INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Make more time to put creativity back into fundraising solutions

GARETH EDWARDS, chief executive of fundraising and creativity consultancy Company Solutions (UK) and volunteer chief executive of Farplace Animal Rescue

High targets, not enough time to do everything, stress, no idea of what a work-life balance might feel like. These emotions are all too typical for most fundraisers in today's marketplace.

When we are firefighting and problem solving all the time, we don't have the time to be creative and find the ideal fundraising solutions.

However, there are many things we can do to prevent this creative block, which will both unlock new ideas and business improvements and have a dramatic effect on morale.

Try introducing dedicated creative days for all staff away from office pressures - encourage staff to each take a day with a notebook and pen in a natural environment to think about improvements to fundraising and new ideas to develop.

Build a core creative team of staff who are dedicated to spending at least one day a week on such ideas and improvements. Give the group the resources to pilot events and activities and the space on management and other fundraising meetings to propose changes and test activities to improve products and introduce new ones.[QQ*] Begin to introduce a culture that encourages ideas for business improvement from staff with these measures. Toyota's Taichi Ohno said: "Something is wrong if workers do not look around each day, find things that are tedious or boring, and then rewrite the procedures. Even last month's manual should be out of date."

We would do well as fundraisers to encourage our staff to use their creativity in this way to improve our fundraising procedures and activities and to create new ones. Just think of the dynamic and interesting marketplace we would create if we all did this.

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