What encouraged you to join the programme?
When Covid hit, there was a lot of uncertainty within the sector – especially within Trusts and Foundations. I didn’t know what the impact on donations and potential giving would be. In addition to this, many people in the organisation were furloughed and it was hard to know what was going to happen. When the opportunity came to upskill and dedicate time to my personal and professional development through the Fundraising Diploma, it was an easy decision to put myself forward.
How has the experience been?
The cohort includes a real mix of levels of fundraising experience, with some having worked in the sector for 15+ years, to those who have just started in the profession. It was good as it meant that there was breadth and depth of knowledge among my fellow learners. I got the opportunity to understand fundraising from different aspects of the organisation. Naturally, this meant I was able to see different points of view and benefit from diversity of thought. For example, a Philanthropy fundraising learner would learn a lot from someone in Community Fundraising in how they managed senior volunteers and vice versa.
What has been the key impact of the programme?
The course has helped with my time management across teams and in my new role. I have learnt a lot about negotiating and influencing and I am most definitely putting this into practice. Most notably, it has increased my confidence. This has come from working one-to-one with my coach as well as the huge amounts of knowledge that I have gained. The course has been so helpful in making me more confident in providing regular feedback and having the ability to negotiate new terms of working.
The whole programme has been really valuable. For example, while Philanthropy Fundraising is an area I was already familiar with, that module gave me new skills and opened my eyes to that aspect of my role. I also gained new skills such as prospect planning and donor mapping which I was delighted to be able to use in the interview which resulted in my promotion.
When I started the Diploma and spoke with my coach, it helped me understand the direction that I wanted to take in my career. The programme gives you a thorough understanding of the different income streams, as well as the fundamentals of fundraising. I gravitated towards Philanthropy and Gifts in Wills, whereas Community and Events was less attractive to me.
Would you recommend to other Fundraisers?
Absolutely! I have already recommended this programme to other colleagues at UNICEF UK. Being on the course, I have a good insight into who would benefit from participating. For instance, one of my teammates recently moved from Ambassador Relations to Philanthropy to manage a group of young philanthropists.
I also recommended this to the Fundraising Director’s Personal Assistant. They are a key support system for the Director which means they are exposed to the day-to-day of fundraising. But they are not necessarily aware of the various activities involved in the different income streams.
All the themes covered in the programme run through the organisation, regardless of role. By doing an apprenticeship, I have been able to put new knowledge into practice and see things from a different perspective. I have gained an accredited qualification without the cost and it’s a great way to add something new to my CV.
What are you hoping in terms of a career?
I want to progress in Philanthropy. I love relationship management and would love to stay with UNICEF UK for as long as possible.
Any advice for future learners?
Make sure you manage your time well, as you want to make sure you have the capacity to put your all into the course.
Speak to people across your organisation to get their input when it comes to learning different modules. Not only is this a great way to build relationships and network internally, but it is a great way to apply the information to real-life situations that are happening across your charity.