We had such a pleasant talk with Marion Schumann, Co-founder of I&M Fundraisers. Marion Schumann shared her passion and enthusiasm for serving the underserved as part of the Fashion Minority Alliance Fundraising team.
Let’s talk about the beginning of your career. How did you get started in fundraising and what first ignited your passion?
I started my career as a Teacher of Languages, then went into the Private Sector; then the Local Authority Sector, Housing Association Sector and then the Voluntary Sector. It was working for a Black Led Housing Association that got me in to raise funds for our Vulnerable Young Teenage Women. I started winning grants from Local Authorities, then the Private Sector and then the Charity and Voluntary Sectors. Also, I did some training in raising funds and fell in love with the whole idea of winning money for poor people in our communities. I saw the changes the funds made to peoples’ lives and that ignited my passion.
How did you open the door to get into fundraising?
There was no door, I just learnt to raise funds for projects, which would go on to enable, empower and provide employment and education for disadvantaged Black and White Working Class People.
What has been your best learning experience to date working within the industry?
Listening to peoples’ needs and taken action to meet those needs as best as I can.
If you could go back in time, and give some advice to your younger professional self, what would it be?
Be patient and always keep focussed.
Do you have any funny anecdotes you would like to share with us?
Turning up at places and people expecting someone White and German, instead, it’s me, Black, African, Jewish!! This makes me laugh!!
What would you say were your “milestone moments” so far?
Having raised over 8 million in 14 years for My last organisation and projects in Hammersmith & Fulham; Borough of Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon.
What has driven your success?
I am a workaholic and success-driven; as a Black Woman I have always had to work 3 times as hard as my Male, White Colleagues, so winning funding for Projects in the Community was of great importance to me, so to win was the name of the game. I would work long hours including coming in on Saturdays and Sundays and staying late each night until the job was done!
Why is intersectionality important for the future of any industry e.g. ethics, sustainability, intersectional feminism?
I strongly believe in discipline and being able to plan well in advance, integral to this is diversity, equal access for all, ensuring everyone is well trained to work in a less stressed atmosphere. Sustainability and longevity are important for any industry; therefore ensuring people are upskilled, trained and encouraged and led properly can only be a winning ticket. Ethics, accountability and ensuring equality will improve success and also create loyalty among the Staff.