'It has helped me secure both short-term wins and long–term sustainable strategy'
IoF Trustee and soon-to-be International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising graduate Emma-Louise Singh MInstF(AdvDip) explains how, as well as the qualification taking her own fundraising to a whole new level, it has also helped in building the long-term strategy of organisations she works with.
Six years ago I took a job working for a very small local charity. They had been awarded a three-year grant to cover the costs of a fundraiser, but other than that they had no budget, it was a cause that was hard to ‘sell’, and no one else knew about fundraising or had fundraising experience.
The job was a far cry from what I was used to, having worked for large well-known charities in the city. I knew the role would be a challenge and, as I had little in the way of support, I decided to enrol on the IoF’s Diploma in Fundraising.
Although challenging, I gained so much from the Diploma in Fundraising, it boosted my confidence in areas of fundraising I didn’t have as much experience in and helped a great deal in planning the organisation’s strategy. It also planted the seed that I would at some point like to do the International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising.
'Broaden my knowledge'
Skip forward a couple of years and I found myself enrolling in the IoF’s International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising. I had already been putting the skills I picked up in my previous qualification into practice and wanted to broaden my knowledge even further. I was also about to embark in setting up as a freelance fundraiser, specifically to work with small charities. I knew that advancing my knowledge in fundraising would serve me well in adapting quickly to my varied clients and their challenges to help them achieve the best results.
The International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising took the way I approached fundraising to a whole new level, taking in many academic theories (not just fundraising) that would equip me with a new way of thinking about challenges and problems and also in working with various stakeholders.
As each assignment you work on is based on your own organisational scenarios, I was able to quite quickly put the teachings into practice.
The strategic fundraising audit I did for one of my assignments was something I was able to apply to one of the charities I had started working with and to develop the recommendations that came out of that audit, which now form the basis of their fundraising strategy, that has already kicked-off with some promising results.
'strategic and sophisticated'
The International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising has also been very relevant, looking at the bigger picture within the organisations I work with. Not only has it made my approach to fundraising more strategic and sophisticated, providing me with a toolkit of academic theory and practical tools to apply, but it has also helped me overcome challenges and frustrations.
It’s given me the ability to approach fundraising with the viewpoint of a fundraiser, CEO and Trustee, allowing me to think about other stakeholders’ roles and values and incorporate these in my approaches. This has been particularly useful when an organisation is implementing a new strategy or undergoing a big change.
Before the International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising I would work on the immediate challenge at hand. The International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising has taught me to deepen my approach to fundraising by providing me with the skills to simultaneously work on the short, medium and long-term goals and outputs, helping the organisations I work with to secure not just short-term wins, but a long–term sustainable strategy.
Emma-Louise Singh MInstF(AdvDip) is a fundraising consultant who has has achieved both the Diploma in Fundraising and the International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising.
The International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising is a Masters-level qualification for the sector’s thought leaders and changemakers. The next course will start on 2 October 2019 and the deadline to submit your CV is 31 July 2019.