Fruitful Network Nottingham – May 2015

This guest-post comes from Emily, Grants Fundraiser at Trent Vineyard. Emily has been working with me at Fruitful Fundraising for a couple of months, and has the following to say about the most recent Fruitful Network gathering:


The network meeting took place on May 18th and was attended by around 8 people from across Nottinghamshire with all different levels of experience and fundraising backgrounds. We met in The Malt Cross café in the centre of Nottingham which is non-profit organisation.



As a relatively new member, I found it interesting hearing where everyone had come from and their own fundraising journeys. I only started working in corporate fundraising in 2013 at Boots in the Corporate Social Responsibility team and came to work in the third sector at Trent Vineyard in March 2015 which is quite a contrast from my previous role.



We started the meeting off by introducing ourselves and Sean kicked us off on the subject of ‘Spirituality of Fundraising’ and shared with us a book that he found rather useful callSoF covered A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J.M. Nouwen. “Fundraising is, first and foremost, a ministry,” renowned author and teacher Henri Nouwen writes in the introduction. “It’s a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission.” The author approaches fundraising from a position of strength rather than weakness, seeing it as spiritual work. “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging”. These insights have shifted my thinking about fundraising as you should never feel like you are begging for money but instead viewing your work as true ministry.


Richard then presented on the NottinghN Insightam Insight resource which helps local organisations to gather evidence based data around need and services. A few people had heard of this already although it was great to understand the range of information you can gather and how to navigate around the site. Ruth then mentioned that she found a section rather useful when researching; the Nottingham insight mapping tool. Personally this is really great when writing bids around the question of ‘how do you know there is a need?’ as this question nearly always comes up and the funder wants to know if you have done your research properly. The information is easy to access and has up to date statistics that will really benefit your application. Web page link:


I then presented on my recent Introduction to Fundraising course that took place in Derby and provided by the Institute of Fundraising which covered a variety of things from the Role of Fundrasing to the Bond of Trust; It was surprising the amount of charities that don’t thank the donor or provide a progress report on time and the donor is unlikely to fund again if this is the case. I then showed a video on tips of a capital appeal:


I also covered the topic of volunteers and donors and what really motivates them and related it to Triangle ThingyMaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which shows that if you have your basic physiological needs, you can then go through the different stages of the pyramid. It is good to know where the volunteer or donor sits on the pyramid and they may be motivated in all different ways: Volunteers may do it for the social factor and meeting new people, personal connection to charity, feel good factor, to gain skills and experience. Donors could be motivated by social status, giving something back to the community, ego boost etc. A quote we were left with on the course was: ‘A plan is nothing, planning is everything’ –highlights the importance of preparation work and evaluating post project/application or event. Web link to IoF:


It was also great to get some insight from others in the room and there were conversations around sharing personal experiences with the donor and building up that relationship with them in order for them to understand the charity and the impact and also for the fundraiser to find out what the donor likes to fund. There were also discussions around using the right types of communication in the right approach as sometimes a phone call may not be appropriate or on other occasions it may not be enough, sometimes a personal visit builds up that rapport. We also briefly touched on the subject of legacy giving and sometimes the difficulty of approaching the subject with donors.


Sean then ended on some useful organisations which offer support and guidance and then shared some generally useful fundraising web links.


Overall the meeting was really useful as it covered a variety of topics and generated conversation about people’s personal experiences, difficulties and successes. The next meeting is on 21st September and the venue is yet to be confirmed as we discussed potentially meeting somewhere different.

Please contact Sean for more information:


– Thanks to Emily for the blog. I may be inviting other Network members to blog future events! Let me know if you’re interested.

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