'The Award has given me the confidence to go for things I never would have before'
Andy King was the winner of the Best Fundraising Newcomer award at the National Fundraising Awards last year. He explains how things have changed for him since his win, and the opportunities and confidence it brought him.
Last July, I was absolutely bowled over to pick up the National Fundraising Award for Best Fundraising Newcomer – re-titled Rising Star award in 2019.
I’m often asked "what I did" to win, which is a difficult question to answer. A lot of it was to do with being in the right place, in the right team, at the right time. I work for a smaller, but ambitious, charity which let me try my hand at a huge number of things. I managed to double the size of our event income, do high level pitches and push the Trustee board to increase staff capacity within two years of starting my career.
To an extent, I think the success came from honesty and communication – I demanded the right to express concerns and ideas to senior management, owned up to failures and built on successes. My advice to fundraisers actually follows what the award helped me build on. Know the value of your own voice.
'Bolstered my confidence'
Knowing the value of my voice has been the main benefit of the Award. It’s bolstered my confidence, given me a whack of credibility and gave me a solid excuse to celebrate for at least a month.
The fundraising profession is about putting yourself out there. Applying to speak, asking for an introduction, making a donor ask. Being ‘the Best Fundraising Newcomer’ has given me the confidence to go for things I never would’ve before – including jobs, speaking slots at IoFFC and even starting a blog. This confidence has worked both ways: a number of people have given me chances on the confidence of the award – including the charity I am now chair of trustees of. Of course, there’s plenty of things I’ve applied for and not got, but knowing I have the voice to ask with is a massive change. As the adage goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
The credibility side of the award has been, frankly, fascinating. I woke up the next morning with a somewhat sore head and a number of LinkedIn requests – from recruiters, senior fundraisers and... my uncle, but I hope that one was a coincidence. My network has at least doubled in size – if not more – either through bumping into people at the remainder of Fundraising Convention or through social media. Knowing the ceremony would be heavily tweeted, I cleaned up my Twitter (deleting the cat memes in favour of some Fundraising Magazine links) and that acted as a springboard to a better social media presence. I now have a blog that I post to every three weeks and was really surprised at the size of the audience from the first post.
Finally, the celebration was obvious – from having Instagram content for days (me and my pal Steven K Amos) to a reason to raise a toast, it made more than my night – it made my month.
I can’t recommend more putting your events, campaign and team forward for a National Fundraising Award. We so rarely ruminate on our own successes – be the champion you deserve for yourself!
Entries for the National Fundraising Awards close on Wednesday 27 March. Judged by your fundraising peers, the Awards are free to enter and open to charities of all sizes in the UK. Find out more information.
Andy King, Partnerships Manager, East Africa Play