We asked Alan Whitten about his experiences as a fundraising volunteer for Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. From playing a pivotal role in securing the five million dollar transformational gift that led to the naming of the Gary Beach Health Centre, through to Chair of the Board of the Foundation and Epic Walker, here is what he had to say.
Why is the hospital important you and the people in the west end of Ottawa?
My family and I have lived in Kanata or West Ottawa for over 30 years, and many members of my family and friends have had many visits to the hospital, so we know that QCH is very important to West Ottawa. With the expansion and the broad range of facilities and treatments available at QCH, it is becoming more and more important to everyone in Ottawa.
How did you get involved with the Hospital Foundation and who recruited you?
Melanie Adams had heard that I had recently completed a Board term at another non-profit so she reached out. Melanie explained how healthcare funding in Ontario makes community support essential. What she said made sense, so I decided to get involved.
Asking for a donation is not easy, why do you it?
I have loads of experience in business arranging financing and raising money, so it’s not as difficult for me as it is for many others; Somebody has to do it!
Do have a particularly funny or difficult story to tell about fundraising?
Too many to list… the staff and volunteers at QCHF are the best, and enjoy their jobs, so its always a pleasure to be involved.
What is the best part of the fundraising process for you? Making the ask, saying thank you or something else?
Meeting people who are learning about the hospital and its needs and seeing their reaction when they realize that they can or have made a difference to the community. I also greatly enjoy hearing personal stories about better care or treatment that has made a difference or saved a life.
Is there one thing that is consistent about the people you’ve worked with who are donors and/or volunteers for QCH?
They are all dedicated and passionate about making a difference for their community.
What is it about QCH that makes people want to give major donations?
Senior leadership have a great track record of accountability to their donors; That is, “here is what we have done with your gift and this is the impact you have made to your community” Many in Ottawa who have experienced success also want to give back and ‘pay it forward’
What is one piece of advice you would have to newer fundraising volunteers? Do not be intimidated by past success of others, just start with one, friend, associate, client or colleague, and make that one introduction, and see what happens…. That one friend, etc won’t judge you poorly, one day they will probably thank you.