‘The Certificate in Fundraising helped me find a career in arts fundraising I love’

16 December 2020
Art, Heritage and CulturalEducation and Training
Standard Content
Some playing cards, playing snap

Sophie Harvey was awarded a RAISE bursary to undertake the Certificate in Fundraising. She explains what she learnt from the qualification, and how it helped her find a career she loves.

My journey with the Certificate in Fundraising was a wonderful one. The main aspects of fundraising I learned, that really hit home for me, were storytelling, relationship building and broad range of topics which form fundraising. These are the aspects I would like to share with you.

Evoking emotion through storytelling is one of the aspects of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising Certificate of Fundraising that I found really fascinating. I think especially an arts fundraiser, storytelling is important because the paintings, plays, music, museums, and more, we help to fund, involve emotional storytelling. So, reflecting that storytelling in fundraising communications, is important too. For both arts fundraisers and non-arts fundraisers, telling the stories of individual beneficiaries can help people feel. This course taught me that when people feel emotions, they are more likely to take action. So, in the Certificate I learned emotional storytelling in fundraising is vital to encouraging people to donate to charity.

Also, I learned about building meaningful relationships with donors. This is about helping people feel connected to the charity. But it can be even more than that. It’s can be about taking donors on a journey where they feel they are a part of making something great happen and making them feel their lives have a purpose and meaning. It’s about helping them see their values reflected in the values of the charity. Overall, I learned that fundraising is ultimately, making donors feel fulfilled and good about themselves, through their relationship with the charity.

As well as building relationships with donors, I formed connections with fellow fundraisers. I got to know fellow students and tutors when we shared our different perspectives via discussion boards, video calls and connecting via LinkedIn. This made me feel like I had a community of wonderful, supportive fellow fundraisers, who I will continue to stay connected to, even after the end of the course.

Also, I was fascinated by the range of topics we covered. This is because, while searching for a career I wanted to pursue, I was always interested in such a wide range of topics, all with a common theme of helping people feel seen and help them find meaning and purpose in their lives. I had previously explored philosophy, psychology, design, finance, how people learn, research, writing and more. But I didn’t want to just pursue one of them, I wanted to have a career that incorporated all of them, while helping people. I didn’t know there was a career like that, until I was volunteering as a fundraiser and decided to take the Certificate in Fundraising. I realised that I could have a career in that covered the wide range of topics that involved helping people. I was in love. Before, I felt like I had been losing at a game of Snap, until I found the Certificate in Fundraising, when finally, my ‘Ideal Career card’ and ‘Fundraising Career card’ matched. I have found my purpose, in fundraising.

Overall, during the Certificate in Fundraising, I learned fundraising is more than about raising money, it’s about evoking emotion through storytelling. It is about building relationships to help people feel part of something that makes a difference and help people feel seen and valued. I also learned that fundraising covers a range of topics, which all feed in to helping people. And ultimately, I found a career that I love and feel prepared to pursue, thanks to the Certificate of Fundraising.

I could not have done this without the Chartered Institute professional development team, our wonderful tutors, fantastic fellow students, and the RAISE bursary who all kindly helped me along my wonderful journey. I am forever grateful. Thank you. If you, or anyone you know would like to do the Certificate in Fundraising, go for it! I wish you the best of luck on your fundraising journey!  

Find out more about the bursaries on offer here.

Sophie Harvey
Sophie Harvey
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