Fundraising Feature: Sharon Stynes of Very Special Kids

Helping Hand Group turns the spotlight onto one of the most consistent and hard-working charity fundraisers in Victoria, Mrs. Sharon Stynes of Very Special Kids!

We recently chatted with Sharon, and hope that our conversation will assist you, our valued partners in fundraising, in considering and planning any future events. This conversation may provide some guidance on how to improve your own events. It may also provide a better understanding of the long-lasting impact of partnering with Helping Hand Group in your fundraising endeavours.

How long have you worked in the charity sector?

“From 1998 to 2014, I worked at The Reach Foundation, and I am currently with Very Special Kids, where I’ve been working for the last four years as the Fundraising & Events Manager.”

Why did you first get into the charity sector?

“My brother, Jim Stynes, co-founded a charity where I volunteered for the first four years, and then an opportunity came up to work there. I jumped at the opportunity to help!”

What inspires you the most about working in the charity sector?

“Making a difference. I am very passionate about supporting young people and working for a cause.”

How did you first come across Helping Hand Group, and why do they continue to be your company of choice?

“I organised a Gala Ball each year, and as part of the fundraising, we ran a silent auction and were raising about $5,000. Helping Hand Group approached me early on, and at first it sounded too good to be true! I then learnt a little more and thought, ‘Why not give it a go? If it doesn’t work out, it won’t cost us anything.’ The first year, we raised more than double the amount previously, and yet we didn’t have to do anything. Helping Hand Group did all the processing on the night and followed up purchasers for payments. The second year, we included our own items, so we had a variety of items. We decided to include lesser value items so more guests would feel included. We continue to use Helping Hand Group at events where we can. They are always very helpful and a pleasure to work with.  Even though we now supply half of the items, they still run the silent auction for us at the event, and process and follow up on all items.”

Over your twenty years of partnering with Helping Hand Group, what changes and innovations have you found most impressive?

“When Ballot Bidding came out, I was very impressed. We went from $20,000 to $100,000 in funds raised! The event that we now use Helping Hand Group at is not suited to Ballot Bidding, so another platform that they have developed is their electronic bidding platform, which has been very well received by our guests.”

Hundreds of holidays have been auctioned at your events, and you have also purchased holidays for your own family to use. Why do you feel they make the ideal charity auction item?

“My family and I love Bali. We have purchased holidays with Goodwill Getaways, and have been very impressed with the villas, and their very friendly staff. If you are planning a getaway, it’s a great way to help make a difference, as well as enjoying a great family escape.”

What has been your most memorable auction moment from the past two decades?

“That would have been at one of the Reach Foundation Balls when Jim Stynes helped with the auction and sold a guitar from the rock band U2 for $15,000. Very impressive!”

If we can help with your next fundraiser, do not hesitate to contact us today!