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Our Founder - James Marlow MCIOF(Cert)

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Back in 2001, I was having a crisis of conscience. I had a great job in marketing for a large aviation firm, and had been enjoying travel to the Far East as part of my work. The company was exceptional for both myself and my family, offering all the luxuries of corporate life.

 

But deep down I was unhappy. There was an emptiness, and I questioned whether my motivations were misaligned. Did I really want a life that was focused solely on what I can get for myself? Or did I want to seek out a life where I could help others?

 

My desire for change was alleviated quickly. Within weeks, the aviation firm was making redundancies, and an opportunity arose to apply for a role as Fundraising and Marketing Officer with The Lifetrain Trust – a charity helping young people and disabled people in Surrey. This job immediately gave me the sense of purpose I’d been missing, and I felt inspired and humbled by the generosity of the charity’s donors and supporters.

Just two years into my new career, I completed my certificate in fundraising management, and was awarded ‘Best New Fundraiser’ at the National Fundraising Convention. I was also working on some larger projects with The Lifetrain Trust, alongside other charitable partners. One memorable project was an innovative crime diversion project for young people, based at HMP Coldingley, where we worked alongside another trust with His Majesty’s Prison Service and Youth Offending Teams in Surrey.

The scheme was incredibly successful, but it wasn’t without its obstacles. The other trust involved in the project couldn’t continue operating without additional support through fundraising, which would have cut the project short. As I was already involved in the scheme and felt so strongly about what we were achieving, I talked myself into taking on their work – in addition to my full-time job at The Lifetrain Trust.

As my workload and targets grew, it wasn’t long before I had to take on some help. The entire experience led me to identifying a broader fundraising need across the non-profit sector, so I assembled a team with an established background in corporate sales and marketing, who I trained in charitable fundraising. Thus, Collabonations was born.

 

Over the last 20 years, that team has supported countless small-to-medium organisations who had fundraising needs, yet were not in a position to have their own fundraising department. With a passion for helping others make a difference, they’ve handled every aspect of the professional fundraising function, and worked on every type of appeal you can imagine.

 

Today, one of our closest partnerships is the Marylebone Project and Church Army. We’ve raised millions for their work with homeless women in Westminster, and this year we’re working towards a target of £1.2 million. Other amazing charities we’ve supported include the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, St Luke’s Hospice, the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, and the educational projects of the HMS Wellington.

We consider ourselves to be the connection between the fantastic work being carried out by charities, and the incredible generosity of private individuals, companies, and grant making trusts. If you are interested in working with us in any capacity please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we would love to explore the potential to work together.

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Evie Oglethorpe

I joined the Collabonations team in 2022 after working across a range of industries, mostly centred around Customer Service. I’ve always been driven by a strong sense of altruism, wanting to create a positive difference in my community. I’ve been volunteering in the charity sector since a young age, working in befriending services, food waste initiatives, human rights education and addiction charities. Last year, I decided it was time to combine my work and volunteer experience to work full-time in a role that has a direct and meaningful impact on my community.  

 

Working at Collabonations has enabled me to work for a company that generates meaningful and direct results for the charities it represents. Every day I get to connect with people who share my passion for community-led change, empowering those who need it most. Through Collabonations I get the privilege of working with a wide range of partners, local businesses, multi-national companies, philanthropic groups, individuals, Trusts and Foundations and every day I am blown away by the generosity of people. I have worked to generate donations from £1,000 to half a million, creating and maintaining strong relationships with all who support us. The reward of knowing that my work directly supports meaningful causes is what makes it so worthwhile and every day I am grateful to work within a team that holds these same values.

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