So my final day on the Pell & Bales payroll came and went, leaving speeches were made and to be honest the goodbye drinks are a bit of a hazy memory.
It’s Monday 1st November and after handing in my notice back in June I’m no longer a P&B employee. Which to be honest feels a little strange.
Getting a job there in September 1996 (without wanting to be overly melodramatic…) changed my life! It’s where I met my wife (we started on the same day) and had an incredible fundraising education. We always had it drummed into us that P&B was a bit of a ‘hot house’ for fundraising talent. So I started making a list of all the people who were in the account team when I first joined the company, where they’ve been and where they are now …
Charlotte Thrower (Amnesty)
Harpreet Kondel (British Red Cross, Burnett Works, Barnardo’s)
Katia de Gregorio (Burnett Associates, ICRF and Breakthrough Breast Cancer)
Jane Potentier (University of Alberta, Canada)
Lorna Robertson Reed (Samaritans)
Mick Aldridge (Push!, PFRA)
Pete Aldridge (NACRO, Victim Support)
Rachel Hudson (DMS, National Trust, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
Stuart Case (Push!, Donor Direct, Canada)
Vicky Haywood (WWAV, RNID)
Just before my time was Tim Hunter (Shelter, NSPCC & UNICEF) and Jeremy Hughes (Leonard Cheshire, British Red Cross, Breakthrough Breast Cancer) and not forgetting in recent years fantastic fundraisers like Jonathon Grapsas at Pareto, Joe Jenkins at FOE and Nicola Lapsley at The Good Agency. A pretty impressive list and a very high standard to aspire to! (and believe me there are some very impressive fundraisers still there).
Telephone fundraising being what it is gave me a phenomenal induction into fundraising. The instant nature of results means you work out very quickly if your instincts, ideas and recommendations were the right ones – thankfully you can make changes just as quickly if you got it wrong. And working at P&B was great place to perfect fundraising skills. Because it was a growing company with a flat structure it meant that from day one I was exposed to data selections, segmentation, creative, research, review meetings, testing and strategy. But most importantly from the outset I was listening to donors, members and supporters and their response to the campaigns I had designed. There is no greater judge on your work than the people who are giving you their support and after listening to literally thousands of fundraising conversations I think I’ve got a pretty good idea what supporters want from their interactions with charities and NFP organisations.
So what next for me? Well, fundraising is my passion and it’s all I want to do. P&B has enabled me to have worked on some truly unique projects, engaged with some amazing organisations and met some incredibly talented people at both the clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with and the people at their partner agencies.
All of which has created some great opportunities for me to take a few steps away from the world of telephone fundraising and work with charities and fundraisers across many disciplines and projects. I’m still going to be doing some freelancing with P&B, but I’m really looking forward to what happens next and I’m very excited about it.