What’s next in fundraising? Part 2

Recently SOFII and The Agitator joined forces with Revolutionise to identify, foster and develop new journalistic talent in fundraising. We offered five free places for the 2014 Annual Lectures at the Royal Institution in London to aspiring fundraising writers, who each had to submit a short piece on the theme of ‘what’s next in fundraising?’ The standard of writing and range of approaches to tackling the topic were very impressive and made the task of choosing the best five articles very difficult. Here’s one of the winning entries…

Written by
Gemma Walder
Added
January 07, 2015

‘Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.’ Walt Disney

We can inspire our donors by telling stories that have an impact and plant that initial footprint in the sand.

Imagine walking into a world full of colour. Flashes of reds, purples, yellows, turquoises, oranges and blues darting out from all different directions, bounding off walls and reflecting in the bright pools of sunlight. You then start to see textures and fabrics… Everything seems to inspire you, it’s exciting, it’s refreshing, it’s so… ‘Oh heck where do I start?’

This is usually my thought process when I enter a department store to find that perfect dress for that perfect party to impress that perfect guy…I’m completely lost. 

Shopping is something we all experience but in different ways and for different reasons, which is why the faces of our modern retailers are so heavily driven on customer service and providing us with our needs. No matter where you go you’ll find shops fit to tailor everyone in every colour, even in the back corners of London’s market in Portobello Road there’s something waiting for you with your name on it. So why shouldn’t your fundraising experience with a charity be the same?

The next steps of fundraising in the charity sector should focus on empowering the donor, volunteer and fundraiser. As soon as they step through the door their journey should already be in the process of being tailored especially for them and this should be heavily focused on having the most exciting and excellent customer service in the business.

Once supporters have had that initial brilliant experience with you, they should feel encouraged to continue their adventure. It is our job to inspire each supporter, to show her, or him, that she can make a difference. This can be done through telling stories that make an impact and plant that initial footprint in the sand. We all have a story this is why we’re on this earth – to create stories, to be part of stories and to listen to stories. This encouragement and enthusiasm should be steered to developing volunteers so they take the lead in fundraising activity. This will not only build their confidence and experience, but it will also generate increased income and awareness for the charity.

For us, we need to be the experts in guidance and support so that we create a group of supporters who will have an impact in continuing our work. We need to be able to guide them through the store so they know what shoes to pick out to go with the right top and bag. These relationships are built through trust, which enables them to walk out of the shop, wearing that coat with confidence and with the right tools to promote it. So to follow on from Walt Disney’s quote, we want our supporters to have the most inspiring and fantastic experience of fundraising that they bring their connections and those close to them back to us to find something similar for them.

About the author: Gemma Walder

Gemma Walder

Before I joined the charity sector, I never really thought about fundraising as a career path. One of my first experiences of fundraising was washing cars at a church fete when I was nine, with my dad telling me it was for the ‘greater good’. Personally I thought it was because he was punishing me for dripping ice cream all over his car a few weeks earlier. Frankly standing in a cold car park, covered in bubbles, washing other peoples cars, scarred me for life. Little did I know where life would take me.

After graduating from Roehampton University with a degree in history. I started as an intern at Arthritis Research UK. I then moved on to fundraising assistant at Global Charities, then became events co-ordinator at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust before becoming a regional fundraising manager. I have now just recently taken on the role as community development and fundraising manager at the Trust and I’m so excited to be a part of the change at this amazing and inspiring charity

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