In nearly every meeting I go to in Parliament the thing that MPs are most interested in hearing and talking about is the local fundraising by charities in their constituencies.
They want to tell me about what they are doing to help local charities to access and raise funds; ask about the support that the Institute can provide for fundraisers in their patch; and know about the ways they can promote the IoF’s work locally with civil society and others in their area.
To me this says two things. First, that most MPs and parliamentary candidates (before they become an MP) instinctively understand the vital difference that charity fundraising makes to the lives of people in their constituency and generally want to support this. Secondly, that the best way to get a candidate interested in a big national issue is from the local level.
And this insight goes to the heart of our campaign ahead of the election. Our Chief Executive has personally written to all of the Party Leaders urging them to take specific action to support fundraising. Our concise and accessible General Election policy paper outlines why fundraising is so important, and some of the policy areas the next government could have the biggest impact. But if we really want candidates to know about the difference that excellent fundraising makes and how they can help, we need the support of fundraisers in constituencies around the country. To do this, we are reaching out to our 6000+ individual IoF members’ and asking every fundraiser in the country to speak up for fundraising – Fundraising needs YOU!
We know this may feel like a big request, so we’ve produced a new step by step ‘toolkit’ for fundraisers to use to email or write the candidates in their constituency asking them to support, promote and celebrate the work of fundraisers. It outlines how to contact local candidates, what to say, how to say it, and even a template letter people can use. If anyone is interested but needs more help, you can always email us at ExternalAffairs@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk.
Getting involved could make all the difference. When candidates hear from local fundraisers about their work and how important it is that they support and champion the sector, they will become even more willing to engage locally and nationally with our work in the years to come.
There is a saying among politicians that ‘all politics is local’. That’s why we’re asking fundraisers around the country to join us in in speaking up for fundraising as the election draws near!
Mike Smith is the Head of External Affairs at the Institute of Fundraising. He joined the IoF in October 2015 having worked for several years in large and small charities across the sector. His background is in campaigning, communications and public affairs, most recently as joint Head of Public Affairs at Age UK. Prior to his time with Age UK, he spent 3 years working for Oxfam in both government relations and public campaigning roles. He has a breadth of experience of campaigning on policy issues, as well as understanding of the challenging external environment facing many charities.
Born in New Zealand, Mike grew up in the UK, South Africa and the United States. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and an MSC in Government, Policy and Politics from Birkbeck, University of London.
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