Friday, September 17, 2010

What I wish I knew

A colleague tweeted the other day asking what as a fundraiser do I wish I'd known/done early in my career?

I'm not one for regrets, but racked my brains to think of some of the things that may have helped knowing when I stumbled into the fundraising world. Mainly:

- I wish I'd got my hands on the Tiny Books of Fundraising much, much earlier. They're called Tiny for a reason, but chock full of nuggets of information that are priceless and lay the foundations for what fundraising is all about.

These are a must read for any colleagues that work with me as part of their induction.

Likewise, Ken Burnett's Relationship Fundraising. A real gem.

- I wish I'd understood that what people say and do are two very different things. It didn't take me long to figure this one out, but knowing that "I won't read/respond to/give to that" doesn't necessarily correlate to response is a handy lesson to learn.

Ask yourself, how many statements do you make about things that you plan to do that you actually follow through on? Apply the same logic to fundraising. People simply respond to darn good fundraising, not just what they think they will.

- I wish I'd asked more people more tough questions. Show me some rubbish things you've done. Talk to me about the biggest screw up you've made. The worst performing campaign. There's lots of chest beating that happens, we're all guilty of it. But I'd rather work out how to avoid common pitfalls than simply look at muscle flexing and storming campaigns.

- I wish I'd realised how important it is to be disciplined with what you do, avoiding loads of distraction. I'm not suggesting stifling innovation, but I would encourage doing what works, and do it really well. Remember what pays the bills.

Ok, I'm starting to feel a little like a kid penning their Christmas wish list. I just wish I'd written this post a few years back.



Tom Ahern said...

Jonathon: This sort of list could be a book, compiling the same thoughts from lots of experts. It would be a great "welcome to fundraising" piece. Thank you, as always. Your posts are now mandatory reads for me.

Jonathon Grapsas said...

Thanks Tom.

I'm sure there could be some beauty's shared, let's make it happen? :)

Clare McDowall said...

Thanks for the book tips. As a relatively new fundraiser I'll be seeking them out.

Jonathon Grapsas said...

My pleasure Clare, they are terrific, must reads.

Pamela Grow said...

Sold. I'm a huge fan of Relationship Fundraising but haven't bought the tiny books yet. Thanks for the tip. I like Tom's idea.

Jonathon Grapsas said...

No worries Pamela, great reads the lot of them.