Where’s the love? Board fundraising as matchmaking

Do you love your charity?

Of course you do!

People like us who work or volunteer in the charitable sector do so because we love it.

We love the impact we have on the people and communities we serve. We are proud to lead the changes we believe are most important to our world. We put our hearts and souls into it. And we do so with love.

Do you love fundraising?

If you’re like most people I meet, the answer is “no”.

Sure, maybe you get why fundraising is important for your charity. After all, more money means more impact, more people served, more change.

But the act of fundraising probably leaves you feeling “icky” like you’re begging. Or maybe you don’t want to put your family, friends and colleagues, on the spot. Chances are that you feel like you don’t have time to fundraise and that even if you did, you don’t know where to start.

In my experience, many people feel like fundraising takes them away from their authentic self. That it’s salesy and pushy.

But I know that fundraising is actually about inspiring people and being your most authentic self – someone that is passionate and committed and wants to do good work in this world. That is, when fundraising is done well.

There is so much opportunity for organisations that can get their fundraising house in order and I believe it needs to start at the top.

We all know board fundraising is a challenge. If it’s not for your organisation, congratulations! But honestly, most charities, especially small and medium ones, struggle with it. But it’s also an area of huge opportunity. A board engaged in fundraising can be the difference between failure and success, regardless if you have fundraising staff or not.

And here’s the thing. Even though 70% of board members don’t feel confident around fundraising, 85% want to help and want to know how to fundraise. You get it – you know how powerful an organisation can be when all the board members are out there fundraising and building a community, you just don’t know where to start.

So I want to share with you one major insight for your board that you need to commit to memory.

Something that if you learn nothing else about fundraising, you remember this:

Fundraising is match making. It’s all about the love.

Your mission in fundraising is to find others who will fall in love with your organisation too. It’s about finding your tribe and building a community.

When you start to understand that fundraising is match making, magical things happen:

You realise there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Not everyone you know will be a donor to your charity. Fundraising is about finding your tribe. Then, you build a relationship to help them come to value and respect that work and understand its importance.

You understand that you don’t propose on the first date (especially if it’s a blind date!)

Asking for a donation is like a marriage proposal. You don’t propose marriage on the first date. Similarly, you take the time to get to know your potential donors before asking for a gift.

The most successful asks are the ones where you’ve tapped into their hearts and aligned their dreams with your organisation’s ambitions. That takes some time.

You get that it’s about a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship

If I asked you why you continue to support your charity, what would you say?

Likely that you get just as much value out of your involvement as the charity does. I have had million dollar donors THANK ME when they give because it’s so meaningful to them to see their values and dreams come to life.

Your best donors are the ones who will be giving year after year (at any amount). Why? Because it’s mutually beneficial. By this point, they are in love with your organisation too.

Fundraising can be done in a way that is authentic and comfortable and the great news is, this will lead to better results! More money raised, greater community impact.

Cindy Wagman is a fundraising coach and consultant who is on a mission to teach charities to love fundraising. Her course to teach board members and trustees how to fundraise in a way that feels comfortable and authentic while being effective, what the fundraising! is open for registration now. Visit www.whatthefundraising.com

Trustee Week: Why everyone should be a Trustee

This Trustees Week I thought I would reflect on my 18 months as a Trustee at the West Hampstead Women’s Centre and explain why I think everyone should be a Trustee.

The West Hampstead Women’s Centre is a bright gem in the centre of the borough of Camden and has been doing amazing work for over 30 years. The Centre provides holistic services for women; dealing with mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The Centre is one of the safest places I have ever visited, from the way it’s decorated to the smiling faces of the volunteers, to the atmosphere itself; it creates a feeling of welcoming and beginning.

The Centre is incredibly unique in London; it is one of the few women-only centres left, who serves women of all cultures and ages. We offer over 21 different services from cancer support groups to NVQ and Employment Support to Pilates,osteopathy and CAB Outreach.

I was first drawn to the Centre when I saw their ethos of ‘Supporting all women under one roof’ this inclusive message really struck me and I was intrigued to see what happened behind those doors to support some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged women in my community.

“I walked through the doors in my hour of need and was given a lifeline.” West Hampstead Women’s Centre, Service User

The Centre is run by a phenomenal woman, Rukhsana Chishti, who has done a brilliant job at keeping the Centre running through tough times and good in the past couple of decades. The Centre is run by an amazing number of volunteers,over 70, who ensure our services and helpdesk remain open Monday to Friday.


The Trustee board are an incredibly likeable and diverse range of women who all share the commitment to making the Centre a safe, friendly, welcoming space for women whilst providing much-needed care and support.

My time as a Trustee has been incredible, I have learnt so much from the people around me and it’s been fantastic seeing the Centre flourish and grow. With the cuts on their way across the Camden Borough, now is the time for the Trustees to really look to how we can protect the Centre and ensure its 30-year legacy continues for the future generation of girls and women who need the Centre.

It is in tough times that you are reminded how important your role as Trustee is and the responsibility you have to ensure that your service continues and your beneficiaries are supported.

I can’t wait for our Festive Celebration this December where I will see a number of women graduate with their NVQs and I can join all the women of the Centre from service user to volunteer to celebrate the amazing work in 2015 and the year ahead.


If you live in North London please do consider becoming a member of the Centre (only £6), it has amazing services and you certainly won’t regret it. And it would be remiss of me not to mention donating to the Centre or if you’re looking for a new volunteering opportunity, take a look here.

And for any talented community fundraisers out there, if you fancy offering me some pro-bono advice on how to continue raising money for the Centre I would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, I cannot say enough that everyone should become a Trustee, no matter your age. You will get out of it as much as you put in, and there are small charities all over the UK that could hugely benefit from your expertise (especially if you’re a fundraiser). So get out and do, help make a difference in your local community.