black notebook

I am not your black book

The little black book.

Treasure trove of ‘names’: connections, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, business contacts and family members.

Being interviewed for both permanent roles and consultancy contracts, I’ve been asked (on more than a few occasions now) about the personal connections and contacts that I would be willing to bring to the role.

Below is an example of a genuine interview question (to which I responded ‘absolutely not’):


“Please gives us the names of ten contacts you would introduce us to if you were appointed to this role”.


Having been a high value fundraiser for many years, let’s be clear:

  • I know a few trustees of charitable trusts;
  • I am known to and have nice phone chats with a handful of administrators
  • I have built some deeply satisfying and personal relationships with major donors in my time


For absolute clarity however, these relationships are rooted in the donors’ connection to the charitable cause.  They are not predicated on how much they enjoy hanging out with me.

Any personal connection forged between fundraiser and donor is a bonus and whilst a meaningful connection between donor and fundraiser helps the process immensely, it is always secondary to the donor’s desire to make an impact in the area in which your charity operates.


Fundraisers are:


  • Facilitators
  • Match makers
  • Dating agents
  • Connectors
  • Organisers


We are not directly delivering the changes which donors seek to make.


Our role is to make links between those who have the money to create change and those who are responsible for delivering it.


Good fundraisers:


  • Help and support senior staff, trustees and existing, long standing donors to engage their own networks on a peer to peer basis.
  • Make it easy for charity leaders to have the right conversations, with the right people, at the right time.
  • We do this gently and at a pace trustees are comfortable with (recognising the often deep rooted awkwardness around philanthropy in the UK as a whole and in certain sectors)


We do not:


  • Engage our own networks (because we most likely don’t have them).
  • Engage with donors known through previous roles in previous charities (because that would leave us on dodgy ground from a data protection perspective).


So remember, I am not your black book, but I can help you to make the most of yours…


major gifts made simple

Our new online course, Major Gifts Made Simple will help you to identify real prospects for your good cause and will give you a tried and tested method for working with them on a deeper level.

The course will be available to buy in summer 2021.  Read more and sign up here.

Posted in Fundraising, Major gift fundraising.