10 life lessons from the fundraising floor


Today we have a guest blog, from the wonderful fundraiser Susie Lomax. Susie has been fundraising for Pell & Bales for just over a year now and recently took time to reflect on her time as a fundraiser. It turns out she has learnt a lot…


10 life lessons from the fundraising floor

What began as a part time job to pay the bills became a wonderful adventure. One of the greatest things I have learnt is that if we are willing to commit ourselves to excellence then the most extraordinary things happen. For example have you ever considered the wide range of skills that we can learn as fundraisers?

So much of what I have learnt in the past year, I can take with me and apply to every aspect of my life, even my relationships! For many becoming a telephone fundraiser might be to ‘pay the bills’, a filler while at University, or maybe while waiting for that ‘big break’ as an actor. However, I would challenge everyone to stop and consider how valuable this experience is. Here are a few things I have learnt;

1. Stepping through fear: It’s really easy to give up. Sticking with the difficult calls awakens a kind of tenacity that gets results.

2. Listening: I used to love talking! Now I love to listen. We get to hear real life stories every day. If we listen just a little more we can respond with real empathy and make our calls a great experience for everyone.

3. The Art of Diplomacy: learning to be polite while keeping our objective in the forefront of our minds no matter what. It’s not about us.

4. Never assume: I am still learning this one! People surprise us every day.

5. Leaving my ego outside the door: Lets face it we all bring our own agenda’s with us. The trick is to recognise our own personal interest and then we can allow room for other people’s concerns.

6. Always a call away from success: Just one more call can make the difference to our stats and our confidence.

7. Asking for the money:  Most people don’t enjoy doing this but there is a skill to it that can really make the difference to the amount of money we can raise for the our charity clients and the amazing work that they do.

8.Taking action now: We can learn to ‘do’ and not put off until tomorrow. Just do it!

9. Having great conversations: We get to do this every day with every strata in society. Great communicators go places, have great friends. People remember them.

10. Never give up: We owe it to ourselves to get passionate about life. It can be tough but in my experience it’s pretty fantastic. It’s simply up to us.

6 thoughts on “10 life lessons from the fundraising floor

  1. Susie, I absolutely love this blog – thank you. Really insightful and relevant for all fundraisers not just those like you who such a wonderful job on the phones.

  2. What a wonderful post Susie,

    Very nicely summarised how can one year transform life of anyone with right mind-set. I am genuinely impressed by all lessons you have learned and respect greatly your openness when talking about ups and downs of the fundraisers job. There are indeed many personal battles people face on everyday basis, when addressing people with highly emotional message. The bottom line remains the same however, every penny counts when seeking help for the less fortunate of us.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi Susie,

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this blog. You perfectly surmise the skills required for a good fundraiser, and although your experience is phone based, you hit the mark for defining what good fundraising is regardless of channel.

    As the acting Supporter Engagment Manager at Christian Aid it feels good to know that P & B have fundraisers of your calibre. I just hope you work on our projects.

    Keep up the good work


  4. Pingback: What should we ALL be doing better in 2012? « Pell & Bales

  5. I started working as a telephone fundraiser in November and found it quite stressful in the first few weeks as the skill set is quite different from my normal job in an inbound contact centre. I found Susie’s blog in those early days and found it completely inspirational and motivating, so whenever I was having a challenging day, I would always go back to these ‘life lessons’.

    I have had some fantastic conversations with donors and conversely speak to people who are not very receptive. I know I am doing a good job when ALL donors make positive and encouraging comments, thanking me for doing such a wonderful job and to keep up the good work.

    It would be a brilliant act to include Susie’s Fundraiser Life Lessons in the new fundraisers pack and to have laminates displayed on the calling floor and in the break out area.

    So thank you Susie, you have been an absolute lifesaver in many different senses of the word !!!

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