Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Things I have learned #1

It’s day one and a bit of the IFC in Holland and already I’ve been struck by the things I have learned. So, I thought I’d share a few.

1. Team working can be a challenge, but also a pleasure
The Masterclass I attended was built around a real case study and the problems of an organisation. And we had to work hard – and in groups. Working in groups is always interesting but when you know hardly any of the people, all come from different countries, backgrounds, experience, types of fundraising and are communicating in a language which might not be a mother tongue, it can lead to a challenging experience.

So, I learned some patience. It really is a virtue. It’s something I do struggle with – I’ll admit to that. But the work really demonstrated the power of listening, talking and working together. I enjoyed it.

Note to self: I should do this more often.

2. Step outside of your comfort zone
The first workshop I went to was about corporate fundraising. This is not my discipline of fundraising, so I attended to broaden my horizons and hopefully learn some new skills. And, following on from my Masterclass experience, I wanted to step into my colleagues shoes and see what they experience on a daily basis.

It was great. I learned that NGO’s are from Venus and Corporates are from Mars. I learned that it’s bullshit (sic) that Corporates give because it feels good. In the words of our presenter, “Why should businesses care about that?” 

I learned that, “If you want to dance with the wolves, you have to behave like them.” For a corporate fundraiser, this is probably nothing they don’t already know. For a digital and direct marketing fundraiser it made perfect sense, but was great to hear.

Note to self: I should do this more often.

3. Look outside the UK
One thing I’ve always loved about attending the IFC is the opportunity to talk to, and learn from, amazing fundraisers from all over the world. I know what charities are doing in the UK – I’m an avid watcher of fundraising, reader of blogs and reviewer of competitors.

Attending always reminds me how much I forget to look outside of the UK for ideas and inspiration. There are brilliant fundraisers all over the world. And we should look to them more. Amongst many examples today, these two stood out for me:

Note to self: I should do this more often.

4. Go with the flow
I realise I have to admit to always cringing inwardly about the thought of sitting in a room full of fundraisers at a plenary session, listening to people tell me how wonderful we are and how we’re changing the world. I might be tempted to roll my eyes at the whoops of enthusiasm and I wonder where did this cynicism come from? 

Because, you see, I LOVE what I do. I know why I do it (I do want to make a difference), and I am passionate about fundraising in every form. So why do I react like this?  Why does the thought of people whooping because they’re motivated and inspired embarrass me?

I’m not going to start analysing myself intently. The answer is clear. I just need to get over it. Go with the flow. Feel the love. And join in. Even an old cynic like me can be inspired and motivated by a plenary session full of passion and joy.

Note to self: I should do this more often.

5. And lastly, don’t drink too much on your first night
Getting up with a hangover and not enough sleep is something I really should have learned by now....Sometimes it really isn’t possible to teach an old dog new tricks.

Note to self: This is not something I’ll probably ever learn and will, in fact, do this more often.

Thanks for reading. I'm off for a glass of wine.

Do follow me on Twitter @roxymartinique


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