Working from home for the last year has left over half of furloughed employees feeling an impact on their mental health. According to Westfield Health, 61% said financial concerns were the cause of this impact. The desire to network, to meet colleagues again, and to feel connected to work are very real issues for those furloughed or those who have been made redundant. Without the ability to get out and about to meet other fundraisers the opportunities are limited.
Leading b2b charity National Funding Scheme works with numerous online fundraisers, many of whom have reimagined their at-home working lives either by becoming consultants or using this time to build their skills. The following are key learnings we have heard from those who have adapted during this period.
Top of the list: Pursue what you love:
The best way to get up in the morning and have a spring in your step is to pursue what you love. Authenticity and belief are key. Whether it’s communications, marketing, or fundraising, where you can show knowledge and insight, you will find individuals with similar interests to connect with.
There are thousands of groups across social media platforms that are packed full of professionals in the same sector discussing newsworthy items and looking to collaborate on ideas. Check out Guild.co and specifically the CAFE Fundraisers Community for inspiration. Here you’ll find a resource that can put you in touch with other fundraisers as well as providing useful resources to help you use your skills.
For more inspiration take a look at seths.blog/2009/04/first-ten/
If you are networking to widen your employment reach, ensure you are market-ready. Update your social platforms, such as Linkedin and Guild, and decide what your approach is. The key is to tailor your notes to each new contact, matching what you have to offer with their requirements. Don’t dismiss new skills you may have learnt during lockdown either; transferable and softer skills such as resourcefulness, determination, and curiosity are all essential and valuable traits for fundraisers.
Whilst they may seem unconnected, remember your existing networks from education, previous roles and family and friends. Each of these can open up opportunities. Many companies hire internally or put feelers out before posting the job online, and networking with the right people can give you a headstart.
For more inspiration take a look at seths.blog/2004/08/starting_over/
Wherever you can show off your skills and knowledge, you add value to your profile, showing yourself as a future asset to any team. Look at hosting webinars or podcasts, or simply start to become known through posts on social media, blogs, and articles. Try wordpress.org to set up a blog or you can explore your passions vocally using Anchor.fm to download a podcast app. This can be an enjoyable way to establish yourself as an expert in your field, whilst also helping to make you feel connected with others.
You could also boost your CV with some training, research around a growing channel like digital fundraising or use the time to pick up a new skill that gives you an edge and opens up new job opportunities.
For more inspiration take a look at seths.blog/2016/03/what-are-you-competing-on/
Keep on top of current affairs in the sector through conversational social media groups. Being proactive by providing regular thought pieces or commenting on articles is a great way to open yourself up to new contacts who follow similar topics to you.
With virtual networking you can go beyond your normal four walls, interacting with professionals across the country, and the world, to make new connections. A great way to focus on the areas you want to grow your contacts with is to make a list of organisations and people you wish to know on a professional level. LinkedIn is a great resource for this. Remember to do your research first and be clear about your needs.
For more inspiration take a look at seths.blog/2020/04/but-what-could-you-learn-instead/
Nurture your contacts:
Don’t forget to stay connected to your current network, nurturing relationships so that when they spot relevant opportunities they will think of you and put you in touch.
It can help to offer your services pro bono as a way to keep your hand in and to show your skills. Whilst it won’t help with the financial strain immediately, it shows a willingness to help and this will pay dividends later.
For more inspiration take a look at https://seths.blog/2008/01/who-you-know/
Networking from home doesn’t have to be arduous and for many, it's how they find new roles. Whether it's joining social groups, ensuring you stay connected to your current network, or picking up a new skill, now is the time to start networking from home with ease. For more insight, networks like Guild.co can also provide help for fundraisers to share ideas, learnings and build up contacts.
About the National Funding Scheme
The National Funding Scheme (NFS), operating under the DONATE brand, provides a range of mobile fundraising tools to maximise fundraising campaigns. Launched in 2013, DONATE (www.easydonate.org) is a platform that allows the UK public to conveniently donate via touch, SMS text, or online. It is so simple to use that case studies show increases of 17x the amount raised. As a charity itself, all NFS’s costs are covered by the Government's Gift Aid scheme. When no Gift Aid is available NFS charges 4.5% to cover transaction and administration costs.
Organisations wishing to register with DONATE should go to nationalfundingscheme.org/become-a-partner-organisation/ or for further information see www.nationalfundingscheme.org/faqs-about-donate/ for full terms and fees.