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Meet TFN's newest team member

Last week we caught up with our newest team member, Stephen Drury. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I started in November 2020 as The Funding Network's (TFN) Digital Engagement Manager - completely remotely for now. I'm married and live in South London near the Wandle river. I am South African, or was - I was born in Zimbabwe and spent my childhood in South Africa before coming to the UK in my late teens. I read Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford and continue to maintain an active interest in all things ecology. 

What's your professional background?

I've held a number of Communications, Fundraising and Engagement roles in large UK charities, helping them attract new audiences through digital and offline channels. I've also worked in client management at consulting and advisory conglomerates, working closely with heads of marketing and technology at FTSE 100 brands. And I've kept my finger on the pulse on ecological, energy and climate policy - my last role before TFN was as a consultant researcher and writer for a climate disclosure company. 

What will you be doing at TFN?

As TFN's Digital Engagement Manager I will be interacting with our members on social media, getting people along to our calendar of crowdfunding events and thinking how we can make the funding experience slicker and smoother for our network of philanthropists. I will also be keeping everyone up to date on the latest news and insights from the world of philanthropy via the website. 

First impressions of live crowdfunding?

Before I joined TFN I didn't know live crowdfunding existed. I was aware of crowdfunding platforms and gala dinners, but TFN occupies a unique space. I think it's brilliant that philanthropic individuals have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the founders and leaders of grassroots charities before choosing to support them. And for funding goals to be met within one and a half hours generates a real sense of momentum and excitement on the night. 

Favourite TFN event so far?

I haven't been to many so I have yet to experience the full array of partner and flagship events. So far, it's got to be the Festive Funder. We had Michael Maynard, TFN ex-chair in a santa hat, we heard emotive pitches from three fantastic non-profits, and it was rounded off with a solo performance of 'Have yourself a merry little christmas' from a West End star!

What new activities have you taken up since lockdown?

Quite a few actually. Even learnt to darn a sock! But I think the most rewarding has got to be jogging around Beddington Farmlands, looking out for kestrels and harriers whilst trying to dodge muddy puddles. 

Any tips for how people can keep connected during lockdown?

At TFN we have two team meetings where we make space to check in with one another. I think the TFN events, such as the New Year Funder on Wednesday, are a great way to keep connected with our individual and corporate members. Personally, I like to set aside three evenings a week to touch base with my family and friends over Zoom. We have started using online versions of classic board games, such as pictionary, to keep the Zoom-fatigue at bay.

What is the first thing you will do when restrictions are lifted?

This is a hard one. The first thing I'll book is a three course meal for my wife and I at the Grumpy Mole pub in Tadworth. Once that's done, I'll be looking to book flights to Provence to finally have the holiday we planned. 


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