The dangers of putting your professional development on the backburner

When you’re hitting fundraising targets, donor retention is stellar, and your board is giving kudos, it can be tempting to rest on your professional laurels.

When everything is ticking along smoothly, we often think, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, just as a car that’s running like a dream still requires regular maintenance to operate at peak performance, so does your fundraising skill set.

Well, well. What do you know?

Reflect on how much professional development you participated in during the year prior to Covid.

How often did you attend trainings? Which conferences did you sign up for and why? Did you head off to the same events you’ve been to for ages to catch up with your fellow fundraisers and listen to a few of your favourite presenters? Or did you completely commit yourself to attending a full programme of sessions that stretched your knowledge and tangibly helped you move the need on developing your fundraising skills?

Remember that going to a conference is not the same as actively participating in your learning. Once while I was attending a session at a fundraising conference, a woman scrolled through the ASOS website for an entire 40-minute presentation. She didn’t look up from her iPad once.

If you’re not fully 100 percent present at conferences, you’re selling yourself short (and wasting the money of whoever paid for your registration).

Now, let’s talk about fundraising webinars. Are they something you have on in the background while you clear emails and text your partner about weekend plans?

Or do you turn off your IM, shut down your email, and grab a notebook so you can fully absorb the content? If you’re not completely committed to taking in the information, there’s a good chance it won’t stick.

Prioritizing your professional development

When deadlines loom and works feels chaotic, it’s easy to push professional development off as something you’ll tackle “when things calm down.”

Not so fast. When work is at a fever pitch is exactly when you need to be armed with the most cutting edge knowledge possible.

Setting professional development goals you’ll adhere to no matter what gets thrown your way is paramount. Commit to attending a set number of webinars or trainings every month and stick to it.

The world is moving at a faster pace than ever. Charities and their needs are changing faster than ever. What worked 10 years ago may not work today. Professional development helps ensure that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date. I think of it as sharpening the tools in my toolbox.

Robert Thomas of Morgen Thomas Fundraising.

If your professional development budget is thin, seek out free or low-cost events.

One common pitfall is to only attend trainings hyper relevant to our immediate work. Future-proofing your skills is one of the most effective ways to stay resilient. For example, if you’ve never dealt with a legacy programme, consider participating in a webinar on building an effective bequest toolkit. It’ll give you insight into your legacy team members’ work while giving you a deeper understanding of this income stream.

This may seem counterintuitive. Yet, in 2021 everyone on your team needs to be prepared to pinch hit.

What would you do if half of your fundraising department were made redundant and you were tasked with picking up the pieces? Do you have enough understanding of your colleagues’ work to step into their shoes with little notice?

If not, it may be time to brush up your skills in some areas you haven’t needed to delve into recently.

Get qualified

The idea of attending a random smattering of fundraising conferences and webinars may seem like a haphazard way to sharpen your skill set.

That’s where a qualification or certification can come into play. Certifications have a trove of benefits, including:
– Measuring your knowledge against industry-accepted best practices
– Covering knowledge proven to make a difference to fundraising success
– Helping you identify and address gaps in your fundraising knowledge
– Enabling you to stand out on the job search
– Providing tangible leverage when negotiating your salary, title, and responsibilities

A solid certification’s structure is designed for professionals who need to use what they learned straightaway in their day-to-day roles. Before you’ve completed a certification course, you can begin applying what you’re learning along the way to your work. How’s that for an immediate pay off?

The upfront cost of a certification may instill momentary sticker shock (especially if your employer won’t cover the cost). Remember, the price of professional development is an investment that will pay dividends over the length of your career.

Certification holders often command premium salaries and packages, making time spent getting certified well worth the effort.

A global fundraising certification

For fundraising professionals with a global focus on their career or who work for a charity with branches abroad, earning an internationally-recognised certification is a savvy step. This can also be a smart avenue if you want assurance your fundraising approach is aligned with internationally accepted best practices.

No matter what your motivation is, a global certification can help you stand head and shoulders above others in your field.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification is one option and currently held by over 7,000 fundraising professionals worldwide.

The CFRE process consists of an application and exam. The 200-question, multiple-choice exam measures your knowledge across six key knowledge domains:

  • Current and prospective donor research
  • Securing the gift
  • Relationship building
  • Volunteer involvement
  • Leadership and management
  • Ethics, accountability, and professionalism

As a fundraising consultant, achieving my CFRE enabled me to benchmark and boost my knowledge. In a fast-changing world, it’s ensured I am in the best possible position to help my clients.

