#88 What Mo said
In 2017, I wrote a blog post that featured these paragraphs about my first day as a fundraiser back in 2004:
I arrived at the carpark on time as requested by my trainer from the previous day, and am met by Tom, a fellow fundraiser who started a few months before me. We chatted while waiting for our Team Leader, Mo, who was running a few minutes late in the office. He was making an ID badge and fetching my t-shirt and clipboard. Ten minutes pass, and Mo comes running towards us, cigarette hanging from his bottom lip, and drags us towards the bus stop as we’re about to miss our ride to site.
I had a bad feeling about this.
As it turns out, Mo was inspirational, if not organised. He took the rough lump of clay that was me and moulded it into a Fundraiser, and eventually a Team Leader by asking great questions, working me hard and making sure that I knew how much he cared about what we did. Quoting Theodore Roosevelt, “you won’t care how much I know, until you know how much I care” – a line that stuck with me my entire career, courtesy of Mo.
This is evidence, although it might not hold up in court, that at least sixteen years ago we knew the importance of caring about what we do as fundraisers.
Mo was a typical fundraiser of the time, and a far cry from what I see today. Mo was a disorganised mess with a boat that kept sinking (not figurative, literal), a sister in the circus and friends from every walk of life. He would rave all night, laugh all day, stress about his territory and inspire the hell out of me by continuously proving how much he cared about me, my teammates, the job, the charity and the company. He is the reason why I am still here.
One of my proudest moments in fundraising was when I got promoted to Team Leader and Mo put his arm around me and told me that I was one of the few that understood what this job is all about.
Incidentally, Mo was last seen on a much larger boat than his usual Bristol-bound canal boat. And I’m happy to report that it is not sinking.
Anyway, back to the reason for this article. Earlier this week a couple of the Fundraising Partners, alongside Mark Anscombe from WWF were invited to speak at an FIA webinar about some of the findings of the Irregular Giving Project and how to manage outsourced suppliers. We opened up the floor and asked the audience what their pet peeves about fundraiser training were, and what made them smile.
The response from both sides of the fundraising fence was unified:
Every supplier or ex-agency representative said that passionate engaged clients were the best.
Every charity representative said that passionate and engaged fundraisers were what made them tick.
It looks like we have a values match.
Knowing that this is the case, we must work hard to prove how much we care about what we do so that there is no mistake about our values, our ideals and our sector.
So, everyone reading this. Yes YOU. Take two minutes right now to think about your ‘why’. Why do you work for the cause that you do? What makes you get out of bed? Why do you care?
With this front of mind, next time you speak to your suppliers or clients, share your passion for our sector and our individual roles within it. If we don’t no one will. But if we do, we will improve the way we work together forever.