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Published: 30 August 2013

Epilepsy Society takes fresh look at fundraising

Epilepsy Society's fresh approach to fundraising  is making an impact. Despite a decline in corporate, trust and legacy income, individual donations and income from challenges and events have increased, leading to a small increase in total generated funds, according to the charity's latest accounts.

Bridget Gardiner, director  of fundraising and marketing explained:  'In the last year we've seen a  decline in corporate, trust and legacy income of £138,000. About a year ago, to pre-empt the shortfall, we took a strategic decision to look at new ways of generating income. This opened up exciting new avenues, including a student adventure partnership and a three year  investment in RideLondon100.'

In tandem, the charity looked at the structure of its fundraising team.  Bridget Gardiner said:  'We had a couple of vacant posts and took the opportunity to look at what was needed to support the new initiatives. The student partnership in particular lent itself to graduate and paid intern recruitment.  I'm also a great believer in "home grown" talent, and two new posts were filled by existing staff.'

Support for people with epilepsy

With  the cost of fundraising now running at 26p in the  pound, an improvement for the third year running, Epilepsy Society has been able to increase expenditure in a number of areas vital to supporting people affected by epilepsy. This includes a major investment in  the charity's website - relaunched this month.

Bridget Gardiner continued:  'Investment in the website has been crucial.  We know that for most people the first port of call for information is the internet - and our new website will now work faster and  better whether people are visiting via their pc , tablet or mobile phone. '

Other recent areas of investment have been the charity's helpline, which now opens an hour earlier five days a week as well as for an evening session every Wednesday,  and a stronger focus on policy and campaigning, ensuring the voice of people with epilepsy is represented at national level.

Epilepsy research

The last year has also seen the culmination of a £3.5 million fundraising appeal with the opening of the Epilepsy Society Research Centre in March.  The work of the  Centre is pushing forward the boundaries of epilepsy research .

Bridget Gardiner remains cautiously optimistic: 'The full impact of our recent initiatives  has yet to be realised as donations continue to arrive from our 66 cyclists and 40 student trekkers. We must continue to look for alternative ways of raising funds. Sometimes that can mean taking an educated gamble - as was the  case with RideLondon 100. We didn't fill all of our places this year - but  early indications for 2014 are extremely promising as we are currently performing well ahead of this year's budget.'

Bridget Gardiner's  RideLondon blog
Epilepsy Society 2013 accounts