I have a confession to make. It’s weird because the thing that I’m confessing really wasnt something I did purposely or even really realised I was doing. But it most definitely has been done.
My last 9-5 involved managing a major project and seeking funds for the project. I remember being in my interview and saying that I was confident in the project management, event management and marketing aspects of the role. However, I’d never fundraised and so would most definitely need support in that area. So I got the job and after a year and a half the time rolled around to start looking for funding.
The first thing I did was to speak to our current funders who were dropping us. Somehow in that conversation, I managed to get over £40k from our contact person. I hadn’t actually asked for that. It just somehow happened and to this day I can’t really explain to you how.
The next conversation I had was with KPMG who had previously sponsored the project (in kind). Again after one phone call and a couple of emails, they were back on board and supporting the project for the following year. I started working closely with a colleague who headed the organisations fundraising team. With her experience, she did the majority of the bid writing but I watched closely and picked up on the methods and language she used. We got a lot of rejections and then a response from a grant giving charity asking for a phone conversation with the Project Manager…me. I prepared, put on my fake the funk cape and had the conversation. Thankfully the charity were able to give a few thousand pounds to the project.
Sadly this was not enough to keep the project running and this was one of the reasons it ended. But I’ve noticed that a lot of friends who are starting projects come to me for advice on raising funds.
My confession? Dude, I don’t have a clue.
Seriously. To me my previous ‘successes’ feel über flukey and I don’t really feel I have the experience to be giving advice. I literally have people saying “I’m getting in touch because so and so told me you know about fundraising”, or “I know you know about getting sponsors”. Do I!?
I don’t feel like this is the type of thing you can fake till you make it. At the end of the day people will eventually want to see money. I’m honest with people and say I really am not an expert, but actually every expert needed to start somewhere. I’m considering doing the research and taking the courses that will enable to write those winning bids. It will be a great source of income and I’ll have the opportunity to help a lot of worthy causes at the same time.
I think my first step is to build up my success rate.