I’m 3 weeks into my new role as Development Manager for Audience. Its my first agency side role after 16 years of working for a range of amazing charities. It’s a busy job, but I’m loving it.
Choice, choice and more choice
I’ve known the guys at Audience for years, and a massive driving force for me taking the new role was based on a feeling I’ve had for a while. There really needs to be more choice in terms of agency support for Irish charities. There are countless brilliant causes around the country but this isn’t necessarily reflected in the number and variety of agencies out there who can help drive fundraising forward. And forward is most certainly the direction we all need to go.
We need genuine partnerships
As a sector we all need to be braver, we need to take more risks and we sometimes need agency support to challenge us, make us think in different ways and to drive innovation. But a lot of charities shy away from this, as choice is limited and there’s a perception that it’s too expensive.
For those of us who do use agencies, do we really think we have the range of choice and support we need? Without this support, it’s no wonder that some of our work becomes repetitive, or that we just try to mimic what some of the larger charities are doing. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past.
Charity side experience is key
Coming from the charity side as I do, I really feel like I bring something important to the table. My background means that I see things from the charity perspective first. I know what charities want, rather than what traditional agencies think charities want. I understand the politics, the budget pressures, the silos, scratching around for case studies, the time constraints that means that sometimes innovation is overlooked purely because we need to get an appeal out the door. I’ve been there!
Importantly though, I know the Irish fundraising sector, the differences and the similarities with the UK market. The strengths, the gaps, the opportunities. And now in my new role I can try to help some Irish charities do brilliant and innovative things based on this knowledge, and do so supported by an agency that believes in me.
Why Audience is different
Audience is a good fit for me. We are a new type of agency, one that is fit for the new fundraising landscape. One that doesn’t have the traditional agency hierarchy and structure. One that doesn’t just focus on channels. One that focusses on multi-channel engagement, and connecting people to charities with shared values.
We have core staff with decades worth of fundraising and communications experience across all disciplines. What’s special about us is that we are connected. We have networks of talented people that we can pull in to work with us. We build a bespoke team for each challenge. Definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, those days are over.
We are also partnering with charities of all sizes. Interestingly there is real innovative fundraising coming from smaller organisations at the moment. It doesn’t have to be all about big brands and big budgets. It’s about shared vision, finding your voice and genuinely engaging with people across multiple channels, which can be done on any budget.
It starts with a health check!
One place to start is with fundraising health checks. I’m traveling around a lot of charities at the moment, having lots of coffees and chatting about current fundraising plans.
For some organisations, it is about tapping into the many products that Audience has to offer. For others, the best place to start is to audit your current fundraising strategy, work in partnership to optimise what’s going well, and pull together a road map of how to get to the brave new world of multi-channel engagement that we all know is the future.
If you think a coffee and a chat that could potentially lead to a health check and a new strategy sounds good, why not drop me a message? Coffee is on me!