Recognition a worthy reward – Crisis on the impact of awards
We felt honoured at Crisis to win the IoF National Fundraising Awards 2017, Fundraising Charity of the Year and Best Individual Giving Campaign. Externally, it was a stamp of quality that built trust and confidence among our supporters. Internally, we saw the award as validation of some of our core organisational values.
There’s so much outstanding work going on in the sector. Every year the choice as to who has really stood out from the crowd gets harder. To receive that recognition from your peers, especially the incredibly diverse talents of the National Fundraising Awards judging panel, is a humbling experience.
Firstly, the award was testament to the dedication and determination of our staff, both in fundraising and beyond. When you work at Crisis, you’re surrounded by a hugely passionate group of people. There is so much energy and focus on our goal of ending homelessness that collaboration is second nature. The award may have been collected by members of our fundraising team, but we celebrated it as an entire organisation.
This was undoubtedly a collective effort. Great fundraising never happens in isolation. It requires the expertise of so many people. In this instance, it involved teams such as Data Analysis ensuring we always based our decisions on insight rather than assumption. Our Supporter Services team ensured we were transparent and respectful. Our Brand and Marketing team helped us get the message just right. And, of course, people from our frontline services were crucial to finding those great stories that helped our supporters experience the joy of giving.
There were many more. This is just a snapshot of the collective effort that underpinned our success. Winning the awards, and shining the spotlight far and wide across the organisation, has helped reinforce that culture of collaboration. It demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together.
Our commitment to supporters
Secondly, the awards validated our ‘Supporter in the Room’ philosophy. This has been the most crucial, and arguably courageous, development in how we engage our supporters at Crisis.
The tangibility of imagining there’s a supporter listening or even contributing to every conversation is incredibly powerful. Your language changes instantly. You think differently. You behave differently. Most importantly, you’re forced to ask yourself difficult questions. Are you really putting the supporter at the heart of your thinking? Would you be comfortable explaining this to a supporter if challenged? Are you being transparent? Are you demonstrating integrity at all times?
It’s been an interesting transition. Words like ‘cross-selling’, ‘acquisition’ and ‘cultivation’ have disappeared from our vernacular. Job titles have changed, new jobs have been created. Planning documents have evolved, and new measures of success – beyond the age-old holy grail of regular giving – have helped us check whether we’re delivering on our promise.
‘Supporter in the Room’ is no longer just about language. It is now a framework for how we treat our supporters that underpins our fundraising.
It has taken time to get there. And at times it has sparked some tricky conversations. But when you win an award with such credibility within the sector, it makes all that hard work worthwhile. It builds faith and confidence that you’re on the right path.
It’s been an immense privilege to hold the Fundraising Charity of the Year title and one that has brought a positive impact – pride, collaboration and positive change – across the whole Crisis team.
Good luck to all of this year’s entrants!
Ralph Welch, Supporter Experience Manager at Crisis
Enter your charity into the National Fundraising Awards - deadline for nominations is 5pm Friday 23 March