Institute of Fundraising: Fundraising outside of the major cities is a lonely job

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising

Is this true?

Sadly, for many fundraisers, it is the case. Often they are line managed by a non-fundraiser who perhaps does not fully understand their role.

However, this is not limited to only certain parts of the country. The point is that many fundraisers work for small organisations and do not have the support or back-up that being in a fundraising department can give. Often they have fundraising as just one part of their job, and that sometimes means being the boss - which can be doubly lonely.

Any help?

The fundraising world is full of people sharing experiences and ideas.

Most fundraisers do not regard their peers as rivals but as sources of support and a way of sharing issues. The Institute runs a whole series of branch groups across the four countries of the UK. All of these groups are run by and for fundraisers in a voluntary way. They are there to allow fundraisers to connect. The twin barriers of geography and money can be a block sometimes, but the extensive coverage and the low pricing structure means they are available to literally anyone in fundraising.

Do I have to be a member of the Institute?

No. The National Regional and Special Interest Groups all open their doors to non-members. Indeed, in some, the majority of those attending an event will not yet have considered joining, as they are possibly new to fundraising and still looking at the sector. The Institute believes passionately that it must provide opportunities for all fundraisers to get support and knowledge through its branch structure and those who regard fundraising as their career will see the benefits in then joining.

What do these groups do?

Given that they are run by fundraisers giving their time voluntarily, their activities differ from region to region and special interest group to special interest group. However, all offer opportunities to network and to attend seminars and training events. Many run an annual conference. There is always the opportunity to seek advice and this works on the principle of passing questions and queries on to a third party if the answer is not known. Some of the groups offer a variety of sophisticated email and web-based support systems.

How do I contact a group?

The best way is via email. All groups give details of their meetings and events on the Institute's website. See the side column for details of the various groups.

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