Status of UK Fundraising 2019: Three Steps to Boosting your Fundraising Confidence

July 15, 2019 Louise Sparks

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Status of UK Fundraising 2019: Three Steps to Boosting your Fundraising Confidence

By Stephanie Harvey, Fundraising Manager, Little Village

The Status of UK Fundraising 2019 Benchmark Report launched at the IoF Convention earlier this month. To build the report, Blackbaud and the Institute of Fundraising surveyed over 1000 non-profits, and we found a common theme was respondents telling us that they have more confidence in their own organisation than in the wider social good sector.

We asked Stephanie Harvey, fundraising manager from Little Village, to tell us her thoughts on this…

“Why is it always easier to give your opinion anonymously? Or if not anonymously, to a faceless survey?  Well I gave my opinion loud and clear to the Status of UK Fundraising survey, and then they only went and asked me to share even more of my views via a blog!

It's really heartening to hear that half of people believe their charity is taking steps to tackle diversity issues. It is a subject that desperately needs addressing; and I just hope that the steps taken are in the form of action and not just words on a strategy. Interestingly, only 21% thought the wider sector was doing the same with regards to diversity. The same was true about non-profits’ abilities to face certain challenges, with people more confident that their own charity would succeed, rather than feeling positive about the wider sector.

I am wondering if this reflects the feelings of the general public, with trust in charities falling. We have all seen the negative news with various stories being uncovered of late, and like others we were disappointed and angry about what was shared in the press. Just because we work in the sector, doesn’t mean that we are immune to the bad press – and perhaps it’s also shaken our trust in the sector.

However, I also believe that we reflect the wider public view that whilst we might not like the current public face of charities, we still like the ones we know and support. I do feel optimistic about the future for the charity I am working for, and that positivity allows me to feel I’m doing a good job and making a difference.

So, what advice would I give to anyone who doesn’t feel confident, or feels their non-profit needs to do more? Well, all charities and fundraisers are different, so I have been thinking about how to turn my experiences into guidance so I can ultimately save fundraising and thus the entire sector… Well, a girl’s got to dream, hey? That’s why I got into this biz in the first place!

  1. Listen and share

When I first started working in fundraising (around 15 years ago) it felt a very secretive field. Now there is a lot more openness around sharing successes and failures as ultimately, we all want to be good in our roles. So, my advice is to share your experiences and listen to others; get involved in the many networks we have in the sector, both online and in actual real life! I learnt so much by going to anything I could get into – and also from my colleagues by listening in the office when I was making the tea/doing the photocopying.

  1. Feel inspired again

Remember why you are there in the first place, and outside the targets, the branding, the campaigns and the pitches – think about the reason you wanted to be a fundraiser in the first place. Keep the impact at the heart of your activity. Get the fire in your belly again.

  1. Don’t forget self-care

Finally, and most importantly, look after yourself. Fundraising is an exhausting career driven by both targets and the desire to make a difference. There seems to be never-ending opportunities and often we need to have back-up options for plans. Stay sane, follow your gut, eat well and stretch your legs. You’re not giving your best when you’re not at your best, and the people/animals/plants/issue that your charity is supporting needs you. To quote one of my favourite films, Pride: “Don’t give it all to the fight, keep some for home”.

If you haven't already, read the Status of UK Fundraising 2019

*Opinions are the writer's own and not those of Blackbaud

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