Get talking

Last night I learned something. I did an evening talk to my peers – a room full of fundraisers from a wide range of causes. Major donor fundraisers at that. With a day to go that feeling of ‘why oh why did I agree to do a talk?‘ crept in. Those doubts of whether what I had to say would be of interest. Would I stumble the delivery?

But afterwards that all changed.

Firstly it was a great feeling to share some stories and learnings along with results of what we were achieving at SolarAid – bizarrely we don’t get to do this often enough! It was great way to help me reflect.

Then it felt even better to get endorsements and feedback from the audience (of fundraisers). What a great test – put our case of support to fundraisers to see if it stands up and help make it better.

But then there was more.

During the useful networking slot scheduled afterwards I was given all sorts of ideas by my fellow fundraisers – several suggested possible collaborations we could do with their respective organisations, another suggested the idea to help reach new audiences (selling solar lights to expatriates as gifts to take back). Idea noted. I even had a great suggestion for a major donor prospect (someone they had come across whose values, principles and interests seem to fit ours, but not the cause they worked for). I’m on the case!

And SolarAid won a few more supporters too – “If I had lots of money I’d give it to SolarAid” sticks out in my mind. Well I hope she does well in her career!

Today I had some new LinkedIn connections and a note saying they were looking forward to putting the ideas into practice. Now I really do feel great. I came into fundraising to make a difference. By sharing my stories, my successes and failures, along with my learning and insights perhaps I have helped someone else make a bigger difference.

I’ve heard it often said that there are not enough speakers who are practising fundraisers. No doubt it’s that initial feeling that puts many off, the hassle of preparing a talk, and the time you just don’t have. But last night I learned you can get back as much as you put in.

So brush up on your delivery, think what you can offer, and get talking.  After all we do have the best stories to tell. I guarantee you will get plenty in return.

Thanks to Carlos for speaking with me, and the IoF Major Donor Special Interest Group for the opportunity.

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