What buying my first home taught me about fundraising

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Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed I had a fairly quiet twitter presence over the weekend. This is because last Friday I became a home owner! To me, this was a huge life goal and I could not be more thrilled. With that in mind, it has been a long and educational journey and fundraising geek that I am, I have a few lessons from buying my first home that I think can be applied to fundraising. So here we go…

It takes time

Buying a home, like fundraising, does not happen quickly. Buying a great home takes time and so does great fundraising. Accept that nothing happens overnight. There will be doubtful times where you’re unsure if things will turn out as you hoped. Stick to your plan and the results will come in time.

It takes investment

Being a first time buyer in London means that the odds were against me to get on the property ladder. Saving for a deposit is something that took me years. I invested time and energy into a clear savings plan and I stuck to it, knowing that it would take 4 years to reach my goal. Investing in the future of a charity is like this. Set up a clear plan of action and stick to it. Invest where you need to to see real development and growth and be patient for the return.

It doesn’t always work first time

Ups and downs were just part of life during the year I spent viewing properties. Four times I had an offer accepted and then got ‘gazzumped’. I heard the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ more during this time in my life than ever before. In the same way, I have had massive fundraising lows; Expected income not being met, events underperforming, trying and failing to come up with exciting and engaging fundraising. Not everything happens first time. Stay focussed. You WILL get there.

You have to chase people

Man, the amount I paid those solicitors during this process you expect great service. Unfortunately, I had to constantly chase them up for updates, information and generally just urge them along to get anything done. This is similar in fundraising. We have to chase people. It is no good just sending out one appeal letter and thinking that everything else will follow. You have to follow up, you have to ask again, you have to have a constant drip of information around fundraising and slowly but surely you will start to see the results of your work all come together to get the result you want and need.

It feels like someone is always doing it better

Like many, I am on a variety of social media platforms and being in a group of similar aged friends, many of us are also on the journey to becoming home-owners. For a long time it felt like everyone else was ahead of me on their journey. Everyone else seemed to get there faster and better. I constantly had to tell myself not to pay attention to what other people were doing and that I was reaching my own individual goals. It’s the same in fundraising. There are so many different organisations and just because one charity is having huge success in their legacy giving doesn’t mean your legacy appeal is ‘worse’ than theirs. It is a different message. It is a different organisation. It’s a different timeline and you are on different journeys. What works for some may be terrible for others. Keep your eyes on your own fundraising, your own goals and your own outcomes. By all means learn from others and seek advice but don’t obsess about their results versus yours.

It is worth it

The feeling of achievement I got when I walked through my new front door for the first time was comparable to no other. I would 100% go through everything again to get this result. It was fantastic. Equally, when you are a fundraiser and everything comes together; your plan, your execution, your results and your outcome, there is a sense of pride that comes with it, pride at your part in making the world a better place. While you have been learning along the way, you have become a better fundraiser and more experienced and you have genuinely impacted your organisation in a tangible way and that is why I am a fundraiser.

 

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