Reflections from a fundraising mentor

#GivingTuesday- the international day of giving- can be a great way to make the general public aware of your fundraising efforts, but it can also be a great opportunity to focus attention on fundraising within an organisation. See Gemma's post on this earlier this year.

HLF’s Catalyst grants have shown the importance of ‘a strong culture of collaboration' between heritage organisations facing similar challenges. Organisations also have a lot to gain by embedding  fundraising across all departments rather than relying on an ever more pressurised fundraising team or, in many instances, an individual, to find the cash.

This year I have been lucky to be part of the Institute of Fundraising’s mentoring scheme in the West Midlands. Pairing early career fundraisers with more experienced professionals, the scheme aims to share knowledge and experience between fundraisers from across the third sector.

What has struck me being involved in the programme are the number of sole fundraisers out there who feel isolated in their role. Working remotely from the main activity of the organisation, income targets can seem daunting.  It can be in the best interest of an organisation to involve everyone in fundraising efforts for a number of reasons:

The more people understand how much it costs the organisation to do all their great work, the more they can be called on to convince others. Briefing your guides or volunteers on what your running costs are can help them feel confident answering questions from the public, but can also make them fundraising ambassadors. Staff, volunteers and trustees are excellent sources of new fundraising networks. They may know local trusts you haven’t encountered or live next door to that wealthy donor you’ve been dreaming of!

It shares the load. Even a small amount of support can make a big difference. Big funders like HLF receive more good quality applications than they can support. Involving other staff and volunteers in researching local trusts and foundations or organising a fundraising event can help raise the necessary cash, but also increases your likelihood of attracting other funds, as the amount you need to request from the big funders can be reduced.

It focuses efforts on the wider plan not just the cash. Colleagues can bring strategic input and help fundraisers think about the bigger picture not just the income targets. Getting to work with ‘the troops on the ground’ can really help fundraisers understand what they are fundraising for and Build the case for your project.

Please share any examples you have of embedding fundraising across your organisation- in Catalyst projects or beyond!

View Catherine Kemp's profile Catherine Kemp Dec 1 2015 - 10:56am
Back to top of page