Italian-born Francesca Passi raises funds for Oxfam as a street fundraiser in the North West of England. Oxfam profiled her last year with a video and in its supporter update.
She says that her opinion about street fundraising has completely changed. She originally thought on seeing a face-to-face fundraiser that she’d simply say “sorry, I don’t have time”, adding “like everyone does”.
Her views on this style of fundraising have changed completely. She was inspired to fundraise for Oxfam when she saw images of Syria and the current conflict. She had visited the country six years before, exploring Damascus and Aleppo. A linguist, she subsequently worked for the UN helping translate for refugees.
“Becoming a fundraiser in the street would allow me in the street to reach more people and telling them why they should help us.
“For sure, everyone is in a hurry, maybe going to work, or busy, but you stop for a minute, do something great, sign up to Oxfam, and change your day and change thousands of people’s lives”.
She talked about her training, saying:
“We learned about the things we can’t do too – like never speaking to people in front of cashpoints and not being too pushy. I really believe in Oxfam’s work, so it’s important to try to inspire people but not to pressure them”.
Her language skills have come in handy in street fundraising too.
“Fundraising is a good opportunity to use my language skills. I speak to people in Arabic and in Italian and in French… I spoke to a man from Yemen recently, who had never heard of Oxfam and couldn’t believe we were working in his country. He said he absolutely wanted to help”.
“Believe in people’s generosity”
Her optimism has been boosted by her fundraising experience. In an interview with Oxfam, she said:
“My time as a fundraiser has made me believe in people’s generosity, and it’s helped me to see how many people share my belief that there is always the possibility of change – and that even poverty can be overcome. Every town and every day is different, but there are so many people who share Oxfam’s values”.
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