If you want to be great at what you do and stay ahead of the game; if you want to thrive in your role not just to survive in what you do, “you will have to keep well-informed and up to date and never imagine you know it all or even close,” Ken Burnett, an international fundraising, marketing, and communications specialist and author of 7 books advised me in our 1-2-1.
I couldn’t agree more with Ken Burnett, that continuous learning has always been important, but now, more so than ever, as we have all observed in recent times that things have been so volatile in the third sector and there have been constant changes from ‘fundraising regulator’ to ‘GDPR’ and much more. Fundraising is a tough business as it is and on the top, it is hard to keep yourself upgraded all the time with new emerging changes and trends in the sector. This is not just our sector, it is now a reality of our fast pace world – we will have to learn faster than the changes of the world. We will have to be learners by focusing on our strengths and working to improve them every day. If we stop learning and developing and equipping ourselves with what’s happening in the sector we will stop growing. Here are top three detriments if we stop learning:
1. We stop growing as professionals
2. We stop creating and innovating and thriving
3. We stop realising our full potential and we start becoming content with what we ‘know’ and have at the given moment.
Therefore, relevant market knowledge is crucial to our fundraising success, because it enables us to be better at understanding our donors, and as we know that understanding our donor is no more an option now, it is necessary and a pre-request of what we do.
If you are a fundraiser and you want to constantly strive to refine and improve what you do and you want to stay ahead of the game in the sector by keeping well informed, here are some tips:
1. Read the latest and best books on fundraising:
As a fundraiser it’s hard to find the time for reading books and here are my two cost and time effective tips for reading more books:
a. Travel book: I always keep a book in my bag and I call it the travel book and I read it daily during my train journey to work or meetings. There are only two things I can do when I am on train, use my phone or read the book, I prefer the reading book ( of course I use my phone only if necessary).
b. Bed Book: I always keep one book by my bed and read for 15 minutes before going to bed, again I try not to use the phone and prefer reading. So this is how I can be still super busy but manage to read something daily.
2. I always found below websites very helpful for latest news and trends in the third sector:
3. Get a Mentor: I have top professionals in the sector as mentors from those who worked for British Red Cross, Oxfam, Unicef, Action Aid and DEC
4. I also learn by mentoring and coaching other professionals – I am currently mentoring few fundraisers (If you work for charity under £5 million get in touch I might be able to help you)
5. Attend conferences, events and seminars focused on fundraising – IOF’s First Thursday evenings are good place to start with
6. Connect and network with like-minded professionals online and offline
7. Follow the sector’s leading professionals on Twitter and LinkedIn (make sure you send a polite request and reason why you want to connect with them)
8. Join all the relevant professional groups on LinkedIn
9. Subscribe to leading bloggers and influencer in the sector so you could be first one receiving their articles
10. Join Institute of Fundraising: By becoming a member of IOF you will be updated on latest trends regularly, you can access trainings and courses on special price, Also you receive free magazine every month, which I personally enjoy reading…