Help For Children UK, the UK branch of the child abuse charity originally established as Hedge Funds Care in the late 1990s in New York City, has appointed Jack Inglis as chair of the UK section in January. Inglis – he is also the CEO of AIMA business body, the Alternative Investment Management Association – was thrown into the deep end almost immediately, as the lockdown imposed by the UK government in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19 has frozen the ability of charities like HFC UK to host in-person fundraising events.
“Our normal fundraising activities which we do primarily through events here in the UK have just ended. We always have an annual gala dinner in November which is our main fundraising event and it’s impossible to host this year. We have other events, like our comedy night, that all require people to come together in one way or another. None of these could take place, ”he said.
The organization’s annual gala in London, HFC UK’s biggest fundraising event, was originally scheduled for November 19, but that of course won’t happen. Some charities have attempted to produce digital fundraising events to support their fundraising goals, but Inglis says HFC UK will not go down this route.
“We looked at different ways of trying to virtually replicate what we do at the gala and provide some kind of entertainment that people would sign up for. But when we watched it closely, we thought there was a high risk that it might not be successful. It’s the same with live comedy – we just didn’t think we could replicate this experience online. We had to rethink how we can actually do fundraising this year, ”he said.
This overhaul was manifested in an initiative by HFC UK to strengthen and develop its base of support for hedge fund managers. HFC UK has always been well supported by branded service providers for the hedge fund industry; these companies support the London Gala Dinner to the tune of thousands of pounds each year. During the lockdown, Inglis not only stepped up that support, but also targeted new managers with the HFC message.
“In previous years we have had a core of supporters who year after year regularly buy tables at the London Benefit and of course we are extremely grateful. But one of the priorities when I arrived was to regenerate the enthusiasm of the management community in the UK. This organization was actually founded with the community of managers in mind. During the confinement, I used my contacts that I have from my work with AIMA to deepen the relations with the managers. I am satisfied with the response so far.
HFC UK, along with the other nine HFC locations, are currently leading an open-ended fundraising initiative, asking companies to continue to contribute despite the lack of events to attend; For Inglis and HFC UK, raising funds to help end child abuse has never been more crucial.
“The very fact that families were stranded at home during the lockdown has highlighted a parallel epidemic – a silent epidemic if you will – of increased child abuse. It does not only mean abuse by members of a child’s family; it also means online abuse from outside the home. With schools closed for long periods of time, the safety net provided by teachers – where they can detect suspicions of abuse – ceased to exist until September. [when UK schools re-opened]. Now more than ever, HFC needs funds so that it can continue to fight child abuse and provide treatment where possible, ”he said.
HFC provides grants to frontline charities in July of each year. The organization had to reduce its grants slightly this year due to declining funds; Inglis hopes that through its targeted outreach to managers and existing support from service providers, HFC UK will be able to raise funds to end 2020 at a level close to what they would generally expect in a ‘normal’ year. Going forward, however, Inglis says relying almost exclusively on events for fundraising cannot continue.
“At some point in 2021, when we come back to the in-person events, due to our manager outreach efforts, there will be a lot more people who want to attend these events. And that’s great. But we can no longer depend entirely on events. To this end, HFC is exploring additional strategies for 2021, including increasing its list of companies that make HFC one of their dedicated charities, ”he said.
HFC UK is working with its other affiliates around the world as part of this new fundraising strategy, but it is an additional effort that will coexist with the events program. The adjustment in strategy and the lack of opportunities for fundraising events does not mean that the organization is abandoning 2020.
“It has been an amazing year,” said Inglis. “And what we were able to do was reconnect with managers and give them a feeling of ownership of this charity; after all, we consider HFC to be the charity of the alternative investment industry. Having been involved with HFC since before we became president of the UK section, I know how critical private HFC fundraising is in a normal year, and with the current situation we need to continue to secure essential funds to fight against child abuse. . “
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