Why you should build your personal brand
In today’s communication fuelled world, most of us are happy to share our lives on social media. Even my 72-year-old father, new to the world of social media, happily posts photos of his latest golfing successes on Facebook. But are we using these platforms in the right way to develop and enhance our careers?
Liz Tait and Joe Jenkins addressed this very question in their ‘personal brand’ session at Fundraising Convention. We have all created somewhat of a personal brand through the jobs we do, the organisations we work for, and the many interactions we have during our day-to-day work. Liz and Joe got us to consider how growing our personal brand could not only improve our careers but benefit the charities we work for.
I was immediately curious to learn more – here’s what I took away:
Why build your brand?
Building your personal brand can boost your confidence, teach you new skills, grow your contacts, open you up to new opportunities, and have a positive and lasting impact on your charity.
Where do you start?
As with most things, developing your personal brand starts close to home (or work in this case). From your daily interactions with colleagues (being open, honest and friendly can go along way) to being generous with your time (such as helping team members and other work colleagues) is always a good place to start. You could also try getting involved with projects that may not be directly involved with your role, such as staff forums or organisation-wide projects. You could even share your knowledge and experience by mentoring someone junior to you.
Illustration courtesy of Howard Lake, UK Fundraising
Develop your skills and knowledge
The more you understand about fundraising and the issues affecting your charity, the more likely you will share your knowledge with others. So get reading and get learning, whether that’s attending courses (such as IoF Academy and conferences) and seminars, reading trade press, articles or internal reports. Don’t be afraid to talk to colleagues or experts in a particular field. The more confident and knowledgeable you feel, the more likely you will want to share your learnings.
Put yourself out there
If you’re feeling confident, there’s a world of opportunities outside of your charity to help you develop your personal brand. The trick is to find activities that you enjoy doing without it feeling like a task.
Attending networking events (including IoF Groups events) and volunteering are both great ways to meet new people, share your knowledge and brand, and open you up to new opportunities.
Try your hand at writing blogs for your charity or for industry publications – including the IoF blogs page! Or, film a vlog.
Use social media to your advantage
We all know social media is a great tool to start conversations and share insights. Think about what your message is, who you want to reach, and what action you want to attract. One simple and easy way to manage social media is to use the 5:3:2 rule. It basically states that for every 10 posts, five should be shared content from other sources that are relevant to your audience, three should be content you’ve created, and two should be personal, fun content that shows your personality, thoughts or interests to your readers. This simple rule will help keep your followers interested.
I came away from the personal brand session feeling energised to build my brand. It has made me think about the different opportunities open to me beyond my daily to-do list – including this, my first ever blog! And I am considering running my very first half marathon, the London Landmarks Half Marathon, in March 2019 for Alzheimer’s Research UK which supported a close family member.
So get social, get involved, be brave and try some new things that might take you a little out of your comfort zone. You never know, you may end up enjoying it!
Mark de Sousa, Marketing Manager at the Institute of Fundraising
Build your personal brand with us! We're looking for new voices to present sessions at Fundraising Convention 2019.
You can either submit a fully formed session proposal, or work with other charities to talk about your case studies or campaigns (a member of the Fundraising Convention Board will even help you shape it into a full session).
Proposals close 9am, Monday 1 October 2018. Apply here