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Chine McDonald

Why I Work in International Aid: Chine McDonald, Christian Aid

Ruth Leigh
4 min

How would you describe your charity and your role within it?

I’m the Head of Community Fundraising and Public Engagement at Christian Aid. I look after our church fundraising, media, public engagement, and PR, as well as overseeing our significant fundraising campaigns during Christian Aid Week, Harvest and Christmas.


Why and how were you called into this area of work?

I’ve always been absolutely passionate about Christianity being a force for good in the world. I want us to be good news. International development is aimed at helping the poorest and most marginalised communities around the world to have justice, dignity and equality, and that’s an amazing way for us to show our Christian witness. I don’t think it’s necessarily about making other people Christians, but more about showing the love of God to them. I see what I do as showing the heart of God to the poor.


Why is Christian Aid Week so important?

Christian Aid Week is the moment in our annual calendar where we rally together 55,000 UK supporters to fundraise in their communities and churches, raising money for some of the programmes we work on around the world. It’s our biggest fundraising moment. We usually raise around £7 million that week, due to the wonderful generosity of our supporters. It’s all about connecting communities with each other so that they can help their global neighbours in difficult situations.


When the pandemic hit, what happened?

Last year, we were all prepped to headline with the story of climate change in Kenya. Covid hit and we didn’t cancel Christian Aid Week. We moved very quickly towards our coronavirus response. In a way, for the first time, we had stories that UK communities could understand as they too were experiencing the impact of the virus. It was easy to understand how even more devastating it would be for the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

We pivoted towards more digital fundraising. We brought out an e-envelope rather than the iconic red envelope through the door. Our supporters were incredibly creative and innovative. They went on walks, shaved their heads and ran a digital quiz. We raised £4 million due to the incredible passion and generosity of our supporters.


And what about this year?

It’s more complex in some ways as we’re in that strange in-between time. We’re harnessing the creativity from last year alongside person-to-person events. We’ve returned to climate change in Kenya – long after Covid has gone, this will still be the biggest crisis facing the future of humanity.


How has Christian Aid operated through the pandemic?

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters, we haven’t lost a huge amount of funding. We’ve cut back on our expenditure – obviously there’s been no international travel – and we’ve worked hard to make sure we can safeguard our income for the future of Christian Aid. The pandemic has been a great leveller. We’re all in the same boat. Normally, our team is safe in the UK, dealing with drought, or famine or flooding. With the pandemic, we’re all in it together and I think that’s fascinating for the future of the organisation, and in helping us to understand each other.


What motivates you to do this job?

Our supporters are so passionate about the organisation. It’s amazing for me to see that every day in my role in community fundraising. It’s hugely important to me to see the impact we can have on some of the poorest countries around the world. Value is placed on all of those people with whom we work in the direst situations, whether it be humanitarian disasters, conflict or other types of crises. God doesn’t favour certain groups of people in certain countries. He created us all in his image and each of us is worthy of inherent value dignity and worth. I see that working out daily in my role.


What Bible verses inspire and sustain you?

My absolute favourite Bible verse is Ephesians 3:20-21.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”

I love this scripture because it gives me the sense of God being bigger than we can ever imagine. He wants the same sense of value, worth and love for me as he does for a grandmother living in Kenya facing the impact of climate change.


You can give to the work of Christian Aid here.