Cultivate creativity with these six sessions

Cultivate creativity with these six sessions

Guest Bloggers | 12 March 2018

Creativity is an often discussed but rarely understood capability within any charity. We are always being asked to come up with more innovative and interesting fundraising, but how often do we really invest in the underlying ability to do new things? Here’s how you and your team can use the IoF Fundraising Convention to do just that.



For me, creativity is the spotting of non-linear solutions to problems. There are two key areas which you need to develop in order to achieve this type of work:

Diverse perspectives: More perspectives mean more ways of looking at a particular problem. As such, if you are able to understand a more diverse set of perspectives than your own, you are more likely to create a novel way forward.

If you are running a team, then you need to ensure that a range of perspectives can be brought into the conversation. You also need to ensure that your team builds on top of one another’s thinking rather than trying to get one perspective to dominate another. This is where genuinely new opportunities can be found.

Psychological safety: In order to drive creative teams, you need to help people feel safe when collaborating with one another. Without the backing of their peers and the support of their manager, individuals will not vocalise the most outlandish suggestions – which are often where the most creative solutions lie.

It is the responsibility of everyone in the team to create a culture where this situation exists. The most important part of this, is for each person to leave their ego at the door – and to get into a head space where they are looking for the best solution, rather than thinking they already have it. This type of behaviour takes emotional intelligence, bravery and time to get right, but it’s well worth it.

Here’s a selection of sessions from IoF Convention 2018 that I think will help you with just that:

1. You and I need to talk

It's the tough bit of relationships, when you need to tackle something that won't go away, is causing a problem and keeping you up at 3am. It might be poor performance, it might be a well meaning supporter being a bit annoying or it could be your manager just not listening. Whatever it is there is a way – come and find out what it is.

By truly listening to someone and hearing what they have to say, rather than thinking about what you say next, you can explore and understand ideas that aren't your own. Caryn and Helena do this for a living, so will no doubt have some handy tips and tricks for us all to follow.

2. Fundraising from the Islamic community

Research shows us that the Islamic community is very charitable. Many non-Muslim organisations don’t understand how, why and where Islamic communities make charitable donations, and how non-Muslim charitable organisations can work with them. This session draws on original research and personal experience to provide an insight into the considerations to be made from both sides when fundraising with and from Islamic communities.

By exploring diverse perspectives, we can come to different conclusions. This session will look at a rarely discussed area of fundraising from which we can draw inspiration.

3. Learning from your mistakes

As corporate fundraisers, we often hear 'no' more often than we hear 'yes'. And when you're working in partnership with a company, it's guaranteed that not everything will run to plan. So how do we learn to pick ourselves up after, and even learn from, failure?
If we are to do new things, then we have to be able to make mistakes. Here you can help your own feeling of insecurity by hearing all about someone else's errors and learning how they have used them for good.

4. Resilience: How to make waves without drowning

Making waves of change is a crucial part of being a fundraiser. But change isn’t easy and can take it’s toll no matter how tough you are. The resilience needed to keep sane can often result in talented fundraisers moving on, or out, of roles where real change is needed most.

If you're doing any kind of change or creative based work, you're going to have days where you find things really difficult. Rather than keeping calm and carrying on, it's all our responsibility to find ways of dealing with this situation that keep us healthy, happy and effective.

5. Mindfulness

Research suggests that when mindfulness becomes a shared social practice in an organisation, the organisation becomes more resilient and performs more sustainably, working relationships are enhanced, leadership, decision-making, creativity and innovation improve. We transform our organisations. So what’s not to like? But what exactly are we meant to be mindful of and just what are we trying to build in to our workplaces?

Mindfulness helps you be truly present in the moment in which you’re operating. This in turn allows you to consider other perspectives and build on them rather than trying to dominate with your own pre-considered solutions. This is crucial when trying to create solutions which are more than the sum of the group from which they were devised.

6. CEO Sleepout: How to run an effective social fundraising campaign with no budget

CEO Sleepout UK raises money to fight homelessness and poverty through business executives being sponsored to sleep rough for a night. In this session, you'll hear from event founder Andy Preston on the central role of social media in generating buzz around the campaign. 

Necessity is the mother of invention and having a small budget forces you to think of new ways of doing things. CEO Sleepout has done exactly that with great success. Come and hear how the team behind it managed with little or no resource or investment. 

If you’d like to know more about how you can drive your team’s creativity then check out these 10 things you can do right now.


James Gadsby-Peet is a Fundraising Convention Board member and Director of Digital at William Joseph.


Explore the full Fundraising Convention programme here


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