I recently attended a very inspiring fundraiser engagement session along with some of our wonderful RNIB fundraisers. The session was delivered by Kevin, who had received support from RNIB. It was an amazing experience, I’m sure the fundraisers will agree. Here’s why I think the session worked well:-
A personal story
Kevin gave us an insight into his life before he became blind, and his life now. He went into great detail about how the team at RNIB had helped him, emphasising the vital support he got from their Helpline immediately after he lost his sight. His biggest fear was the unknown, he didn’t know what to do next but talking things through, and getting advice, enabled him to get things back on track.
It provided him with practical and emotional support which allowed him to get on with his daily life and also take on new challenges he would have never considered before losing his sight, such as computer and internet training and a gardening course. He now mentors other people who have also lost their sight, to help them feel more positive about their future.
It was really inspiring for the fundraisers to hear how he was living such a full and confident life thanks to the support he received from RNIB, made possible by our fundraising efforts here on the phones.
As Tom discussed in his blog a few weeks ago, it’s the individual story that counts; and Kevin’s personal story is what fundraisers will remember when speaking to supporters. For example, Kevin talked of his incredible knowledge of London streets, learnt through his previous job as a bus conductor but also about his new found photographic memory which allows him to remember locations by using landmarks (mainly local pubs!) to find his way away around London. RNIB had helped him combine this previous knowledge with new skills to help him adapt as easily as possible to the new challenge he faced.
As fundraisers we spend a lot of time and effort exploring how we can engage and inspire supporters, but it’s not often that the same emphasis is placed on inspiring and engaging our frontline fundraisers. When you consider it is their job to inspire supporters, it’s surely important that first and foremost they themselves feel inspired by the stories they hear and can see the impact they have. This session did exactly that!
Enabling inspiring fundraising conversations
For me, no fundraising experience is complete without a great fundraiser engagement session!
Not only do these sessions enhance the overall fundraising experience for the fundraiser, they help us understand first hand some of the challenges faced by people like Kevin, that we’re helping to support. We can ask questions and really appreciate their situation and in turn have better conversations with supporters, enhancing the experience for them too. As a trainer I can refer to these personal experiences with the charity and people like Kevin, that they support, rather than referring to someone I haven’t met.
The cause, the need for RNIB and for us to fundraise to make that possible had never felt more real to me. It was there in the room with us. Kevin’s visit demonstrated to the team the link between their hard work and the support RNIB provides. The team were uplifted. By the end of the session there was a buzz in the room and we were all raring to get back on the phones fundraising
Fundraisers are often asked to call supporters and thank them for their support and demonstrate how they have made a difference to the charity. The time and effort RNIB put into this session, into thanking the fundraisers for their hard work, especially coming from Kevin himself, was amazing.