Fundraisers are often as ambitious as they are frugal and as such I’ve put together five top tips for conducting your own personal development on an absolute shoestring.
1. Join fundraising communities: from the incredibly active ‘Fundraising Chat’ on Facebook – where people are talking everything from event venue recommendations to posting relevant fundraising news – to the free, quarterly London-based corporate fundraising network, there are plenty of knowledge hubs that you can tap into at the touch of a button.
2. Read blogs and listen to podcasts: if you’re reading this newsletter you’re likely ahead of the curve on this one, but there’s plenty of free and incredible quality out there. From my personal favourite of Simon Scriver’s ‘Quick Tip’ series where he breaks personal development down into ten minute chunks to the incredible archives of SoFII (the Showcase of Fundraising Inspiration and Innovation), you needn’t spend a penny on fundraising textbooks. That’s not to say that textbooks aren’t worth the money, though, and SoFII even has a recommended reading list to get you started.
3. Find a mentor: taking part in the mentoring scheme offered by the Tony Elischer Foundation was genuinely transformational for my career, and their next application deadline is coming up on the 16th of September. But there are plenty of other opportunities out there from the Institute of Fundraising mentoring scheme to the Small Charities Coalitions that can connect you with someone more senior to give some direction to your development.
4. Take opportunities to volunteer: whether at fundraising conferences such as IoFFC – as an incredible way to meet other fundraisers and get free access to the conference – or with smaller charities in need of fundraising support. This is an incredible way to widen the experience you’re getting on a daily basis and build your network of fellow fundraisers to boot – you might surprise yourself with how much you already know. Which leads to the final, and most important, point…
5. Put yourself out there: personal development seems as much about developing your confidence as it is your expertise, and as such a bit of a leap-frog to developing yourself can be backing yourself from where you already are. Put proposals to your manager, apply to speak at conferences, ask the people you admire to go for a coffee. The act of doing it will show you how much value you already have and, in turn, allow you access to a wider range of experiences and networks. We are often our own biggest critics, it’s time to be our own biggest champions too.
Speaking of putting yourself out there and for more personal development ramblings, you can check out my ‘fundraising career bucket-list’ here, my ‘graduate guide to entering fundraising’ here or Fixing Fundraising, the podcast I co-host here.
This is a guest post by the glorious Andy King. Andy is an award-winning fundraiser and all around top bloke.
He is currently a consultant at Remarkable Partnerships and Chair of Trustees at Raising Futures. You can (you definitely should!) tweet him @andykingraising
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