Sian Newton – Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants

Make a start

Whether you’ve been fundraising for five months or 15 years, making time for your professional development is wise. After all, our industry isn’t static.

Fundraising professionals who have taken the time to keep their knowledge fresh will be the leaders best equipped to help their clients and organisations thrive long into the future.  

Written by Ashley Gatewood – CFRE International

Tips for a Strong Case for Support

What is it?

A Case for Support is often the most difficult hurdle to starting a fundraising campaign. What do you say? How long should it be? What is the pitch? It is very often the first impression potential donors have of your client’s vision and campaign, and is therefore a document that clients will often rely on their fundraising consultant’s expertise to get right.

Clients will typically want to tell their whole story, but it is important to understand that this is a short and sharp document. It needs to concisely coalesce the facts that make the project or organisation worthwhile, and should be presented in a way that ensures potential donors, sponsors and funders can swiftly understand the benefits of the project or organisation and how they can provide support. In other words, it is the written version of your elevator pitch: it will set out what is urgent and compelling about the project and why it needs financial support. The Case for Support should not be longer than three A4 pages. It tells the story behind your client, their project and ambitions, and makes the case for fundraising. It is crucial that it is written well and thoroughly peer reviewed within the organisation before bringing it to an external audience.

How can it go wrong?

As a campaign unfolds, the Case for Support can be amended and developed in order to better reflect recent developments, and to incorporate the feedback received from potential donors throughout a campaign. However, it is often easy to fall into the trap of creating multiple documents! Whilst you of course want to tailor this important document to appeal to key donor constituencies, it is important to stay on message and not veer away from the strategic goals, aims and messages of your campaign.

What works?

Begin your Case for Support with a strong opening – you want to capture the potential donor’s attention, so it is critical that the document sets the scene. It is equally important to say how much the campaign is trying achieve, and to lay out these key goals and objectives in a clear way

A common mistake clients often make is forgetting to include a breakdown of how donations would be allocated and what they would be used for. Would you make a large donation without knowing where it went? Try to be as specific as possible.

Finally, do not forget to mention how donors can be recognised for their support. Many UK charities often assume that their donors, unlike their American counterparts, do not like to be recognised, but this is often not the case. Exploring creative options for recognising donors and setting these out in the Case for Support can not only help with your current campaign, but may result in more donor interest and increased support over time. We know from years of experience that a little flattery can often go a long way!

Written by Apple Fundraising Consultants

Why join the AFC?

With the Covid-19 pandemic directly impacting UK philanthropy across multiple sectors – including the arts, education, heritage and churches to name just a few – many donors have stated that they are currently directing their limited resources towards supporting their existing grantees, and are not considering new applications. Furthermore, numerous trusts and foundations have already diverted a significant proportion of their available funding towards emergency grants to address immediate relief efforts related specifically to the pandemic; at the same time, many prospective corporate supporters are conserving their financial resources in the face of an uncertain global economic outlook.

This situation has put additional pressure on professional fundraisers to continue to deliver the same level of results for their clients, who need help more than ever during these highly unusual and uncertain times. Coupled with the recent loss of EU funding following Brexit, the UK donor pool has become saturated with requests for funding, with competition for limited resources becoming fiercer than ever before.

The need for fundraising consultants has therefore never been more urgent.

Charities are always looking for creative and new ways to raise funds; accordingly, the appetite for professional help continues to grow exponentially. Yet, as the pool of fundraising consultants in the UK also steadily expands, it is becoming crucial for prospective clients to be able to distinguish between those consultants that have the right experience and who follow good practice, and those that don’t. Membership of the Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC) therefore serves as the best way of distinguishing yourself. The AFC takes enormous pride in accepting only the most experienced and qualified fundraising companies and individuals into its ranks, so this membership will provide assurance to prospective clients that you represent a safe pair of hands: the AFC’s ‘stamp of approval’ which can be included on its members’ websites and client pitches provide testimony to the high quality of services you are offering. The AFC provides the vehicle to make your consultancy stand out!

Although online forums continue to provide a useful resource, fundraising consultancy can often be a lonely and siloed job. Personal interactions tend to mostly be client focused, with limited opportunities for collaboration among peers, or the sharing of ideas and fundraising trends, or learning about new client opportunities. This can especially be true when you are just one of thousands of members of an online forum! However, membership of the AFC does provide this much-needed personal interaction. Under the leadership of Caroline Hutt, Managing Director of Hutt and Co, who serves as the chair of the AFC, the AFC has been reinvigorated with new leadership, new members, and new ideas. It is a lively and cooperative association which champions and supports its members.

