Turn that buzz of excitement into better fundraising
Fundraising Convention was memorable for so many reasons with a real buzz of excitement after a couple of very challenging years. We could have had relentless self-pitying GDPR moans and groans but we didn’t. That isn’t what Convention is about. It is about reflecting, learning, improving and embracing change and this year we had this by the bucket load.
I am a proud fundraiser and this year I felt particularly proud of my fellow fundraisers as it was clear how up for change we all are and how determined we are to improve in so many ways.
So don’t let all the good advice, ideas and suggestions go to waste. The biggest crime you can commit after Convention is to ignore the notes you made and let go of those actions you wanted to take. It is easily done, I know, so don’t bury those notes in a drawer. You’ll end up kicking yourself.
Talk about it
One of the things we do at Blue Cross is get together within two weeks as an entire team and share what we learnt with each other. I wish I could take credit for this idea but I can’t. I am lucky to work in a big team which many don’t but even if there are just two of you arrange a meeting and share what you’ve learnt.
If you are a sole fundraiser then book some time with your manager and talk them through the sessions you attended. By speaking about the sessions and going through your notes you will bring back to life all the most important bits you may already be beginning to forget. This exercise is good both for your colleagues and you personally.
Make a list
Another thing you can do is put aside 15-30 minutes to go through all your notes and find the key learnings you want to use in your future work from this point onwards. It is very likely that you can identify three key learnings from each session you went to. Compile a top tips sheet that summarises all the things that impressed you. This way you can turn five or six pages of notes into one side of bullet points that make sense at a glance. Have a copy of this sheet on your wall next to where you sit or even save it as your desktop wallpaper. I know lots of fundraisers who start each day by consulting a To Do list. Attach this sheet to it.
Get in touch
Go through any business cards you got from networking at the Convention. Send all these new contacts an email saying it was good to meet them. If you spoke to any of the speakers send them a message saying how much you enjoyed their session. These contacts are there to be followed up. If someone will take the trouble to prepare a 45 minute presentation for Convention they will be genuinely happy to answer a question afterwards. Networking is extremely important – become a part of the wider, future conversation.
The end of Convention is the start of the rest of your career. Make the most of it. It will always help you and never hinder you in your work. And while you think about what Convention has done to help you, why not consider applying to speak yourself next year? This is another way of learning so much about yourself and gaining invaluable experience. If you would like to but need help then we can advise or mentor you. I promise you won’t regret it.
I often say that Convention just gets better and better. Once again, I feel full of inspiration and ideas that I want to turn into meaningful action. Make sure you do the same.
Matt Cull, Fundraising Consultant and Adviser and Fundraising Convention Board member