Charity Profile Series - Holly Sheehan, Great Potentials Foundation

Holly Sheehan is the amazing Fundraising Manager at Great Potentials Foundation – a Kiwi charity working for and with children, young people and families to promote family function, relieve suffering, release potential, reduce disparities in New Zealand society, reduce crime and violence and break the cycle of disadvantage. It’s no easy task, but one Holly takes in her stride having worked in the not-for-profit sector for a number of years. In this edition of our Charity Profile series, she shares one of the major misconceptions about working for charitable organisations as well as what gives her hope for the future of giving.

How long have you been working in the not-for-profit sector? 

I’ve been working in this sector for eight years.

What made you want to work for a charity?

I always wanted my job to mean more than just my salary, but I didn’t have a clear idea of how I would achieve this. 

My final paper at Uni required me to get some work experience and I ended up being offered an internship at Ronald McDonald House. Originally, I thought my internship would be something to tick the box so I could get my degree, but it ended up being so much more. 

I feel in love with the organisation, the people, and the industry. But most importantly I realised that working for an NFP meant I would be working with an organisation that met my values, my why. So I’ve stayed in the industry ever since. 

What’s the biggest misconception about charities or working for a charity that you hear?

Charities are so often viewed as the poor cousin, that need the occasional handout and are often the place people think of last to partner with, or work for. 

The world we live in is changing. This can be seen in the way people consume products and services and their desire for social impact. This change offers charities an amazing opportunity to break the poor cousin misconception and become an organisation that people want to create meaningful partnerships with, and even build a career with.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Great Potentials Foundation?

For a long time, my passion was working for organisations that supported people and communities through a crisis. These charities are facing a massive increase in the demand for their services, and as a result of this, my view of our community needs has changed. Now, I want to be working for an organisation that is focused on long-term solutions, that helps solve problems before they happen, ultimately taking some of the pressure off crisis organisations. 

Giving people long term solutions to their problems is a core function of Great Potentials. How they do this varies, be it through education, mentoring, or targeted social services, but their why never wavers. This is my favourite thing about working for Great Potentials, their why.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that charities in New Zealand face?

The competition for the charitable dollar is incredibly high. The number of charities in New Zealand is massive and duplicating services is very common. Charities need to more effectively articulate their need and their impact, and start collaborating with other organisations to ensure their survival in the ever-changing world.

What gives you hope for the future of charitable giving?

The collaboration and innovation that is coming out of the NFP sector and how the public responds with such generosity. Nearly every day I see something a charity has put out and I think to myself how cool is that. It is inspiring me to do amazing things with my organisation. 

Did you know you can make your donations to Great Potentials Foundation go even further by signing up to Supergenerous and choosing to regift your donation rebate? It’s an awesome way to extend your generosity and help them continue their awesome mahi.

You can also claim and regift your donation rebates for any donation you have made over the past four years to a registered charitable organisation in New Zealand. Every bit counts, especially during times of lockdown.‍

Sign up now

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