Sunday, 6 November 2016

Spending a penny

This weekend I visited a new arts venue, The Poly in Falmouth.

I wanted to share something I spotted which should encourage us to ask, are we taking every opportunity to ask people to support our work?

The Poly certainly are, because whilst using their facilities (as a fully captive audience) I spotted this on the back of the door.





 Rachel

Family Fortunes Major Gifts Style

A few weeks ago I faced a dawning sense of panic. I due to speak at the Institute of Fundraising Conference Scottish Conference on the topic of Major Gifts and I had nothing left to say.

I'd talked about setting Major Gifts programmes up from scratch.

I'd talked about Major Gifts for the small organisation.

I'd talked about Building a Case for Support and Making the Ask.

I'd talked a lot (I do that, given half a chance).

So on this occasion I decided to spread the load. I sent out an appeal to the amazing Major Gifts fundraisers in my network and asked them to answer five important questions. No less than 25 of them responded.



Remember Les Dennis in Family Fortunes? Well get yourself in that mindset because here...we... go...!

I asked...
Our survey said... 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The importance of being busy...and being not busy



I recently returned to work after a lovely, relaxing holiday. I had no wifi while I was away for the first time in forever, and despite the irritation at not being able to check the weather forecast for the next day (sunny) or how to get to the town (down the hill, aim for the sea), it gave me my first opportunity to reflect and think in such a long time.




I gorged on books and one of the reads recommended to me was “Reasons to stay alive” by Matt Haig about depression and what it feels like. I’m grateful to have not suffered from this debilitating disease myself, but one of the stories he recounted from a period of depression that really stood out to me was about a time that he had forced himself to go to the cornershop: it made him feel so incredibly awful:


Friday, 17 June 2016

Ways to succeed at a Fundraising Interview

You're nervous. Hell, I'm nervous and I'm sitting on the other side of the table. The recruiting side.

Yes, my friend, this is an interview.


Image by Dani Lurie via Flickr (CC)


First things first, you need to know that I'm rooting for you. You've put in a lot of effort to get this far - you've polished your CV, crafted your personal statement, got advice from your partner, your mum, the bloke next door. It's a few hours of your time - if you're dedicated, maybe even a whole weekend.

I know it's taken time and I appreciate.

It's taken me time too. It's taken a while to craft that job description and recruitment pack, to diarise interviews and craft questions which match up to the job specification and competencies. Then there's the sifting and shortlisting. That takes a while.

All in all it's taken us both a good deal of effort to get to this point, so I'm rooting for you. I want you to do your best because this is my one shot at finding the right person. If you've got the skills I need I want to know about them.

I need you to tell me about them. Because I can only go by what you say and do on the day.

On exercises...

Monday, 13 June 2016

Dear Fundraising Candidate... 9 Ways to Improve your Fundraising CV

Dear Fundraising Candidate,

It can be daunting applying for a job. It's hard to stand outside of yourself and understand your own experience and achievements. It's harder still to package them up in a succinct, easy to read, stand-out two pager.


Filling in an application form is even worse. All the fiddly little fields and then a great blank space where you need to sell experience to people you don't know and who don't know you. You've got a job description and a person specification. You know you can do the job. But you don't know who is going to read this thing.


What do they want you to say? Are you interpreting it correctly?


And damn it, you've only got Thursday night to do the thing and your week is insane. Argh, you're tired and Outlander is on, and you really fancy a glass of wine and an early night. How did the deadline creep up like that?


Crap, your CV is six years out of date. When did you do that management course anyway?  You wish you'd made a note of the dates. And why didn't you update your CV when got that amazing gift. How much did you raise in the summer appeal? Gah, you can't remember.


Friend, I'm here to tell you that it's hard on this side too. I'm fitting in recruitment on top of my day job. I don't have time to recruit. Nothing stops to make space for shortlisting and I'm a person down - that's why I'm recruiting.


Interviews - yikes, that's a whole day out of the office! I've fundraising proposals to write you know. Targets don't raise themselves. And quite frankly, I like Outlander too.
It took me ages to put together the person spec and get everything agreed with HR and designing the whole interview process was an epic task.


I just want to find YOU.


The perfect person for my team. The person who will love this job and be motivated. Please, please, please make it easy for me.


Here are some things you need to know:

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Do you know what your next fundraising job will be?


Late Spring. The penury of the post-Christmas period is long since past. Sunshine has given you a warm glow of confidence. You're ready to shrug off the coils of your current role and step boldly into the future. Yep, it's job hunting season - or so it seems from the number of people I know busily updating their CVs.

Last year I participated in a panel discussion about fundraising careers along with two fabulous fundraisers - Chief Executive, Ros Neely and Institute of Fundraising's Best You Can Be ambassador, sole fundraiser, Julie Christie. It was evident that both were in jobs they loved.

So how did they get there?

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Falling out of love - when a charity gets it wrong

Fundraising is all about relationships. The problem with relationships is that when one party gets it wrong, the other party can end up feeling a bit hurt.

And the problem for charities is that a hurt donor is very likely to take their love – and their money – elsewhere.

I’ve recently had a bad relationship with a big charity. I’m not going to name them, we’ll call them Charity X. But I will tell you where it all when wrong in our romance, in the hope that we can all learn from their mistakes.