Apple Fundraising Consultants, which joined the AFC in 2018, is a boutique consultancy specialising in high-net-worth international fundraising, campaign management, bespoke event management for local and global clients, and tailored philanthropic advisory services that help high-net-worth individuals make the most of their charitable giving. As a fundraising consultancy with a unique niche in the market, Apple Fundraising has seen the benefits of AFC membership first-hand, having had the opportunities to work alongside our fellow AFC members on large scale international campaigns, and having made numerous top-rate professional contacts among other fundraising consultancies whose work complements our own. We frequently benefit from the knowledge and experience of the other members who specialise in different niches, and have learned a great deal from the AFC’s sessions and workshops which are scheduled regularly throughout the year.

More than anything since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the AFC has provided an important professional support network in these most isolating and challenging times. At the start of the lockdown in March 2020, the AFC immediately pivoted to online networking and information events, enabling its members as leaders in the industry to frankly discuss the immense challenges facing the charitable sector. Now that the UK has set a roadmap to emerge from the lockdown, and restrictions are beginning to ease, the charitable sector is seeing a ‘reawakening’ with new fundraising campaigns and initiatives in the pipeline. The AFC stands ready to support its members as we all help our clients achieve their aspirational fundraising targets while navigating our businesses towards the post-lockdown future.

If you believe you or your company share the AFC’s ethos and commitment, and if you meet the criteria for joining, we would be delighted to discuss membership of the AFC with you. Full details can be found on our website at https://afc.org.uk, or by contacting our administrator Karen Harkin on karen@afc.co.uk.

We do hope you will join us.

Written by Apple Fundraising Consultants

Apple Fundraising Consultants

So What’s Wrong with Commission-Based Fundraising?

Payment by commission is defined as a professional fundraiser receiving, as remuneration for their services, a percentage or ‘cut’ of the funds they raise. In order to cover likely costs of salary and other expenses, a commission-based fundraiser would typically require 15% of the funds raised from their campaigns. Therefore, if a commission-based fundraiser secured a gift of £500,000 for their charity, they would expect payment of £75,000; if they raised £0, they would not expect to receive any payment.  

As a ubiquitous tool in commerce and an established practice in many other sectors, why don’t all fundraisers take a slice of the funds they raise? Surely it is a win-win: charities give away a slice of money they couldn’t have raised anyway, and fundraisers are incentivized to aim high?

Although commission-based fundraising (CBF) is practiced in the UK, within the sector it is broadly considered to be unethical and a sign of bad practice.

Why? 

  1. Money over mission –CBF encourages the pursuit of short-term success and personal gain at the expense of the charitable mission. 1,2
  2. Trust –CBF could undermine the trust of donors.1 This commercial approach is a disincentive to giving, does not properly reflect the value of the service provided, and encourages opportunistic and damaging fundraising practice.
  3. Team effort –fundraising involves a multitude of people working together. It would be challenging to correctly assign credit for revenue to a specific individual at the expense of another. 1
  4. Resentment –including both commission and non-commission-based roles within the same non-profit organisation could generate bitterness among individuals. 1
  5. Disproportional –the amount of work needed to secure a donation is often not directly associated with the amount received: CBF could poorly reflect the expertise and effort provided by the fundraiser.1
  6. Practicality –there are guidelines that make it almost impossible to conduct a successful major gifts campaign based on the practice of CBF. 4,5
  7. Legality – if a fundraiser were to be paid by commission, they may find themselves in breach of the Charities Act 2011. 4,5
  8. Accreditation – the practice of CBF is a barrier to membership of nearly all Fundraising Professional Bodies in both the UK and USA.

Sources:

[1]   WeConservePA – Commission-Based Compensation for Fundraising

[2]   Standards for Excellence Institute – Beware of Fundraisers Who Seek a Commission

[3]   The Association of Fundraising Consultants – Code of Practice

[4]   Cabinet Office – Charitable Fundraising: Guidance on Part 2 of the Charities Act 1992

[5]   Fundraising Regulator – Professional fundraisers, commercial participators and partners

Written by Nicole Gray Conchar – Apple Fundraising Consultants

UK Fundraising Professional Sian Newton on the Value of Earning a Fundraising Certification

Sian Newton became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in early 2020 and has had a two-decade career fundraising in the UK.

