Inside Charity X: Spinal Research

Robin holding his medal


Robin Plowman, Mass Participation Events Fundraiser, from Spinal Research talks about how small charities can have a great impact.

Can you explain what your charity does in seven words?

Changing the future of spinal cord injury.

And what you do in three…

Support event fundraisers.

How many people work at the charity?


What’s the biggest mistake Spinal Research has made?

I wouldn’t say we’ve made many mistakes, but we have had issues with our public profile being low which has affected our ability to recruit event participants.

What did you learn from this?

To not only raise our public profile as opportunities present themselves, but to actively seek out opportunities. And to not be afraid to do so. We can’t stand still; we need to continually innovate to spread the word about our work into spinal cord injury repair.

What’s the most incredible thing anyone has done to raise money for your charity?

Without question the person who has created massive public awareness and huge sponsorship levels is Claire Lomas MBE. Claire has a spinal cord injury, but came to me asking if she could complete the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2012 using a robotic suit. Not only did she complete the course in 17 days, she also created worldwide press coverage and raised over £200,000


What would people be surprised to learn about Spinal Research?

That’s hard. It might be how small we are or possibly that we are respected by top neuroscientists around the world.

What do you like most about using Virgin Money Giving?

The low cost to the charity is certainly the best thing about Virgin Money Giving, but its ease of use and the fact that it’s constantly being updated and improved is great too. The campaign tools are also fantastic.

What will people in the private sector never understand about working for a charity?

The charity sector is very open and honest – peers from other charities will share ideas and information to help us all be more successful and raise more money for all our important causes.

What advice would you give to any charity that is just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to talk to other charities, ask for advice, and gain insight. The charity sector is professional and its members have a wide range of knowledge and skills, so utilise them!

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