Posted: 01 December 2016

Carol's 25+ years as a fundraiser: 'I never cease to be amazed at people's generosity and support'

Volunteers have been the heart of The Children’s Society for over a century. Every year we celebrate their fantastic contribution with our National Volunteering Awards. Carol Sampson, one of our National Volunteering Award winners for 2016, has been supporting us for more than 25 years in a variety of roles, including Box Coordinator, Christingle Organiser and Speaker, thinking of many innovative new ideas for raising funds. She has been the driving force behind fundraising activity at St Michael and All Angels, which has raised £42,000 since 1984.

We spoke to Carol about her experience and what volunteering means to her.

An interview with Carol

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What inspired you to become a volunteer?

The adoption of my eldest son inspired me to become a volunteer.

Can you tell us briefly what your roles involve?

I am a House Box Coordinator, Christingle Organiser and a Volunteer Speaker at churches, schools and local groups in the community. I also organise sponsored activities. These include: walks; special events and sales, like Pudding and Poetry; St George’s Day Tea party; Carnival Stalls; Rustic Fayre; coffee mornings and Christmas cards.

Can you tell us about the effort, communication and organisation involved in hosting a successful Christingle event and coordinating a House Box Network?

For Christingle, there’s a lot of preparation involved with putting up posters and general advertising, contacting schools well in advance, creating a personal approach with invitations, preparing and distributing posters and making a large model of a Christingle orange!

We also come up with children’s activities, such as colouring Christingle pictures and preparing a service with children’s involvement and active participation. We liaise with local the clergy and prepare presentations with PowerPoint.

With the House Boxes, I need to emphasise the importance of the boxes personally and with enthusiasm, as well as  ensuring they are readily available. For example at Christingle Service and Speaker events, I keep the database of box holders updated, make regular collections and count the funds raised.

What has been your most memorable experience volunteering for The Children’s Society?

Amongst many experiences, one of my favourite memories is of having made Christingles with a class of 30 Year 3 children. We all walked into a full school assembly in darkness with them, lit candles and made a circle around them. I followed with a larger one. Their faces were alight with amazement and we said some prayers for The Children’s Society.

How does your volunteer role contribute to your local community and enhance its members’ understanding of issues facing vulnerable children and young people?

My role highlights the many issues that children today are facing; by holding a box, supporting events and talks and contributing items for sale, people feel they are making a valuable contribution.

What role does your church play in enabling your support for The Children’s Society?

Without their support I couldn’t achieve as much as I do. They are very generous in donating both items for sale and money. Many people offer their practical support.

How do you see the future of The Children’s Society within your church?

I see it growing from strength to strength as new families come into it and new ideas are suggested.

What have you gained from volunteering for The Children’s Society?

I never cease to be amazed at people’s generosity and support for The Children’s Society; it makes me feel very humble.

What would you say to other people who are interested in volunteering with The Children’s Society?

Go at it with enthusiasm. There is also a lot of support from The Children’s Society team. 

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