Looking Back on 2015January 2, 2016
Why should we protect the LCF?January 19, 2016
5yearsfreelance This year I am celebrating five years of working for myself. In that time I have supported fourteen charitable and community organisations to raise more than £3 million. Grants have ranged from just £200 to £100,000s. It has been a quite an adventure, from, at first, not knowing whether it would work at all to now, being in a position where I have to turn work down and I am choosing the most interesting contracts to accept.
In celebration of this, I intend to dedicate some of my blog posts to celebrating #5yearsfreelance. Starting by sharing five values that define my work…
- Excellence. (and with this, I would also say success as, in fundraising, I think they go hand in hand). I strive for excellence in everything that I do and I expect excellence from others who I work with. I am happy that I deliver above and beyond expectations. That is not to say every funding application I write is successful, of course it isn’t, but I think that every bid I put together is well written, well presented, meets organisational needs and describes a strong and well thought out project. I expect the same level of excellence in my evaluation and project management work. In short, I work hard to deliver the highest quality for the organisations who employ me.
- Honesty and Openness. Really, I think this is about communication. I like communication. I like to keep clients up to date and I expect the same courtesy from them. Catching up over coffee is vital to ensuring projects are on track and everyone is working to the same overall vision. If something is going wrong, I like to talk about this. I like clients to see early drafts of my work and I welcome comments (bring out the red pens!). Without honest and open communication I really could not do my job.
- Courage/Boldness. This is so important in writing funding bids and evaluations. I encourage organisations to be bold in what they are asking for and have the courage to be honest when reflecting on success. Taking risks, trying something new, being creative and raising aspirations are all important. Looking beyond what you would normally do and reaching for something which is beyond your own expectations. I hope I can help organisations to achieve this.
- Enjoyment. I love what I do and I believe in the projects/organisations that I work with. If I lost this then I would have to rethink my job.
- Family. My family is the reason I started working freelance – moving to a new town with a young son about to start school, I didn’t want a 9-5 job with a long commute. Freelance working gave me the opportunity to be flexible: to be there at the start and end of school, to find time for school family lunches and assemblies at the same time as working. Now my son is 8, he is more independent, he wants to do after school clubs and sports clubs and piano lessons so I have much more time on my hands but being freelance means that if this time is 2 hours on a Wednesday evening I can work then. Much more than this, my son is interested in my work. He wants water voles to champion over mink and he is firmly on the side of red squirrels against greys. He has visited projects with me and he loves helping to think of project names. He understands the work I do and I am immensely proud of this.