Friday, 16 December 2011

Why can’t we all just get along? Why politics doesn't have a part to play in fantastic fundraising.

Last week I helped deliver a workshop about Integrated Fundraising at the IOF London conference – with a fellow charity chick @lucyinnovation. This was a new topic for me - and I was charged with focusing on how best to work together across teams and departments. So over recent weeks I’ve thought a lot about how best to work with others and the reasons why relationships with other teams can sometimes get in the way of fantastic fundraising.

I also reflected that the best piece of advice I was given a number of years ago was to stop spending my time being frustrated with colleagues and other teams and to instead invest all my energy in being as good I could possibly be at my own job and in raising money. Mr Tait's frank speaking changed my outlook overnight and rarely since have I let anything get in the way of raising the most possible money for the causes I'm passionate about.

But let's be honest personalities and politics can sometimes interfere with our work, our projects and our ambitions for fundraising. Making sure that people and teams integrate and work together is often easier said than done but at every level we have the responsibility and ability to promote collaborative working.

With any project, with any problem, with any achievement – we can get people together and share - share our vision, our goals, our challenges. That's before we even start a project but then we need to continue to do so throughout. We can bring our colleagues into the fold but then we need to truly value what they bring to the party – their perspective, their input, their assistance and their constructive criticism. 

We need to make sure people not only feel a part of it – but that they are a part of it. And yes this does take precious time that we might not have - and it can mean that projects are more complex and take longer to implement – but also that they will be more powerful. 

We are more likely to innovate, integrate and deliver fundraising campaigns that achieve stand out if we can work together with our colleagues at a time when competition for the donor pound is greater than ever before.

As leaders we also have a responsibility to make sure  integration and collaboration is central to the culture of our teams. I believe that fundraising isn’t and can’t be an island within a charity - we can’t and indeed shouldn’t work in isolation - because everything we do needs to be aligned with the vision, strategy and needs of the charities that we work for. That's why fundraising and fundraisers exist after all.

So in summary, we should all do our best to collaborate, because one thing is for sure our beneficiaries don't care about politics - especially all the lost and abandoned dogs and cats at Battersea.

Liz Tait
Director of Fundraising at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

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