Help us achieve our vision
Isobel Michael, Director of NFP Philanthropy, wanted to be a voice for small and regional charities, so she applied to be an IoF trustee. Read her words on how she made her mark and why she'd encourage others to be trustees.
Why did you become a trustee?
I am passionate about fundraising, professional development, support and advocacy for fundraisers, particularly those who feel isolated and work in smaller charities with fewer training and development opportunities. I helped to build and develop the Institute of Fundraising South West Regional Group for 16 years before heading down under where I spent three years on the Fundraising Institute of Australia Victoria Executive.
On returning to the UK, I was encouraged by colleagues and friends to consider standing as a trustee, so I took up their challenge. My impact statement was to “champion excellent fundraising, promote diversity, best practice and represent fundraisers working with smaller charities and in the regions”. Former IoF SW Chairs had previously stood for trustee election without success, so I certainly didn’t expect to be elected, particularly as I had been away from the UK for five years. However, I was delighted, a little daunted but very proud to be elected as a trustee in 2017.
How have you been able to apply your skills to your role as a trustee?
As a trustee, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to strategic decision-making and planning, using skills and experience gained through consultancy work with charities and voluntary roles with charities in the UK and Australia. My research and analysis skills are useful to consult, look at the evidence and understand more about strategic issues and challenges for fundraisers at all levels across the UK. As a trustee, I have a focus on promoting diversity in the profession – an IoF strategic objective, clear priority and long overdue work. I am part of the Expert Advisory Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, to listen and learn from the extraordinary expertise the Institute has brought together. This includes working with our groups to improve access, opportunities and help to bring about the long-term culture change that we need.
What has been the most worthwhile part of being an IoF trustee?
Being involved in the equality, diversity and inclusion work, and having the opportunity to drive this work forward. I have met so many fundraisers from more diverse backgrounds over the years who do not identify with the broader fundraising profession. As a result, they do not engage with and benefit from with the training opportunities, support, mentoring and network available through the IoF, locally or nationally. I would also love to help develop more opportunities for people with lived experience to become fundraisers. No-one is more authentic and passionate about a cause than someone who has personal experience and understanding of its impact. A first fundraising role can grow into a career as we all know, and this can also help to increase the diversity of the fundraising profession.
Why would you encourage others to apply to be an IoF trustee?
I would encourage fundraisers to apply to be a trustee to help achieve our vision of ‘Excellent Fundraising for a Better World’ and strategic objectives in an exciting but challenging environment. Fundraisers who are from more diverse backgrounds, smaller charities or who can bring younger or other perspectives would help ensure the Board is dynamic, effective and better represents the fundraising community throughout the UK. Please do contact Peter Lewis, IoF CEO, or any of the current trustees if you’d like to know more about the role and this fantastic opportunity – and don’t just presume that you won’t get elected!
Isobel Michael is an IoF trustee, and Director of NFP Philanthropy, fundraiser for the Southside Family Project and an IoF Fellow
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