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3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

Just one thing…

: Andrew Evans

Andrew Evans, now Director of Development at National Museums Liverpool, explains why it's so vital to get everyone in your organisation proud of the cause...

You start your new job as the first fundraiser in an organisation. Word gets out well before you've even seen a desk. By the time someone gives you access to email there are already a bunch of requests for projects that need cash and a small queue of hopeful people forming at your door, looking for £5,000 here and £20,000 there. It's all quite intimidating, especially if, like me, you hate to disappoint people.

So, where do you start with it all?

There are, of course, hundreds of possibilities - and at Fundraising Convention, I'll talk about quite a number of them. Some of them are about strategy and shaping direction for the future. Others are about getting things going fast and getting some actual cash in the door. But, over the years, I've concluded that one thing is more important than anything else: giving everybody in the organisation confidence to talk to anybody about the brilliant work they do.

Many of our charities, even quite sizeable ones, do great work but somehow suffer from a (totally unnecessary) sense that it's vulgar to shout about it. So much so that often even other staff who aren't frontline, trustees and others who are really involved don't really properly realise how amazing the work is.

I've always made it my mission to get everybody, volunteers and staff, feeling comfortable enough to enthuse about the things they do. It pays huge dividends in so many ways; the descriptions of projects for trusts and foundations are much improved; you can bring donors and prospects round with confidence; people become much more creative with their ideas about who might support the work.

So how do you do that? Enthusiasm is caught not taught; so really involving yourself in understanding the work and why it's valuable is essential. Especially in an organisation where you're new and other people have been there a while just reminding people how worthwhile the cause is can be particularly powerful. I've also found that working together to create material that showcases the cause to others really brings people together and gives them a focus to express their pride; and the digital era makes this easier than ever before.

One of the first things we did during my previous role at Bluecoat Arts Centre after I started was commission a short (and very inexpensive!) video about the participation work with adults with learning disabilities and primary school children.

It's been widely viewed and has inspired people to be advocates for us. It's led to a renewed sense of pride amongst the team who deliver this work that it's really valued, awareness amongst "behind the scenes" staff of the quality of the work and has really impressed donors leading to gifts far in excess of the cost of the video.

My one thing: make everyone proud of the work they do, so they don't mind being bold in raising money for it.

Take a look at Andrew's Convention session: How to survive being a first fundraiser

Andrew Evans, Director of Development, National Museums Liverpool

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