What FRIENDS can teach you about fundraising

giphy 9.gif

As a millennial, its unsurprising that I am in fact, a huge FRIENDS fan. I’m talking serial offender of saying the lines while watching and still laughing at the jokes that I’ve definitely heard hundreds of times before. I love it and I feel like I will always enjoy re-watching FRIENDS.

In my career as a fundraiser, I like to try and draw analogies between real-life experiences and how I can learn from those in my work as a fundraiser. For example, I’ve written a blog on what buying my first home taught me about fundraising. (Check it out and don’t forget to trust the vision!) I also wrote an article on how fundraising and dating are essentially the same thing.

Therefore, while re-watching the episode ‘the one when where Ross and Rachel were on a break’ and still getting emotional at Ross and Rachel’s break up (no YOU’RE crying), I thought to myself, each of the friends has something to teach us fundraisers. So here we go…


Ever the perfectionist, Monica has an eye for detail and anything out of place.

What you can learn – re-read your work, ask yourself is this ‘Monica clean?’ Can you beat last-year-you? Just because an appeal was good enough last year doesn’t mean it is good enough now. Try to better yourself and your work.


With the well-known catch phrase ‘How you doinnnnn’, Joey has a way with his love interests that most of us can only dream of!

What you can learn – See if you can up your donor-love game. Can you treat even more donors like the wonderful people they are? Can you shower them all in donor love? A little bit of appreciation and the occasional delighter moment can vastly improve your fundraising game.



Seeing the funny side of things and making people happy with jokes is Chandler’s key characteristic.

What you can learn – Making your donors happy will inevitably be great for your cause. Delight them with what they have made possible but also don’t take yourself too seriously. For example, check out ‘Phil the bag’ and his fundraising appeal!


The wonderfully weird Phoebe! So unique and different to the other Friends but still loved by them all.

What you can learn – Your unique selling point is EXACTLY why your donors love you. You don’t have to do the same number of appeals as another charity, you don’t have to have the same approach as another charity. Your charity is unique and that should be what you use to ensure long standing relationships that are meaningful. Use your uniqueness to your advantage and don’t apologise for being different.


Super stylish fashion icon Rachel had the wardrobe I and all my friends wanted. She drove  trends and even today people still talk about ‘the Rachel’ haircut. Rachel knew her style, knew how to work it and always stayed on trend.

What you can learn – Keeping up to date with trends in fundraising is a great way to develop your own skills. Attend networking events, find out what is working for others and try them out yourself! If you work for a small charity, you don’t have to be the drivers of innovation in the sector, but you can always keep informed about what is happening in the sector as a whole and move your own charity into new and exciting possibilities.


Ross loves history, paleontology, and really anything that he considers interesting to teach his friends. He enjoys imparting wisdom and sharing his knowledge.

What you can learn – Historical ways of fundraising are great sounding boards for your current work. For example, learning about community fundraising from the earliest Oxfam fundraisers shows us how wonderful personal relationships have always been for fundraising but also how far we have come in furthering this skill. You can also impart your own wisdom by signing up to a mentoring scheme and teaching a new generation of fundraisers all of the learnings you’ve had in your own career. There really are very few professions quite like that of fundraisers when it comes to sharing knowledge and helping one another.

And on the note of sharing experience and knowledge, if you have a guest blog you would like to submit, please do!