Con­grat­u­la­tions to friend of SOFII Lyn­dall Stein!

We are delight­ed that the great Lyn­dall Stein, fundrais­er and activist — and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to SOFII — won the Life­time Con­tri­bu­tion Award at last mon­th’s Nation­al Fundrais­ing Awards. Thank you to the Insti­tute of Fundrais­ing for let­ting us share this piece, and to pho­tog­ra­ph­er Lau­rie Sparham.

Written by
Joe Burnett
August 31, 2017

South African anti-apartheid activist and fundraising expert Lyndall Stein is rightly a legend across the sector, which is why SOFII has always seen it as a privilege that she has written for us. It was with joy therefore that we saw her awarded the Lifetime Contribution Award at the 2017 National Fundraising Awards.

When the ANC approached Sylvester Stein and his daughter, Lyndall, to help them raise money for the struggle against apartheid they didn’t – in her words - ‘know where to start’. They weren’t daunted and went on to raise a huge amount of money. The young Lyndall’s reward was to meet Nelson Mandela – and get a kiss too. Lucky thing.

Lyndall has been a star in the sector for more than three decades both in the UK and with an impact internationally. She has never been shy to express her point of view to make a difference on an issue she cares passionately for. And she is very passionate about her causes.

A leading authority on campaigning, income generation and communications, she has worked for a wide range of organisations, including Care International, Bond, Concern UK, ActionAid International, the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Big Issue Foundation, the African National Congress. In the 1980s she chaired Votes for Freedom, the initiative that raised several million for South Africa’s first democratic election.

Lyndall is a trustee of Reprieve and chair of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation and is also founding editor of Positive Lives, a photographic project showing the global human response to HIV/AIDS, an exhibition seen by over two million people worldwide.

A kiss as a young child with her best friend in Soweto, South Africa was published on the front page of Drum, Sylvester Stein’s, her father, renowned cultural magazine; it meant her family had to flee apartheid South Africa. Lyndall is white. Her best friend was black. Her family, thereafter, were political exiles and refugees. Thus, began her lifelong commitment to the causes of the underdog.

Drum was a truly African magazine that became a vehicle for empowerment. At its height, it enjoyed a circulation throughout Africa of over 400,000.

In Lyndall’s own words, 

The most important thing I have learned is that it is a privilege to be a fundraiser. When you are working on the toughest issues in the hardest times, you know that your blood, sweat and tears will be turned to gold, that your work will be meaningful, relevant and will matter, that you will be able to look back and say, along with Edith Piaf, ‘non, je ne regrette rien’. Of course there are other benefits... like getting kissed by George Michael and Nelson Mandela!

About the author: Joe Burnett

Joe Burnett

Joe Burnett (he/him) cut his teeth as an intern at the Association of French Fundraisers, he then embarked on a career in advertising before returning to where his heart lay: in the charities sector. Joe is passionate about fundraising and how it can be a force for positive change in the world. 

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