INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Chance meetings with fellow fundraisers can bear fruit for everyone

David Thorne, MInstF (Cert), an area manager for the National Kidney Research Fund

Early on in my fundraising career I was despatched to a local village summer show, complete with a presenter desk and soft toys to raffle.

Once set up, I realised that the petite display and its position attracted few donors, and after four or five hours I was becoming somewhat disillusioned.

I began to wonder why I was wasting my time at the event. At this point of low morale, Justine breezed across to my display and announced that she was the founder member of a nearby kidney support group. We exchanged numbers and our relationship over the past four years has been mutually beneficial. The group benefits from the support that we as a national charity can give, and at the same time they have been more than generous donors over the same period.

The vital lesson is that wherever we might be, a chance meeting may prove very beneficial.

Some four years later, having enjoyed an Institute fundraising course at Sheffield University, I realise how many fellow fundraisers paddle a lone canoe, inasmuch that they are singularly employed to raise funds for a parochial cause. Not for them the benefit of a monthly meeting with colleagues where ideas are pooled and the regional financial target shared. As our course continued, I began to appreciate their company and realised that every minute spent networking was an opportunity not to be missed - more chance meetings, that again have proved of benefit.

Having spent a number of years in the private and public sectors I have discovered that those who are involved in the charitable sector are, invariably, only too willing to help anyone involved in fundraising for whatever cause.

Conclusion - look forward to your next chance meeting and benefit from it.

- The Institute welcomes Viewpoint articles from its members. Please email the membership manager (Membership@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk).

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