This year is a big one for me – 10 years since I moved over from working on the frontline for charities to start my career in fundraising. And what a 10 years it’s been! I’ve worked for a number of amazing charities, raised tens of millions of pounds and dipped my toes in all income streams. I’ve learnt what I am good at and what I’m not so good at – and to be okay with not being good at everything! I’ve also met, learnt from and taught lots of truly incredible individuals. Some of them are probably reading this and I hope they know what an impact they have had on my career, and my life.
From the moment I started in fundraising, I wanted to do the absolute best I could for obvious reasons – the better I was, the more the charity could achieve. So, I looked to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising – fresh faced, passionate and eager to learn. I remember going along to my first event and coming away with streams of notes, a HUGE smile and two new friendships that are still strong today.
From that moment I wanted to get as involved as I could. I realised quickly how important it is to share skills, challenges, network and build friendships. It’s so helpful to hear new ideas that you can take back to your charity, understand how trends are changing and how you might capitalise on what has and hasn’t worked for other charities. Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear that you’re doing it right – or that other people sometimes get it wrong! That’s what the Chartered Institute does, it brings us all together to be able to share and care because, let’s face it, fundraising can be bloody difficult! There is a real sense of community when we come together and it’s lovely to see how much we want each other to succeed! That makes me #proudtobeafundraiser.
I’ve sat on a number of Chartered Institute committees as I’ve gone along in my career. It’s been a real pleasure to work alongside some of the best fundraisers in the country – the world even – to bring knowledge, support and opportunities to the fundraising community. I’ve found attending events to be informative, organising events to be rewarding and speaking at events to be scary! But I absolutely believe that you should do things that take you out of your comfort zone and volunteering with the Chartered Institute has encouraged me to do just that. Nowadays, I’m Co-Chair of the Major Donor group and I sit on the Convention Board – two roles that I love.
So if you’re new to fundraising, welcome – you are part of a community that want to help you. The Chartered Institute has lots of opportunities, events, bursaries and mentoring opportunities for you. If you’re a more experienced fundraiser, have you thought about how you can get out of your comfort zone to share your wisdom with others? Or do you have ideas of other ways that the institute could develop to support fundraisers? We are always learning too, and your ideas are very welcome.
After a pretty challenging year, I think we have all learnt how special it is to be part of a community that will support you. Thank you to the Chartered Institute for being there throughout my career so far and for pushing me to be a better fundraiser. And thank you to you all for being dedicated to the sector. Together, we can be our best. Time for a power pose? Yes, you powerful lot, you got it!