Don't make fundraising look so easy!
Over the last five years, or so, I have been coaching fundraisers, helping cope with overwhelm, anxiety, bullying, micromanagement, toxic cultures and confidence amongst other things. These are the things that push talented, passionate, caring people into stress mode and sometimes into burnout. If people don't burnout in one organisation they more often than not leave that charity, and sometimes leave the sector. The sectors lack of care for the wellbeing of our fundraisers costs it dearly!
There is a cost in so many ways, financial loss of a good fundraiser is often hidden, there is the cost of advertising a role and the time for the new fundraiser to get up to speed bringing in income, there is the drop in income when a fundraising post is left empty, there is the loss of the relationships they built, and the income that brings, the loss of trust in the organisation when donors see a high turnover of staff and the reduction in people prepared to work in a charity that has a bad reputation amongst the fundraising community.
Good fundraisers make translating what the organisation does into something donors want to hear look easy, to their detriment, how often have are fundraisers told 'all you do is have coffee with people' . I even had a manager who suggested all I did was drink champagne and look glamourous, despite the income generation of more than £1million, she didn’t value what I did, because I made it look easy.
Don’t get me wrong, not all charities are like this, not all managers undervalue what fundraisers do. However, are fundraisers a little bit to blame too? Do we need to look at the influencing we do internally, as well as all the influencing we do externally? Is bringing in the money enough, from my experience and the evidence of many of the people I work with the answer is no.
Please remember, the only persons behaviour you can change is your own, if you are reading this as a fundraise, what could you change in your behaviour to influence the team and help them understand what you do? If you are managing a fundraiser and really don’t understand how relationship fundraising works, ask them to talk you through building a corporate partnership from first contact to donation, because I can assure you having a cup of coffee and an hour long chat will not have been the only thing they did.
If you are a fundraiser and would like some coaching to build confidence or overcome stress please contact me on email@example.com