Last week I had a rare day out of the office to attend the 15th birthday party of client Make Some Noise, a charity using music for positive change.

I’ve worked with the Make Some Noise team long enough now to know what they do, where they work and who they work with. Over this time I’ve met most of their staff too, so while its always lovely to be invited to a party and catch up with familiar faces, I saw the day as an opportunity for me to fulfil our Fundraising Central pledge of volunteering for each client for one day each year. The day turned out to be so much more than that.

I returned from the party with a head full of memories and snapshots, like the sheer joy on the faces of toddlers taking part in a Soundpots music and movement session, and the heartbreaking lyrics of a song written by children in forces families as part of the Create Connect project.

I was lucky to have some time with sixth formers from Two Rivers Secondary Special School in Tamworth who had come to join the party and perform. While they wouldn’t disclose their song choices in advance (top secret, hints of Miley Cyrus and Ed Sheeran) they did tell me they were excited and a little bit nervous about their performance.

Half an hour later, I was in the audience watching them perform – a cover followed by a song they had written themselves. The lyrics of their own composition were all about their experience at Two Rivers and their hopes and dreams for the future as they go on into their adult lives. I was blown away – there was no evidence of the nerves they had spoken about and such joy and enthusiasm was projected from them all. The lyrics, too, were fantastic and must have been very moving for staff at Two Rivers to hear.

When I’m completing application forms on behalf of Make Some Noise, I can reel off their impressive stats, state their outcomes and fill pages demonstrating the difference their work makes. But no words could ever capture what is evident when you get to see the projects ‘live’ and speak to the children and young people taking part.

Today I’m back in the office and working on another application for them. I’m thinking about all those special snapshots and how I translate those moments into sentences and paragraphs that do the projects justice. I feel more determined and motivated than ever to help them get the money they need to keep doing what they do so well.

The day of volunteering was always meant to be the chance for us at Fundraising Central to ‘give something back’ but also for us to connect with the work of clients. I’ve worked in the sector for nearly 20 years – I know this is important. In the day-to-day reality of meeting deadlines, calls, meetings and reports, these ‘days out’ fall down the priority ladder. My experience has reminded me of just how important it is to make the time to do this. It made me reflect on the need for fundraisers to have the experience of seeing first-hand the work being done by their charities – sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I know that it is often not the case.

The event celebrated  all the achievements of the thousands of children and young people involved with Make Some Noise and thanked  staff and partners for all their hard work over the past 15 years. It also provided an opportunity to look to the future, to share plans for how the organisation can move forward and continue. We’re not talking a lavish event here, just a modest gathering, but the ripple effect of the day will no doubt be huge as everyone there will have felt part of something special.

So, please do take the time to celebrate achievements and think of opportunities for all staff to see first-hand the success stories of your organisation it will be worth the time I promise!