19 December 2017back

Creative Internships Blog Week 12

Johnny Dawson, Hijinx Theatre

One of the reasons I chose to go into fundraising is to challenge myself.  I have always found it a struggle to be confident and approach people.  In fundraising, all you’re doing is approaching people – and you’re approaching people to do one of the things that we as people feel somewhat uncomfortable about: Asking for money!  This is sometimes simpler to do from behind a computer in the form of an email, or trust application.  It’s less easy to do over the phone – especially when cold calling – and even more so in person.

This past month has taught me some things that will set me on my way to overcoming this problem in my professional life.  Early in November, I attended a training course run by the Independent Theatre Council on Effective Fundraising.  It was a great day-long workshop, mainly focused on trusts, some of whom I was familiar with already. 

There were two main lessons I took from it though:

-          Firstly, contacting a trust via the phone is just a conversation between two people.  Don’t get mentally weighed down by the fact that they are gatekeepers to money you wish to access; you get flustered and make mistakes.

-          Secondly, trusts exist because they WANT to help charities.  So why wouldn’t they want to hear from you?

Towards the end of November, I attended the Arts & Business Cymru Fundraising Symposium.  I got to hear from some great trusts. Amanda McMurray, from Colwinston Charitable Foundation, told us that she likes to hear from people who are considering applying, because it means everyone can be on the same page.  

The worst that can happen is that you come away from a conversation like this with the knowledge that this trust is not going to support your organisation.  This saves everyone time.  I must ask myself, is that really a bad thing?  My answer is no, it’s a good thing!  

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