Fundraising Tribe! It’s a term I’ve heard quite a bit – particularly since the pandemic struck – working from home and reducing our contact time to a small square box on our laptops, coupled with the enormous challenges and hurdles, we as fundraisers have had to overcome, has meant those connections are even more important for us. I for one am so grateful for my fundraising tribe and colleagues over the last year – many of whom I was lucky enough to meet through the Chartered Institute of Fundraising committees and roles I have volunteered on.
I signed up to my first Chartered Institute volunteer role 12 years ago, as a committee member on the Event Managers Forum. As a relatively new fundraiser, I gained a lot from my first committee role – it introduced me to other fundraisers I could learn from, helped open up my networks, gave me confidence in my fundraising role and helped me grow as a fundraiser.
One of the biggest changes in my career was relocating from London and swapping a big charity role for a sole fundraiser role in a small and struggling charity setting. It was a whole new and daunting experience and being a sole fundraiser, it often felt very pressured and isolating. I once again sought out my fundraising tribe and joined the Chilterns regional Committee (which I still volunteer for!). It was amazing how many others I met in a similar position and having a group that could support one another and learn from each other was so rewarding and impactful.
If it wasn’t for these groups and the experience and growth that these volunteering roles gave me, I am not sure if I would be the fundraiser I am today – or even necessarily a fundraiser at all. I was so grateful for everything I had gained that I really wanted to give back to the fundraising community, which is why I applied to be a Chartered Institute Trustee.
Being a Trustee was always something I wanted to do, to give something back, but to also further grow and develop as a fundraiser. I had just never found a cause I felt truly connected to and didn’t realise that being a Chartered Institute Trustee was a possibility for me until I saw the call for applications. Having the opportunity to be a Trustee for the Chartered Instutute was hugely appealing, given how much I loved my profession and the fundraising community I had become a part of, so I applied, not fully expecting to have the honour of being voted on the board in 2018.
Being a Trustee for the Chartered Institute has been a hugely rewarding volunteering experience. I have had the immense privilege of chairing the wonderful Learning and Development committee in seeing the Fundraising Apprenticeships and the Competency Framework come to fruition, attend the academy graduations (both in person and most recently virtually!) and meet and be inspired by countless more fundraisers, pushing our profession to be the best it can be.
I feel my volunteering roles over the years have played a big role in connecting me with so many wonderful people in the fundraising community that I feel proud to be a part of and lucky enough to call my Fundraising Tribe and for that I am truly thankful.