Fundraising manager Lucy Lock juggles event planning and alumni databases as Westcliff High School for Girls (WHSG) celebrates its centenary year

September I returned from the summer break ready for the challenges of a very special year. The fi rst came when I arranged for a drone photographer to capture pupils standing in a 100 formation. Getting 360 pupils to stand in position was harder than I’d anticipated and the Civil Aviation Authority withdrew permission at the last minute. Thankfully, we had a back-up plan – a very long telescopic pole! The photograph was circulated to local media and a number of alumni got in touch. Following a competition to

design a centenary logo, the winning design was selected and reproduced on shopper bags. These sold out within a fortnight and we ordered a second batch. I attended the annual lunch of our WHOGA (Westcliff High Old Girls Association). It was great to meet so many ‘old girls’, but it also highlighted the need to attract new members. I spoke about the centenary events

and nearly everyone left with a centenary bag. We recently selected a new

CRM and database to more effectively manage alumni records and communication, and provide alumni with an online platform to connect. The task of collating all the data and preparing content lies ahead but it’s going to be a fantastic resource. I presented details of the School Improvement Fund (SIF) at parent induction evenings because I wanted to drive home the message that the fund provides facilities that wouldn’t be possible if we relied on government funding.

October Priorities turned to our centenary ball taking place next May, which I’m organising with the support of our wonderful PTA. A local printing company kindly designed and printed the booking forms for free, and these were circulated to the school community. Our PTA

chair has some great contacts, so we met to discuss which local companies to approach for raffl e and auction prizes, as well as ideas for dressing the venue. The band and venue are booked – time to focus on ticket sales! Plans are also underway for a joint garden party in June, hosted with the boys’ school next door (also celebrating its centenary). It was good to see

completed standing order forms returned for the SIF – we had a really positive response from new Year 12 and Year 7 parents, and sent thank-you letters personally signed by the head. It’s my fi rst year in this role

and so also my fi rst charity week. I was blown away by how well the four school houses organised events, raising more than £11,000 for local charities. Keen to support the sixth formers with their fundraising and also to build relationships with future alumni, I somehow found myself on stage doing a dance routine to The Lion King!

November We were fortunate to receive a signifi cant legacy, which was split across various departments. Interestingly, the deceased was not a past pupil, which just goes to show that you can never anticipate where your next donation will come from. An article in a local paper

on the centenary prompted numerous alumni to call up for details. The new database really can’t come soon enough – I’m still trawling through spreadsheets, collating the data so that it’s ready to be migrated into the new system.

December I met with a past pupil and a local historian who is writing a book about the school for our centenary. Following a few hours in our basement, we scanned in photos from the archive. Some were of pupils evacuated in World War II as the school was relocated to Derbyshire. It will be an interesting read. Ball tickets are selling well, with ten tables promised so far. Our Christmas production

was also tied into the Centenary. I worked with the PTA to provide refreshments, and more bags were sold and alumni details captured. The PTA agreed to help me at an afternoon tea I am hosting in March, which will hopefully encourage new alumni to step back into the school. I’ve fi nally gathered the data for the new database. Checking the numerous spreadsheets was quite a challenge but no doubt the hard work will pay off! I’m a fi rm believer in the personal touch and wrote Christmas cards to all our key donors thanking them for their support.

FundEd SPRING 2020 39

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