job?
"But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." (1 Corinthians 12:18-20)
Having grown up as a pastor’s kid, I’ve always believed that God has a plan and a purpose for my life. But it wasn’t until 2003, age 32, that I felt the direct call of God on my life and moved from the food industry into the Christian charity sector. Seventeen years later, I feel so privileged to be able to use my skills and experience for God’s glory at WorldShare. I’m not called to be a pastor like my Dad was, but I believe I am fulfilling my part in the body of Christ and making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
What does a typical day working for WorldShare look like for you?
The great thing about working in a small staff team is that no day is ever the same! The start of each day is similar though. I check my emails and consult my ‘to do’ list and then it’s time to meet with my colleagues for morning prayers. These days, as we are mainly working from home, we meet via Zoom. Praying for our ministry partners, you our supporters and our priorities is a lovely way to begin the day.
After that, my day might involve writing the content for our next fundraising appeal, analysing responses from past appeals, planning the content for our next issue of the magazine, writing a blog (like I am now), thanking donors for their generosity, applying to a charitable trust for a grant or phoning a church to explore how we can provide input into one of their online services.
And when we have mailings to send out, I can be found collating, stuffing and franking envelopes to send out to you our supporters.
What has been your biggest highlight of the year at work so far?
My biggest highlight has most definitely been the amazing response that you, our supporters, have given to the fundraising appeals that we’ve sent out over the course of this year. Covid-19 meant that we had to rethink our whole communications plan back in March and make changes to our fundraising appeals to be able to respond to the changing needs of our ministry partners and their communities.
Your support has been amazing, and I can’t thank you enough for giving so sacrificially to help those in desperate need around the world.
One example that stands out is two brothers, ages 7 & 6, who decided to design and sell cards to raise money for WorldShare during lockdown. Their desire to help those less fortunate than them was such an inspiration and they are now taking pre-orders for a range of homemade Christmas cards. Thank you Ezra and Joey!
Have you ever visited one of WorldShare’s ministry partners?
I was due to visit our ministry partner, the Evangelical Church of North Macedonia this autumn, a trip that sadly had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully, once the world comes out the other side of this challenge, I will be able to think about visiting one of our ministry partners, whichever seems appropriate at the time.
After my recent involvement in our first ‘Ministry Meet-up’ with Potter’s House in Guatemala, I would love the opportunity to meet with Hector and the team in person and see first hand how they are helping transform communities in Guatemala City and Chiquimula. Whoever I get the opportunity to visit, it will truly be a privilege.
When you’re not working, what are you doing?
As a mum of two girls aged 13 & 11, I spend some of my ‘spare’ time helping with homework, taxiing them around and generally doing lots of other mum stuff. I love reading and jigsaw puzzles and during lockdown earlier in the year, I took up painting by numbers on canvas, which is very different from the painting by numbers that I attempted during my childhood. It’s so relaxing and perfect for me as I’ve not got an artistic bone in my body!
My husband and I enjoy watching movies and stand-up comedy and as a family we love going to watch our local ice-hockey team Nottingham Panthers (which is sadly not happening now due to Covid). Go Panthers!