The CFRE certification is the only globally-recognised, accredited certification for fundraising professionals. By holding the CFRE, each certificant shows they have demonstrated their understanding of globally-accepted best practice fundraising principles.

Sian has worked for some of the UK’s most well-known charities, including the British Red Cross. Here, she shares her insights on the value of consultants holding their CFRE and why seasoned professionals can benefit from earning a fundraising certification.

How did you enter the world of fundraising?
I left university knowing I wanted to work in the not-for-profit sector. I did a research internship for a charity and also some fundraising volunteering and decided that fundraising was right for me!

What is your favorite part about being a fundraising professional?
Working with people from all walks of life to make charitable giving happen. After more than 20 years, it still gives me a great buzz.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Be tenacious and persistent.

What is your personal philosophy about investing in yourself and staying active in your professional development?
I’ve always been proud to be a fundraiser, it’s something I take seriously. One of my favorite phrases is: Onwards and upwards!

How did you first hear about the CFRE certification and what made you decide to pursue it?
I heard about CFRE through my fellow Directors at Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants. There’s a real emphasis on professional standards and excellence and all the other Directors have been through the CFRE process. So, when I became a Director, I decided I wanted to follow in their footsteps. It was a personal challenge.

You’re currently a fundraising consultant. Why do you think it is valuable for consultants to hold an accredited fundraising certification?
Clients come to you for your expertise, knowledge, and experience. Having the certification is another way to demonstrate both the breadth of your knowledge and that it reflects up-to-date best practice.

There are two parts to the CFRE process: an application and exam. When you passed your CFRE exam, how did you feel?
Relieved and very proud.

You earned your CFRE after more than 20 years in the sector. Sometimes professionals believe that with that much experience they don’t need a certification. What advice would you have for fundraising professionals who have been in the sector for years and are on the fence about whether or not to pursue their CFRE?
Learning is a life-long thing. You can build on the knowledge and experience you already have. Go for it!

Remember as an AFC member you receive substantial reductions of fees for CFRE examinations and recertification.

Solidifying your fundraising knowledge with a credential

Do you value doing a job properly, thoroughly, and without shortcuts?

If you’re a fundraising professional, this means you’re likely to be the team member consistently adhering to the highest professional standards. You show up to work each day with a commitment to go above and beyond—grounding yourself in donor-centric fundraising principles that help your donor achieve her philanthropic goals.

Since 1981, the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential has stood for confidence, ethics, and professionalism in fundraising. It is a natural choice for fundraising professionals who consistently strive for excellence in all aspects of their work.

“The CFRE is the only globally-recognized, accredited certification for professional fundraisers,” says Eva Aldrich, Ph.D., CAE, (CFRE 2001-2016), President and CEO of CFRE International.  “For those working in the UK, holding your CFRE signifies you have proven your understanding of best practices that apply nationally and internationally.”

Currently, there are more than 6,600 CFREs in over 20 countries.

The CFRE journey

The online CFRE application is the first step. There are three sets of criteria you must meet and document on the application:

1) Education: Need to have participated in 80 hours of continuing education in the most recent five years (hours can be a combination of attending education and presenting sessions, as well as authoring fundraising articles). Points can also be awarded for university degrees earned in any year in any field of study.

2) Professional Practice: Need to have worked a minimum of 36 months in a paid professional fundraising role in the last five years.

3) Professional Performance: Need to have 55 points in this category. 1 point = USD$25,000 raised by your fundraising team. Fundraising professionals in the UK can convert the funds they’re raised in GBP to U.S. dollars at https://www1.oanda.com/currency/converter/. Points can also be earned for communications and management projects.

Demonstrating your fundraising knowledge

Once your CFRE application is approved, you will have one year to sit for the 200-question multiple-choice CFRE exam at any of the Pearson VUE testing centers around the globe.  There are 30 testing centers in the UK.

On average, CFRE candidates study 40 – 60 hours and tell us they learned practical information in the process that they then began applying to their jobs straight away. If studying might feel like a dreaded task you haven’t had to tackle since university, flip that thinking so you view it as an opportunity to upskill and verify your knowledge.

Upon passing the exam, you are a CFRE! Recertification is due every three years but does not require sitting for the exam again.

Cost

The initial application fee for first-time certificants is US$875. As a CFRE Participating Organization, members of AFC save 20% and enjoy a rate of US$700. Recertification is US$510 at the standard rate or US$408 for AFC members.  

Over half of CFREs report that their employer covers part or all of the cost of CFRE certification.

