24 months ago, the way we used to work changed completely. No matter what profession, every single one of us had to adapt our working habits, transform bedrooms into office spaces and get used to delivering meetings, speeches and even events online. Long live technology!
Working remotely as a fundraiser can be challenging for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is harder to connect with new and existing supporters, which is essential for building and maintaining impactful partnerships. But secondly, it is nearly impossible to show the impact of our work and the way we deliver our services, if you cannot simply invite supporters for a cup of coffee at our Crisis Café or take them on tours through our Skylight centre, where we work with people experiencing homelessness.
Working remotely can lead to a sense of emotional detachment to our partners, but also to the people we work with and support.
Another drawback of the new way of working is the lack of in-person events. Prior to the pandemic account managers used to visit their partners at their offices, deliver speeches at conferences or join fundraising events to maintain the existing relationship and network with the broader audience in the most natural way, let that be during lunch break or over a beverage.
How important (and fun) in person events are became clear during a sunny day in March, when my colleague Ali Roberts, Senior Account Management Lead, and I were invited to speak at a conference hosted by Belvoir in a lovely hotel in Coventry. As part of the conference the host and Franchise Director Ian Maclean shared the exiting news with his colleagues that he and associate Andy Soloman will be riding their electric motorbikes all the way from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in August 2022 to raise vital funds for two charities close to their hearts - Crisis being one of them. Although it had been a long time since Ali and I have spoken face to face to a crowd of people eager to hear about how they could support Crisis, it was great to be able to look at people’s faces during the presentation and to notice their emotions and reactions.
In addition, many Belvoir employees approached us after the presentation and expressed their interest in learning more about helping tenants in precarious housing situations to prevent them from becoming homeless in the future and about Crisis’ work in general. It is precisely for that reason that in person events are important to take place again because this type of post presentation conversations simply do not happen online, as they do at an in-person event.
Raising awareness for the problem and giving people the tools to act, is an important part of our work and vital for tackling homelessness. We are currently redeveloping our Crisis Homelessness Awareness Training (CHAT) and are planning to hold a special session for employees working in the housing sector, because we realised during the Belvoir conference that there is not only the need but also the eagerness to learn about it from an employee side.
Thank you, Ian and Belvoir, for inviting us to the conference and for choosing Crisis as the beneficiary of your #Route166 challenge. We are looking forward to supporting you this summer and working together in the future.
If you would like to find out more about our work or CHAT, please get in touch with Annika Heinrich via firstname.lastname@example.org