Who will you be working with?

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I am a marketing and fundraising professional who has worked words for a living for many years. I worked at a senior level with UNICEF Ireland and Barnardos, where I witnessed some of the most crushing and crucial issues facing children today.  I wrote words to persuade, inform, highlight, campaign and motivate, and I learned that the mastery of words can change lives.

As a Creative Fundraising Consultant, I help charities express the impact of their work in a compelling way to deliver high-response donor recruitment and retention.  I combine my 15 years of fundraising experience, with my skills as a writer to deliver creative solutions to fundraising challenges that support charities develop their fundraising capabilities and donor communications.

Working with charities large and small, regional and international, those with broad appeal and those with niche audiences; I provide support in strategic planning, major gifts, donor recruitment & retention. From compelling case for supports to donor care communications, appeal copy and fundraising materials, I deliver valuable results.

I work with Fundraising Ireland as a mentor, offering guidance and support to those just starting their career in fundraising, and continue to work as an occasional freelance writer for newsprint, consumer and commercial publications. My first non-fiction book has been published by Hachette Ireland. Daughter, Mother, Me: A memoir of love, loss and dirty dishes explores my experiences in the Sandwich Years, caring for young children and sick parents. For further information see www.alanakirkwriting.com

Recent and current clients include:

  • Amnesty International
  • Make-A Wish Ireland
  • Oxfam Ireland
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • Mercy Hospital Foundation
  • Aidlink
  • COPE Galway
  • Medicine Sans Frontieres
  • Men’s Cancer Alliance
  • UNICEF Ireland
  • Cancer Care West
  • The Scoop Foundation
  • Headstrong
  • BeLonG To
  • The Irish Cancer Society
  • Turn2Me
  • ClapHandies
  • Zahra Publishing and Media Group

My Story

As a child growing up, I didn’t want to be a teacher or a doctor or a pop star. I wanted to be Kate Adie.  The fierce female war correspondent for the BBC was my role model and inspiration. It wasn’t her fame, or her presenting job, or her beige array of shorts and shirts that got my attention. No.  It was the stories she told.

When she frequently appeared in my first-world living room, I was mesmerised by the people she talked about, the stories she told, and the lives she covered… and years later I realised what it was about her that made such an impression. She covered places that were planets away from my life – Iraq, Tripoli, Tiananmen Square, Rwanda, Bosnia – yet each time she told people’s stories, she  brought them right home to me in my living room.

I fell in love with the power of story.  And I went in search of finding them.

Before heading to university to study International Politics and Writing, I thought I’d better see a bit of the world myself, so spent a year teaching English in Karachi, Pakistan, and travelling the length of India – securing my first few commissions writing for a travel magazine.  This experience certainly put hairs on my chest, and exposed lives and living I had never imagined.

After my degree, I spent a few years in London learning the communications trade before putting them to use in foreign fields. I was sent to Borneo with Raleigh International to document the work being done there and build local PR.  Walking a rehabilitated orang-utan through the rainforest and releasing it into wild is still one of the most moving experiences of my life.  I went on to travel and work across SE Asia and New Zealand, before returning to Ireland where I settled in Dublin.

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And then I became Kate Adie; I became a storyteller.  I joined UNICEF Ireland as Fundraising & Communications Manager and was later promoted to Deputy Director. For nearly 6 years I travelled to terrible amazing places, and I met people whose stories I had to tell.  Among them, I interviewed child soldiers and girl sex slaves in Sierra Leone, I spoke with parents devastated by sanctions who couldn’t feed their children in Iraq, I met with villagers on the edge of survival in Zambia and I wrote about them, fundraised for them, and told their stories so that their lives could be improved.  I also had the training and backing of a global organisation, and feel really proud and blessed for my time with UNICEF.  I then took up the senior management role of Director of Fundraising, Retail & Communications with Ireland’s largest children’s charity, Barnardos. This was a critical time of change and development for the organisation, and again I was lucky enough to work with some incredible people as we benefited from the expertise and guidance provided by Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation, through whose investment we made ambitious places to transform the landscape for children in this country.

I decided to take a step back from senior management to rear my own young family, and began to work as a consultant.  I also went back to my earlier passion for writing and developed a strong career in freelance journalism.  Three years ago I decided to combine the two to specialise in helping charities improve the way they communicate with the people that keep them going.   I am very proud of the work I have done with some amazing organisations, and feel honoured to be able to tell their stories.

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