Get started

More than 93% of CFREs say they have gained increased recognition from peers by earning their certification, so why wait to get started?

There is no cost to begin your application. Once you start it, you’re welcome to log in and out of it as many times as you need to input your details. You only pay when you are ready to submit it.  

Begin your CFRE application at https://cfre.secure.force.com/siteregister.

Learn more about becoming a CFRE at http://www.cfre.org/certification/initial/.

‘Creating a Successful Fundraising Consultancy’ The AFC’s Gherkin Sessions September 2018

We held a very lively and informative Sessions this year and here we share some of the key outcomes with you.

As professional fundraising consultants under the umbrella of the AFC, we are committed to giving our clients the best possible professional advice and sharing best practice.

Promoting your company

  • everyone is different so find what works for your company by trialling different marketing methods and go with the ones that work best;
  • measuring marketing can be difficult so make sure you use the platforms available like Google Analytics etc;
  • remember that as well as getting your brand known, people need to know exactly what it is you do so remember to tell them;
  • ask for personal recommendations;
  • ask for referrals; and
  • promote your company by running workshops – this shows your expertise and gets your name and your people known.

 

Why organisations engage fundraising consultants

Clients spend money on fundraising consultants for a variety of reasons including:

  • staff shortages;
  • need for expertise;
  • they have lost their way and need help finding their way forward; and
  • they are looking for someone to explain why things haven’t worked and to tell them what they need to do.

 

Delivering to your clients

As consultants who want to run successful consultancies you must be brave and not just be ‘yes’ people as you need to deliver for your clients.  Make sure you define your consultancy’s particular area or areas of expertise clearly so that there is no ambiguity about what you are delivering.

It is important to form professional relationships and ensure that you always do a good job.  Volunteers can tend to move from one charity to another so ensure that you also form professional friendships here as you never know when it could stand you in good stead. Be seen in the market and do whatever it takes within your niche such as running workshops, speaking at conferences or getting involved yourself as a volunteer within the community.

 

Terms of Engagement

In respect of terms of engagement, ensure that you have a standard contract that is robust and doesn’t have to be continually altered. Keep it simple and avoid over-complicated ones but make sure it covers all the relevant points and remember that a contract is legally binding. Ensure both parties have a clear understanding of the contract and what is expected of them.  A contract can be a moving target but you do need everything in writing for both of your protection.  Do seek professional advice from a solicitor if in doubt.

Let employees and clients know that you are members of certain associations and for that you must adhere to the various codes of conduct.

GDPR could be your friend. GDPR has helped with the need to have a contract in place before working for a client. Do bear in mind Brexit as it could mean that you will not be able to transfer data from the UK to the EU.

Everyone is eager to get started on a campaign, but be cautious of working with a client before you have a signed contract signed and in place. If you need a reason to justify this to the client then use the professional indemnity insurance reason.

Do not take on commission only contracts. They are not ethical and could impact on your cash-flow. Most importantly it blurs the boundaries between you and your clients.  Whose campaign is it? What is the role of the client and what is your role as the consultant? Commission only contracts do not build critical relationships.

It was agreed that the most successful campaigns are those where the ownership of the campaign belongs to the client and where ‘loyalty is not defined by a day rate’.

 

Calculating your Fees

When pricing your fees, you may consider day rates or hourly rates. However, your pricing structure may be flexible depending on the client and the project. Consider retainers with lower day rates. Retainers and rolling contracts can often benefit clients as there are no sudden unexpected bills and you have an assured cash-flow for your business.

Remember that determining good value for a service can be difficult. Therefore, you need to make sure your services and their outcomes are measurable where possible.  It is important that you don’t sell your experience and expertise short and to price in line with any high-quality professional service.  That way, the client will respect you and listen to you.

As a basic guide-line take heed of the ‘thirds’ business model when setting your fees:

1/3rd:  your rate and/or your employees/associates

1/3rd: Taxes & business running costs

1/3rd:  Company profit

 

Please ‘share, share and share’. If you are not already a member of the AFC, please consider joining and becoming one of the professional leaders in fundraising consultancy in the UK.

The Power of the Personal Touch

A face to face ask is 34 times more effective than sending an email’.

Harvard Business Review 2017

If there is one thing that I have learned over the past 30 years of fundraising it is to always ask in person wherever possible.  Indeed, not just for fundraising purposes but for anything you truly want in life.

