The early days of being a corporate fundraiser can be daunting. When I started as a corporate fundraiser I was in a brand new profession, in a new sector and I felt nervous, overwhelmed and alone. We want every corporate fundraiser to get off to the best possible start. Which is why we have created this blog sharing our five top tips for new corporate fundraisers.
Be a sponge
When you first start a job the temptation is to think you need to make an immediate impact. But honestly that isn’t the immediate goal. You can do that after three months. The big priority when you start is to learn the job, understand how they do things in your new organisation, and start building relationships with your colleagues. Be a sponge. Ask questions. Learn from others and soak up the information.
Do your homework
When you are approaching a corporate prospect or partner, take the time to do your research and really get to know them. What keeps their CEO up at night? What are they talking about in their latest impact reports and on social media? Have they been featured in the news recently saying something interesting that your charity could support them with? The more engaged you are in your preparation, the more thoughtful you will be when creating your tailored opportunity for them.
Become an engaging storyteller
As the well-known saying goes – “facts tell, stories sell.” People buy for emotional reasons, and they justify their decision with logic afterwards. One of the most important skills you can develop as a new corporate fundraiser is to tell stories. Ask your colleagues to share emotionally engaging stories about the work of your charity. Collect stories that inspire you, that speak directly to your heart. Your goal is to practice telling two or three stories that you can use when you meet with companies.
Clarify your objectives
Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” In other words, preparation is important. So, before you start putting lots of effort and energy into your new job, make sure you clarify your objectives first. After all, you don’t want to run off in completely the wrong direction! The best way to clarify your objectives is to sit down with your manager and agree them between you. Make sure they are realistic and you understand what is expected of you. Having clear objectives makes you much more likely to succeed.
Celebrate little wins
Sometimes it can be hard to stay motivated in the world of corporate fundraising. We know that it can take 6-18 months to build a new partnership. So you need to be patiently persistent. We recommend you break down the journey into the little steps, so it feels achievable. Then you should celebrate the little win as you make it to the next step. You completed your research on a prospect? That’s a little win! You identified the shared purpose for your charity and a prospect? That’s a little win! You got a response to your email? That’s a little win! Keep moving forward – incremental steps every day – and before you know it, you will have secured a partnership that will change the world.
Being a corporate fundraiser can be one of the most inspiring and rewarding careers. And at Remarkable Partnerships we want every corporate fundraiser to feel supported, especially in the early days. If you’re new to corporate fundraising check out our Introduction to Corporate Partnerships Training on 22 September in London.