It has been almost two months since Luis Alvarado Martínez moved to the AEGEE headoffice to start working as the Corporate Relations Officer of AEGEE-Europe. Following the announcement of an agreement between Monarch Airlines and AEGEE-Europe, we interviewed him to find out which direction AEGEE is taking in terms of fundraising (FR).
The AEGEEan: What has been your focus in terms of fundraising for AEGEE-Europe?
Luis: The idea from the start was to establish an official FR structure which would be sustainable and could be used in the future. The FR that has been done in AEGEE previously was sometimes very good – for example last year with Mirosław Krzanik and Kathrin Renner for the Study Fair – but never had a constant structure. This is what Marko Grdošić and I wanted to change. We wanted to have a new, official structure and an FR strategy for AEGEE-Europe which can be used both on the European and the local level. This would open a new scope of possibilities for our network and our members.
What does the new fundraising structure consist of?
It is about offering different types of partnership possibilities, namely educational, corporate, institutional, career, research, promotional, and supporters.
Besides developing this structure, what other projects have you been working on?
Apart from the FR structure, I have been working on the Study & Career Fair for Agora Enschede, contacting universities and other institutions. I have also worked on the concept of a future FR Committee to be implemented in the network. It would be an independent body working on study fairs, grant applications in cooperation with the CD and the Foundation AEGEE Trust Fund (FATF), managing corporate relations with companies, foundations and charities, patrons, working on merchandising, and arranging internship opportunities for our members. If we have a body which will boost this work, imagine all the possibilities we could have in AEGEE!
The concept of official merchandising for AEGEE-Europe has also been developed. The reason for this is that we are currently lacking common items such as a badge, a t-shirt or a sweater… Something which everybody could easily recognize and identify themselves with.
What can we expect from the Study & Career Fair at Agora Enschede?
This fair is under the patronage of European Commissioner Laszló Andor, who is in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. During the event we will have Universities like Central European University, Antwerp Management School and University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. La Laguna 2015 as European Youth Capital candidate will also be there to promote their project. We will have workshops organised by the European Personnel Selection Office and by the Youth in Action National Agency from the Netherlands. Once again we will have a questionaire about youth mobility by our partner Study Portals, which our members can fill in and win a prize.
Which agreements have been made since the beginning of your term as Corporate Relations Officer?
We currently have agreements with Monarch Airlines and Brussels Airlines which both give discounts to our members and their friends. We’ve established partnerships with Peace Revolution, Antwerp Management School, EU Careers, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and La Laguna as European Youth Capital Candidate for 2015. I am in contact with Interrail and Eurorail to have them as official partners. Also, we will soon reach an agreement with Hostelworld to get discounts for our members. And there are many more ideas that I would like to develop.
What is it like to work together with Marko Grdošić and the rest of the Comite Directeur (CD)?
Working with Marko has been amazing! I must say that at the beginning I thought it would be pretty much me doing secondary tasks as an assistant. Marko has given me freedom and flexibility to work, and I’ve been able to contribute with my own ideas, so I am very happy about us working together. He prepared me for the job before my arrival to the CD house, so from day one I’ve been able to focus on my tasks and work properly, without any lost time.
Regarding other CD members, it has also been quite nice. From the beginning I felt like a part of the team which I appreciate very much.
What have you learned from fundraising for AEGEE-Europe?
I’ve learned that we have to start fundraising much earlier before an event. Also, I see that having FR as a task for one of the CD members with other responsibilities is not an option. There are many possibilities for AEGEE but I am afraid that even one person might not be enough. One person can coordinate the process, but there should be a whole team working on FR.
If you will be in the CD the next term, what changes or improvements would you make in order to achieve more results in terms of fundraising?
I would get a Fundraising Committee, a team of FR experts working as soon as possible. We have incredibly valuable people in AEGEE who simply have a talent when it comes to doing FR. There is a long list of potential candidates whom I would for sure love to have in the FRC.
The final aim is to achieve better prices, offers and possibilities which will make the life of our members easier and more fun.
Written by Zsófia Komáromi, AEGEE-Budapest
Photos by Bálint Erdősi and Luis Alvarado Martínez
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