Community Leader: Darren

By Marike Littlefair


1st August '17

Meet Darren Sandford, Chuffed.org's Community Leader from Melbourne. Darren comes from an IT background, and is passionate about human rights in developing countries. Read on to learn how Darren successfully combined crowdfunding, social marketing, and event organising to smash his fundraising goal...

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career (or life) so far.

I'm a dad to two teenage boys. I was born and raised in Melbourne. I had a 25 year career in Information Technology, in the banking and finance industry. I love photography, guitar, singing and inspiring people.

Why did you decide to become a Chuffed.org community leader?

2017 has seen a change in direction for me. Instead of managing IT plans, people and processes, I've taken a bit of sabbatical to reset my direction. I'm building on the skills that my corporate career gave me in training, coaching and leading to educate and inspire people. When I saw the opportunity to combine these skills with helping people that want to make a positive difference, using the Chuffed platform, I jumped at it immediately. 

How did your crowdfunding journey begin? 

My partner's mother runs REAVI-Baho, a network of NGO's in Burundi, Africa that provides support and assistance to survivors of sexual and gender based violence. Being currently located in Melbourne, she was feeling distanced from the cause she was passionate about. I encouraged her to think about what we could do from Melbourne. The answer was to create a fundraising campaign so we could send the funds directly to the cause in Africa. Being from an IT background, I evaluated the functionality and cost of the different crowdfunding platforms. Chuffed.org came up number 1 in my evaluation. We had a little bit of guidance on charity marketing from a business coach contact, but we got right onto creating our campaign following Chuffed's help guides. We knew that video and pictures were important, so we recorded an interview about the organisation and our campaign, wrote a compelling story and gathered photos from the organisation in Burundi. We launched our campaign and ran our social marketing and fundraising event in parallel. The excitement of seeing donations flow in and getting comments and support was really fulfilling. The volunteers in Burundi couldn't believe how much we were able to raise, without government grants. From having no funds to run a project, to setting the goal of registering 80 children for birth certificates and health care to increasing that goal to 300 children and mothers thanks to our campaign exceeded their wildest dreams.

 What social cause are passionate about and why?

I'm passionate about women's rights and education in developing countries. I believe in fairness and equality and I think there is work to do to ensure equal opportunities for all. 

What relevant fundraising or other experience do you have that you can share with participants in the workshop?

I designed and co-managed a fundraising campaign in 2017 called "Gift a Birth Certificate in Burundi". We exceeded our $8,000 goal and raised $14,000 in 40 days. We incorporated "REVO", a fashion, music and charity auction fundraising event to raise awareness of the campaign and create a social media buzz. We tapped into enthusiastic and powerful women in Melbourne to be our designers, makeup artists and catwalk models. I would like to share the trials and triumphs of our campaign to inspire and empower others to smash their goals and make a difference.

What social cause project or campaign on Chuffed will the funds raised through the workshop support?

REAVI-Baho, who are supporting and empowering survivors of sexual and gender based violence in Burundi, Africa.

To get more info and tickets to Darren's Workshop on 14th August 2017, click here.