INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Strong communications make for good business

LINDSAY BOSWELL, chief executive at the Institute of Fundraising

After a pretty fine holiday on the west coast of Scotland (only half a day's rain and not a midge in sight), it's a bit of a bump to hit the desk in London despite a suntan and an extra half a stone in weight.

So what has happened in the fundraising world during August?

One key document released in August is research carried out for the sector's national training organisation into occupational standards for fundraising, which sets out an "occupational and functional map for fundraising".

You would probably not want to share a lift with me if I said that I found the report inspiring, but it is. To come back with a head full of fresh air and read an academic celebration of the complex, sophisticated and demanding job of fundraising is marvellous.

Communication skills are key to success. This was further highlighted in an article about charity mergers (Third Sector, 14 August). Joanna Van Driel, executive director of marketing at the Terrence Higgins Trust, spoke about the need for excellent communications when carrying out mergers and changing management. Joanna is the veteran of nine different mergers and is something of an expert at change management and communications.

The success and growth of the Terrence Higgins Trust is proof that Van Driel's strategy has worked. This is no coincidence. While the article was concerned with mergers between charities, there is a growing trend to carry out mergers between departments and functions within charities, and these probably have a bigger impact on fundraisers.

Many charities are reorganising their structures to bring fundraising and communications together.

The former director of communications at the BBC Matthew Bannister made this point at the National Fundraising Convention last month. Good fundraisers have the ability to get the right message across to staff and supporters and should view organisational restructuring as an opportunity.

A joint marketing, fundraising and communications function with a strong central fundraising voice can only be a positive move. One that fundraisers should encourage and seek to lead.

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