In this blog, Alex Mula, Co-Chair of the Scottish Trusts, Statutory and Foundations special interest group, reflects on his recent success in gaining the Chartered Institute of Fundraising's Diploma in Fundraising, what it took to get there, and its impact.
The date was sometime in March 2022 and the easing of lockdown restrictions was on the horizon. It was time to take stock of my position. I loved my job and had had some big recent fundraising successes, but despite this, there was little chance for progression in my role and it was time for a change. I was in danger of getting too comfortable and needed to move on. It was time to leave my comfort zone. It was time to head back to school.
I’d been looking at getting a recognised fundraising qualification behind me for some time and as a wise man once told me, “Life isn’t a rehearsal”. Take from that what you will, but my employer gave me the opportunity to study for the Chartered Institute’s Diploma in Fundraising and I took the bull by the horns.
A little over 12 months on (although with everything that’s happened it feels more like 12 years) and after several periods of self-doubt, a failed assignment, and an extension on another, on Tuesday 18 April 2023, I received the long-awaited news that I had passed my last assignment, the final exam and had achieved an overall pass with merit.
Studying whilst working full time and having commitments at home is not easy, so I’d recommend planning your weeks, get your reading done and most importantly be organised. Keep a record of all the articles and information you read along the way and file them by their topic (this will help you for the exam). Finally, make sure you have a good network of support around you, my fellow students were a great help along the way, and I’d like to thank them, Ardgowan Hospice, Scottish Autism and Cancer Support Scotland for investing in me to make me a better fundraiser.
Anyone thinking of signing up to the course, for whatever reason, I would say do it. Taking on the Diploma is a big commitment, which I hugely underestimated, but since signing up to the course I have secured two new jobs, am a more confident fundraiser and moved up a notch on the career ladder.