Fundraiser wellbeing: How you feel changes the experience for your supporters

26 January 2021
LeadershipRelationship BuildingSupporter Stewardship
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Hands around a mug of hot drink

David Reeves, committee member of the Supporter Experience group and Supporter Journey Manager for the Woodland Trust, says that during this time of intense stress, fundraisers need support to ensure that they can continue to deliver great experiences.

The experience of you that the people around you get will change depending on your mood, right? 

Why should this be any different for the supporters' experience of you?

Right now, our ability to fulfil our lives, feel love and belonging, and experience great self esteem is significantly challenged by the impact of coronavirus. This has resulted in increased separations, tensions within family and friendship groups, and in some cases, much, much worse. 

In times of uncertainty or stress, our capacity to think or behave for the benefit of others, and even ourselves, is challenged. Thinking outside of your own experience to consider the experience of our supporters can seem more difficult. Or perhaps it’s just that not doing that seems so much easier in those situations. 

As a result, the experience of you that other people receive, whether you are aware of it or not, will be different.

Being furloughed and in lockdown means that our fundraisers are losing the things that help them feel fulfilment, self-esteem, and belonging, all of which will be different for everyone. 

This leaves fundraisers feeling disempowered, lost, and disconnected; all things that can take months to return, resulting in lost opportunity to deliver world-class supporter experiences. How can you expect your face-to-face fundraising teams to be back to 100% on day one when they are eventually let loose again?

Moreover, one individual's wellbeing challenges are often not going to impact on a supporter's experience in the long run. The difference now is the impact of the situation on nearly everyone's wellbeing, and therefore, the amplification of the impact of wellbeing on supporter experience. More than ever, the wellbeing support that your organisation offers is vital, not least for the ethical need to look after your wellbeing, but from the financial impact not doing it will have on the supporter base.

Much like our sector's move towards "supporter centricity" and the desire to deliver personalised experiences, we also need to do the same for our employees. Line managers need to become coach and mentor to their fundraisers, ensuring they maintain their prime so that they can continue to deliver great experiences to supporters when we return.

Want to see it in practice? Check out Timpson – a family-owned business that pops up everywhere. Like many of the world's most successful companies, their focus is on employee wellbeing as the antecedent to great customer service. I mean, they even let you use the company limo for your wedding! 

If your employees feel empowered, fulfilled and loved, so will the customers they serve every day. I'm talking about a total organisational culture that is focused on empowering and supporting staff to do their job effectively. 

Timpson's do this through "upside-down" management - their customer and shop managers are at the top of the hierarchy, NOT the CEO. 

"We know that when our colleagues are happy they care about the service they provide which in turn is good for business."

So what can you do today to help your team feel fulfilled, loved and empowered? What about your needs, and what you need from your organisation to help you be the best you can be right now?

Just don't invite me to any more Zoom quizzes...

David Reeves
David Reeves
Supporter Journey Manager at the Woodland Trust

Wellbeing and fundraising

Fundraising is a hugely exciting, rewarding, and skilled profession. But it is also one that can be demanding and pressured. We've produced this resource to help fundraisers, and managers, improve their wellbeing.
Read the resource
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