04 February 2015
Last week I gathered together a dozen or so fundraisers from Christian faith charities and churches in and around Nottingham. We met at the marvellous Malt Cross on St James’ Street – a venue with a personal connection after I helped them to secure £1.5m of Heritage Lottery and Trusts funding to renovate the historic Music Hall in 2014.
This meeting wasn’t to do fundraising, but to network and share experiences. In my role as a consultant I’m often contacted by fundraisers or people who have a fundraising responsibility somewhere in their role. After offering what advice I can, or sharing information, it is usually clear that fundraising is an isolated role.
Aware of the existence of the Institute of Fundraising East Midlands Group, our meeting was a chance for me to explore whether there is any appetite for a network that focussed on specific issues that face fundraisers in Christian organisations.
Having bribed attendants with a free coffee/tea/superMaltCrossHotChocolate! I conducted a little market research, and was surprised to find that only two of us were members of the Institute of Fundraising, whilst two held a qualification and one was working towards a qualification. Four of the eleven said that fundraising was part of their role alongside other responsibilities, and three each said that it was entirely their role, but either alone or as part of a wider team.
The group assembled had, between us, nearly 74 years of combined fundraising experience (ranging from 20+years to “just starting out”, with an average of 6.7 years’ experience). And our combined annual fundraising target was £1.2m, in support of organisations with a combined annual turnover in excess of £2.88m.
Given that it was the New Year I decided to kick off a discussion about what people learned last year, which prompted some interesting responses that I will blog about next time.
But for now, I was pleased to hear that everyone wanted to establish some kind of network – Fruitful Network Nottingham – meeting three to four times a year and in touch in between times, and I’ll be thinking through what that looks like in the coming weeks and months.
Ideas from the group included sharing best practice, exploring partnerships, receiving training, hearing from inspiring speakers, discussing key issues such as ethics in fundraising, donor retention, monitoring and evaluation, signposting to resources, linking via social media, and generally supporting each other in our work.
In fact, my only regret was not getting some photos of the event to add to my blog (#notetoself)!
If you’d be interested in joining us then contact me at email@example.com