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‘Humble to a fault’: Blue Door fundraiser recognized after doubling funds raised for homeless

November 15, 2021

November 13th, 2021. By: Michele Weisz,, Original Article. 

Chosen from more than 500 nominations, Rachael Sedman was one of five finalists for a Charity Village award for her admirable achievements during a pandemic year

It came as no surprise to those who know her that out of 500 submissions from charitable and non-profit organizations across Canada, Blue Door’s senior resource development manager Rachael Sedman became one of five finalists for the 2021 Charity Village Best Individual Fundraising Professional award.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone at Blue Door who isn’t eager to sing Sedman’s praises. Her colleagues were so impressed with her fundraising success that they nominated her for the award.

“It’s well deserved,” said Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite.

“Hats off to Rachael who has surpassed every fundraising goal, engaged the community, and is a leader in Blue Door’s rapid organizational and program growth,” said Emmy Kelly, Blue Door COO.

“When they nominated me it was very much an opportunity for the team to just recognize me within the team, ‘we think you’re doing great work and we appreciate you.’ I did not think I would make it to the finalists so that was very cool and very exciting,” said Sedman.

Sedman began her position in early 2019 and the pandemic hit shortly thereafter.

“She didn’t miss a beat,” said Braithewaite.

As the only staff member dedicated to fundraising, Sedman increased fundraising revenue by 54 per cent in 2020 and helped the organization increase its holiday gifts program by 88 per cent.

She also developed a Giving Tuesday campaign that doubled the previous years’ fundraising total.

“Rachael’s humble to a fault. She’s a very kind, talented humble individual and I think that makes her a good fundraiser. She really gets how to build real relationships with donors, with funders, with her team. She knows how to tell a story so people understand it and want to be part of the solution and that’s a real talent,” said Braithwaite.

With an initial goal of raising $80,000 during Blue Door’s second Coldest Night of the Year in 2021,  Sedman’s efforts helped the event raise over $165,000.

“It’s a tough time for everyone but if you’re experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, it’s especially tough, terrifying,” she said.

Sedman was amazed at how generous the community was being during such a difficult time. “It really speaks to the community rallying to support people experiencing homelessness,” she said.

She is already making plans for the next Coldest Night of the Year and looking ahead to Blue Door’s upcoming 40th anniversary — though she hopes Blue Door “won’t be around for another 40 years.”.

Though she didn’t win the award, it doesn’t diminish her passion for fundraising and her belief in the work that Blue Door does.

“I’m not personally motivated by the award but it’s a very tough time for everyone and I certainly appreciate my team nominating me and the support that I get from them.”