|Funding the future|
|Saturday, 01 January 2011|
It was in October last year that I noticed the advertisement for a fundraiser for the College. I thought that was a job ‘just up my street’. I’ve worked in heritage fundraising for Donaldson’s College, Falkland Palace, St Giles Cathedral and Rosslyn. I’ve also worked for membership organisations as fundraiser at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and as consultant to the Royal Society in London.
I’ve spent time in medical fundraising for the breast cancer unit at the Western General, and, at the time of reading the advertisement, I was Director of Medical Fundraising for the new School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews. The only trouble was my contract finished in Sept 2010. The timing was wrong.
The saying ‘what’s meant won’t pass you by’ appears to have worked in this case. So here I am, two months into the job of Director of Fundraising at the College. Too early to make any definite statements about how we will go about raising money, but clear that if fundraising is to be successful we need to have a well-defined long-term strategy; understandable to the membership, the medical profession at large, the general public and a variety of local and national bodies that have the potential to aid our progress.
"I have already witnessed the dedication and enthusiasm of those associated with the College, and learned of the developments across all sectors which have the potential to provide the foundations for long-term fundraising success"
Fundraising is marketing, so we need to ensure that we have a range of products with which the markets outlined above identify and empathise. These are our potential donors. My early career in marketing taught me that no one buys a product unless it represents value to them and satisfies a need. So the first task from a fundraising perspective is to agree with Council the portfolio of ‘products’ that are going to properly represent the brand that is the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. This is an important process with longer term implications. Successful fundraising contains a vision of what the organisation hopes to achieve in the future. Donors are buying into that proposition, which puts us under an obligation to deliver. So the importance of a well-founded longer term business plan is a vital component of successful fundraising. It can’t chop and change.
At this moment, my focus is on meeting people to gather knowledge and information. In my short acquaintance with the College I have already witnessed the dedication and enthusiasm of those associated with it and learned of the developments across all sectors which have the potential to provide the foundations for fundraising success. Fundraising is a team effort, so I look forward to meeting and working with you all in the months ahead.
Stuart Armstrong, Director of Development and Appeals