It’s a little over a year since Tony Elischer Foundation was set up in memory of the fabulous and inspiring fundraiser Tony Elischer to nurture the talent of promising fundraisers in the UK and around the world. One year on and three mentoring cohorts later, we’re over the moon to report some of the positive feedback we’ve had from our mentees.
Taking part in the mentoring programme during the last year has been integral to the development our mentees and their organisations and four of them have shared some of their thoughts with us about what is meaning to them.
An opportunity to think long term about your career
If you’re in a busy fundraising role, you’ll know how easy it is to get caught up in the ‘Eat. Fundraise. Sleep. Repeat’ mentality. This is something we hear a lot from our mentees – it’s hard to find the time to think beyond your organisation which is why a mentor can help by taking you out of your daily routine and offering you that sense of perspective.
“TEF has been an excellent opportunity to focus on my personal development. I’ve realised it’s key to have someone to talk to who is impartial and from outside of your organisation. It means the mentoring sessions are not only about my organisation and the here and now – they also become about my future career aspirations.”
Gemma Cowan, MS Society Scotland
Inherit fundraising wisdom from sector experts
All the mentors are highly experienced fundraising professionals, some of whom were mentored by Tony Elischer himself. It’s amazing to witness this full-circle effect whereby Tony’s knowledge and passion for the sector is filtering down through the people he worked with to newcomers in the sector who never met him. This inheritance of expertise is especially beneficial to those mentees who don’t come into regular contact with experienced fundraisers.
“I would never normally dream of encountering someone of Lisa’s experience on a normal basis. The charity I work for is relatively small and in terms of corporate and event fundraising, I am the most experienced member of the organisation. So to get direct mentorship from outside of my team has been a great way to develop both myself and my organisation. As an example, corporate fundraising is quite new to my organisation and I’d had little training in the area, so the help from Lisa was invaluable when drafting my strategy. She gave me the guidance needed to produce a clear corporate strategy as well as setting up KPIs and goals.”
Andy King, East African Playgrounds
Improve the efficacy of your organisation
Sometimes it takes the objective eye of someone from outside your organisation to realise what needs to change. If you're used to working in the same ways, a different perspective can be just the thing needed to maximise the output of your organisation.
“In terms of the impact the partnership is having on my organisation, I can already see my team beginning to look differently at their own ways of working. I did a day workshop with my team all based on a conversation I’d had with my mentor and they loved it. It was a great way to galvanize my team and introduce new ways of working. Change can feel quite slow in large organisations but with the help of my mentors’ ideas, we’ve managed to really speed things up. His help has resulted in our supporter team becoming better resourced and better trained which hopefully will result in better retention of supporters.”
Oliver Day, The Royal British Legion
Challenge yourself to become your best self
Both the mentoring sessions and the cohort training days provided by Tony Elischer Foundation are designed to develop the confidence of our mentees. Whether it’s a presentation skills workshop or it’s a one on one mentoring session, the foundation’s approach is to challenge mentees in a supportive way and help them problem solve rather than simply providing the answer.
“The sessions with my mentor Esther have helped me to develop both personally and professionally, and not only in terms of fundraising. It has allowed me to overcome my limits – for example, before I met Esther I would tell myself I was bad at finance and that I would never be able to work in this area but now I recognise this as a limit I put on myself – there is always the opportunity to learn. Esther is dynamic and enthusiastic in her approach to mentoring. She pushes me to have powerful ideas and to make decisions for myself. She never gives me the solution, she guides me to find the solution myself. Sometimes she will give me references and examples to inspire me but ultimately the solution has to come from me.”
Faneva Raharimanantsoa, Miralenta
Having the right mentor at the right stage in your career can be transformational and we are so delighted to be hearing so many examples of such positive experiences whilst still being such a new charity.
Tony was always so committed to supporting and building the fundraising profession and we’re very proud that with the invaluable input from all our mentors we can continue this and play a part in developing the next generation of fundraising leaders.
If you are interested in developing your career through the mentorship of an experienced fundraising professional, get in touch! Applications for the next cohort close on the 8th October. Full details can be found at www.tonyelischerfoundation.org
Susan Morgan is Director at Tony Elischer Foundation
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