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Top tip from breast cancer fundraising guru

BREAST CANCER: Sunshine Coast Private Hospital's general manager, Wallis Westbrook, with Ngaire Roberts at last year's Pinktober luncheon for the Cindy Mackenzie Breast Cancer Program.
BREAST CANCER: Sunshine Coast Private Hospital's general manager, Wallis Westbrook, with Ngaire Roberts at last year's Pinktober luncheon for the Cindy Mackenzie Breast Cancer Program.

CHARITY champion Ngaire Roberts has spent almost 50 years passionately volunteering as a fund raiser for a variety of organisations, but it's the breast cancer journey that has caught her energy in recent years.

Mrs Roberts was one of the original unit holders in the Sunshine Coast Hospital and has been connected with its Ladies Auxiliary for 26 years, a hospital board member for six years and remained with the charity committee after the board operations were centralised to Brisbane.

In 2015 the Sunshine Coast's Cindy Mackenzie Breast Cancer Foundation was taken on by the hospital just after the hospital opened its breast cancer clinic.

The program offers a range of support services to Coast women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and to their family members.

Its main fundraising activities are conducted in October which is where Mrs Roberts' leadership and expertise has become invaluable.

In 2016 Mrs Roberts and her team raised $7500 for the foundation.

In a crowded fundraising space, Mrs Roberts follows some simple steps to ensure that, more often than not, her CMBCF fundraising activities are successful.

Raise funds for your community

"I want to do things for local people who need help," she said.

"All the money raised stays on the Coast so we are helping in a practical way."

She also believes that the people that she approaches to donate are more attuned to wanting to help their own community.

"They can see more good for their money," Mrs Roberts added.

Use your personal network

Her personal network is critical to her success.

Mrs Roberts admits she has never been a good cold-caller, preferring to tap into her women's contacts.

"It's being personally asked rather than receiving something in the mail," Mrs Roberts said.

"You have a far better chance of getting their cooperation."

Involve people where they can really help

She has also found involving people in fundraising roles in which they have expertise has helped to engage them.

"For example, getting someone who loves to cook, but can't afford the ingredients, such as an older person who may be a good cook but may be on a pension, to do the cooking", she said.

Unique within your community

It also helps that the foundation is a unique business on the Coast which she agrees assists in making it stand out in the fundraising crowd.

As Mrs Roberts finishes sharing her story, the sprightly 78-year-old quietly admits she is due for her annual mammogram which she has been doing for the last 30 years.

Topics:  breast cancer breast-cancer cindy mackenzie breast cancer program health sunshine coast private hospital


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