My 15 years of TM and F2F have taught me so much about myself and other people. It has given me the confidence to approach strangers and search for common ground. It has shown me a world that I never knew existed – for better and worse. It introduced me to some of my best friends and helped me travel the globe.
My story is no different to the estimated 50,000 other F2F fundraisers around the globe who have had their lives changed by what we do, but we share more than just what we’ve learned, we also share what we didn’t learn.
I have never been told how the money I raised helped the families of those suffering with terminal diseases. No one ever reported back to me how the children I got sponsored in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America felt when they went to school for the first time. I was never taken to one side and shown how many children were inoculated against water-borne diseases and still alive because of the conversations I had on a doorstep. The number of mosquito nets I provided and used in DRC by vulnerable families was never illustrated to me.
I could hammer home the point by going-on about shelter, food, conversation and dignity given to the homeless in some of the UK's biggest cities, the acres of endangered forestry that was protected, the advances in cancer research, the wells that were dug, the ramps installed, the teens guided away from the brink of suicide, and the women and children who found safety from DV, but that might be overkill.
We, as fundraisers, are learning to share our successes with our donors, but sometimes forget to share the news with those who stand outside all day in all weathers and deal with all kinds of public abuse to inspire those donors to join the cause.
Retention starts at acquisition, so don’t forget to thank and praise your fundraisers and share their victories with them. 10 years ago I received a certificate from Macmillan Cancer Support that simply thanked me for my service. It was the first and only time a charity had connected with me and made me feel appreciated and gave me the motivation to keep working on their cause. The longer I work on your campaign, the better results I will get.
So, put aside an afternoon this week to let your fundraisers rejoice in our shared victories. Why not take it one step further? F2F User Groups, PFRA meet-ups, fundraising friends, don’t forget the retention basics – thank, thank, and thank again. Let’s create a day on the calendar that celebrates those who suffer for our cause and our beneficiaries. Any suggestions? #Thankafundraiser