Like everyone else, I use emails just about every day.  It is efficient and quick but I would always advocate caution before we lose the ability of talking and listening to people in person.  As well as being able to pick up tone and body language, it is often what someone is not saying that is as important as what they are saying and taking heed of that all-important ‘in between the lines’ narrative.

Whilst technology has had a hugely positive impact on our lives, we must not lose sight of the importance of the ‘personal touch’.  Certainly, when making the actual ask for large donations it is critical that communication is face to face.  It is only when you are seated next to or opposite someone that you can convey with clarity and conviction your own passion for the cause in question.  Your potential donor will be inspired and confident and only then will they make that all important gift.

Link: https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-face-to-face-request-is-34-times-more-successful-than-an-email

Winning Business as a Consultant

Fundraising consultancy is a competitive market. There are several agencies competing for the same business; not to mention numerous sole traders, ranging from highly experienced consultants who have been working in the field for many years, to relative newcomers, either supplementing their day-job, or trying to establish themselves for the first time. Standing out and winning business is not easy. Below are my top tips for increasing your chances of success.

  1. Specialise – No-one can be an expert in everything, so what is it you are good at? Is it Trust applications, Major Donors, Digital Campaigns, corporate partnerships or something else entirely. You need to be clear about what service you can offer, so you can meet the needs of those coming to you. There is often the temptation to say you can do everything, but unless you can surround yourself with a team of staff or associates who can bring other skills and experience, being specific about what you offer is important.
  2. Decide on your market – Do you want to work with education institutes? In the Arts and Culture sector? International Development? Are you trying to attract small charities, or the big international NGO’s? Again, without a large team of experts to call upon, forging a niche for yourself in a specific area could be a benefit. It will also help with the next step.
  3. Prove your credentials – Why should a client choose you rather than a competitor? How do they know they are going to get a top-notch service? Reassuring them that you know what you are talking about is crucial to turning interest into business. Testimonials from past clients and examples of work you have done can be extremely helpful. Of course, I would also recommend membership of the AFC, which vets all its members for quality and therefore offers clients a unique level of confidence.
  4. Marketing, marketing, marketing – How will potential clients know you exist to ask for your help? For some, all their marketing is focused on networking and word of mouth. For others, speaking opportunities and sponsorships are equally important way of getting your name known (did you spot the IFC-branded Volunteer T-shirts at Fundraising convention this year?) Either way, you need to be clear about who you are trying to target and what you want to say. As someone whose preference is to spend their time working directly with clients, marketing can be easy for me to side-line, but it is essential.
  5. Understand what clients are asking for and respond in kind. –Sometimes clients are very clear about what they need (they are also often wrong – but that is for another blog!) and present a detailed Call for Proposals. Other times they are unsure; just knowing they need help. In either case, nothing substitutes for spending time getting to know them, meeting with them in person – where possible – and really getting to the bottom of what their issues are. Only then can you tailor a proposal appropriately, which addresses their areas of concern, and demonstrates how you can help them solve their problems.

And finally

  1. Be very good at what you do. – Do what you say you will. Deliver on your promises. There is nothing more important to a consultant than their reputation!

Winning Business as a Consultant

Written by Bill King MInstF (Dip) – CEO – International Fundraising Consultancy

 

 

 

Why Leadership is important to a successful fundraising campaign.

All leaders need to have a clarity of purpose, buy in to the vision and, most importantly, make their own well-thought through personal gift to the fundraising efforts early in the process.  Their leadership by example will set the bar high and define the outcome of the campaign.  As Albert Schweitzer said: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”.

Certainly, if leadership of the organisation and the campaign is weak, negative and fragmented it will ensure that any fundraising ambition is doomed and risks damaging important relationships that have often taken years to build.

It is important that the internal leadership is tested before a campaign starts (often through a confidential feasibility study).  If there is not a universal commitment then to proceed with a campaign would be foolhardy.

Time and careful consideration needs to be taken to build the voluntary leadership board.   It provides the ‘heartbeat’ to a campaign and drives success. A board is made up of brave, bold individuals associated with the organisation who are successful in their chosen careers.   When asked to join the board, their first instinct is to say, “I’m far too busy to get involved”.  But they do get involved because they care passionately about the organisation and its vision and they are always people who ‘make things happen’ in their day to day lives.   They are people who have great integrity, are inspiring, flexible and, above all, have the ability to listen and embrace opinions of all around them.

With strong leadership campaigns rarely fail – the right leaders simply would not let that happen!

 

Why Leadership is important to a successful fundraising campaign.