Eleanor joined Wild at Heart Foundation in 2018 to establish what has now become the Marketing & Fundraising department. Her role ranges from orchestrating fundraising efforts – be it public campaigns and appeals, or establishing new partnership and sponsorship opportunities – to managing the Foundation’s marketing channels.
To give you a better insight into Eleanor’s world of WAHF, she shares a little more about who she is and what she does…
What made you decide to pursue a career in dog rescue?
Like many people who gravitate towards the charity sector, I’d spent a lot of time drifting between industries and organisations without ever really feeling fulfilled. I worked in a whole range of jobs from an advertising agency, to a children’s publisher (including, bizarrely, appearing on BBC news as The Cat in the Hat!) but never managed to find anything that felt right for me.
That changed when I adopted a dog from Greece; there’s not many people that can say that their dog got them a job, but that’s how it happened for me! A few months after I adopted Panda, I saw the Marketing & Fundraising position advertised; I applied and was ecstatic when I found out I’d got the job. It means the world to be working for a cause that truly inspires me.
It means the world to be able to see and get involved in the projects that we fund – work that’s only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
What does your “day job” mainly comprise of?
One of the things I love about Wild at Heart Foundation is that no two days are ever the same! By and large, my week is split between fundraising efforts for the charity: from meeting with partners and brands to discuss exciting collaboration opportunities; to planning and rolling out campaigns to support our projects. As such a small charity, our fundraising efforts are so tangibly linked to our project work, so it means the world to me whenever we receive a donation. Be it a £1 text from an individual, or a substantial contribution from a corporate supporter, I’ve seen firsthand just how far our donations can stretch, and its motivating to see the generosity of our supporters actually contributing to making a difference, and not just lingering in an account or being ploughed into huge overheads.
Busy on social media, even when out on a project…stealing a quick 5 minutes to post at a shelter in Lebanon before the pups found me and demanded more cuddles!
A portion of my time also goes towards managing our main marketing channels, including writing our newsletters, working with Meghan on our social media, and maintaining the website. We’re so lucky as a charity to have an absolutely incredible supporter base, and I’m always so grateful for the opportunities that come our way. It keeps the job fascinating and fulfilling on a daily basis and, more importantly, allows us to keep on doing the things that we love – rescuing even more dogs, and helping in the areas of the world that need us the most.
What’s your favourite part of working for Wild at Heart Foundation?
I genuinely love our adopters! I love seeing pictures of our dogs enjoying their lives, knowing that they’ve been saved from the saddest of starts. And the more money we raise, the more dogs we can save, so those success stories drive us all to keep doing what we do.
I’ve also loved fostering dogs for the Foundation. Playing a part in their journey from street dog to sofa hound is such a rewarding experience and, tough as it is to say goodbye, seeing dogs settle into their new lives having overcome the issues they initially struggled with makes it all so worth it.
Where in the world has your job taken you, and where would you like to go next?
This November was my 3rd clinic in Puerto Rico. The project is so truly representative of Wild at Heart Foundation’s work and what we stand for, and it’s been hugely eye-opening to get involved with the work on the island. In the last three clinics alone we’ve sterilised over 10,000 animals (every single one of which has passed through our registration – which, believe me, feels like a LOT of animals in just 6 days!) It’s a crazy, hectic, heart-breaking, inspiring trip and I love every minute of it.
I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to Thailand and Lebanon to raise funds and awareness for both these amazing projects. Wild at Heart Foundation’s reach is truly astounding, and I love that we’re not afraid to explore how we can help on a global scale, roll up our sleeves, and get stuck in alongside some truly inspiring partners and organisations.
If you were given £100,000 to spend on one rescue project, where/what would you most want to support?
So tough to say! There are so many places in the world where stray dogs face unspeakable hardships, and it’s hard to choose where to start. Having worked in the Caribbean in the past, I know that there’s a lot of desire to help reduce the suffering (and number) of dogs on the streets, but lack of money, resource and specialist expertise gets in the way. I’d love to visit areas in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Barbados and work alongside communities that want to help their stray dog population but just need more support with which to do so.
Street dogs in Mexico: image courtesy of Smiles4Sale
Who was the first dog in your life?
I grew up with an amazing collie called Badger. He was quite literally my best friend – I used to take my tape recorder into his bed and sing to him (poor boy!), and whenever we had to make presents for our parents at school, I’d make them for Badger. I genuinely believe that growing up with a dog in the house is the best ever experience, and I love when our adopters who have / are expecting young children welcome a pup into their homes.
Badger c.1993 inspecting the latest cardboard-and-tinfoil creation I’d made for him!
Who is your current four-legged partner(s) in crime?
Panda from Lesvos! She’s the best co-worker I could ask for; although she snores more than your average colleague, and demands tug-of-war breaks every couple of hours which I didn’t used to have to contend with when I worked in an office.
Where in the world is your absolute favourite dog walking spot?
I live just on the edge of Ashridge forest and I don’t get tired of the woodland walks on my doorstep. But I loved walking in the Lake District when I went for a holiday last year, and it was wonderful to watch Panda taking the Fells in her stride!
What’s your best / most obscure “doggy fact”?
A blood hound’s sense of smell is so reliable that it can be used as evidence in court. But I think I love this fact mainly because it makes me think of a dog taking to the witness stand and testifying…
And finally, what’s the one thing that the Wild at Heart Foundation community should know about you?!
I used to be a scuba diving instructor, and it’s still my all time favourite thing to do in my spare time. Diving is a great way to travel the world, and takes you to some of the most incredible, remote places (both above and below the waves!) Along with dogs, sharks are one of my favourite animals – I think they’ve suffered from bad PR and don’t deserve the villainous stigma they’ve been labelled with!