INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Managers can do it for themselves by getting trained on their own

ANDREA HARPER, MInstF, is trust and corporate fundraising manager at the Refugee Council

Having read Angie Kay's member viewpoint (Third Sector, 21 August), I wrote down some thoughts on management skills training opportunities for fundraisers.

From what I've experienced, few charities provide a structured career path, partly because few are large enough, and partly because of concerns over equal opportunities. Add to this a lack of resources for "core costs

such as training and you get a situation where training in management skills is seen as a luxury. This creates an ideal opportunity to show initiative and leadership in your own life by arranging your own management training.

So far I've found three options:

A structured course leading to a qualification. The advantages are that you get a recognised qualification and can show that you have plenty of commitment. The disadvantages are that they can be expensive, have exams and assignments on top of your existing job, and may be too divorced from the reality of work.

One- or two-day courses such as "Introduction to Management

run by local providers. They can provide the key concepts and they're a good chance to network with people in a similar position. However, it's easy to forget all about it when you get back to work, there's no guarantee of standards, and they can be proportionately more expensive than a structured course.

Just do it - many local charities are desperate for new trustees with fundraising experience. Do some homework, however, on your legal responsibilities, the financial state of the organisation, and the expectations of the other trustees and staff. If you are unlucky, you will learn rather too much about playing politics, but then, that is part of being a manager too.

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

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