What? Another Training Course?
When I first became a fundraiser in the early 1990s, training courses and attending the IoF Convention were really the only way of accessing personal development in many organisations. Whilst I was fortunate to benefit from a management development programme during the latter part of my time at the British Red Cross, back then it was a pretty rare intervention and one almost entirely the province of large UK charities.
The intervening 25 years has seen a seismic shift in understanding around the importance of continuing professional development, with great examples across the sector and across all sizes of organisations, of learning and development interventions bringing huge improvements to staff skills and retention. And implementing these has become easier and more cost effective as a result of the proliferation of tools and techniques for learning in the digital age. We can e-learn, watch Ted talks, attend webinars, access mentoring through providers such as the Tony Elischer Foundation, undertake distance training and fundraising qualifications offered by IoF and others, and attend a multitude of conferences both in person and online.
And of course, a good training course is still very much an option – a tried and tested mechanism to take people away from their every day and into a dedicated space – both physical and mental – and for them to learn about some new techniques and approaches that can make them better fundraisers. The value of a dedicated period of time listening, discussing and trying out some new ways of thinking is undeniable and a good trainer will make sure it’s not a return to an old school, classroom style of education.
At THINK we’ve seen hundreds of organisations and individuals benefit from our support and knowledge over the years and we’re keen to make sure that organisations of all sizes can benefit, regardless of their budgets. That drives our approach of working in partnership with other sector stakeholders; to present at conferences and to participate in other initiatives which help to create the skilled fundraising staff base that the sector needs.
And that’s why, this autumn, we are running a series of training sessions across five IoF Regions and with the support of those regional committees, focusing on the skills required to be an exceptional community fundraiser. Spending a day face to face, discussing good practice, working out how to utilise learning ‘on the job’ and debating with the THINK consultant and other delegates what does, might and doesn’t work will deliver significant value to participating charities.
We’ll be asking all our delegates to give us feedback on the day and then three months on – so check back with me around Christmas time to find out what the impact of this training intervention has been in developing exceptional community fundraisers.