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4th – 6th July 2016

Eleven secrets of confident fundraising innovators

: Lucy Gower

We all have times when we feel uncertain or lack confidence. We feel this even more frequently when we push ourselves to do something new or unknown. This means that innovation is a hotbed for crashes of confidence. The most successful innovators are the ones who deliberately work on their own confidence levels.

Here are eleven things that successful fundraising innovators do to build their confidence and with that, their ability to innovate.

1. Remember that you’re already great Take stock of what you’ve achieved – it might be feedback from a manager, a thank you from a supporter or the time you delivered an excellent campaign. Keep a diary and write your achievements down. Look at it regularly. When you have a moment of low confidence, refer back to this list to boost your confidence back up.  

2. Stretch your comfort zone You know when you’re stretching outside your comfort zone because it will feel a bit uncomfortable. Gradually ease yourself out of this space. For example, if your first step was to make a presentation to your team, now present to a group that you don’t know well. Each time you do this it will help grow your confidence, and over time, it will increase your ability to take on braver and bolder activities.  

3. Handle failure For innovators, failure is inevitable. It doesn't matter that you failed. What matters is how you dust yourself off, learn what didn't work, bounce back and give it another try. It's the getting back up that builds confidence, and you've got to fail in the first place to give yourself the opportunity to do so.

4. Manage your negative feelings We all have negative thoughts that eat away at our confidence. Its normal. Confidence is about learning to manage these thoughts. Visualize yourself succeeding. For example, imagine yourself managing a successful campaign. This helps you feel connected to the importance of what you are doing and feel more confident in the present moment.  

Lucy Gower holding Convention session

5. You’re a change maker As a fundraiser you’re an agent of change. You’ll run into opposition, questions and doubts because you’re challenging the status quo. Expect negatives, put them in perspective and prepare answers to overcome objections.

6. Surround yourself with confident friends companions Hang out with people who help boost your confidence. Find trusted friends and colleagues to work with on your innovation ideas who will both challenge and support you.

7. Find a mentor There will be others who have been through what you’re going through who can help you build your confidence. Seek them out for their advice.

8. Do your homework Good preparation can help boost your confidence. For example, if you’re working on a presentation, practice it, ask for feedback, make changes and keep practicing.

9. Look after yourself Your health and wellbeing have a positive effect on your mood, effectiveness and confidence. Take regular exercise and choose a nutritious diet.

10. Fake it until you make it When you’re not feeling confident, pretend that you are. Stand tall and keep your shoulders back, spine straight, and chin high. Breathe slowly and deeply. When you look like a confident person on the outside, you'll be approached as one by the world around you. You’ll fool other people and you'll fool yourself too.

11. Its OK to ask for help It’s not weakness to not know the answer, and it’s a strength to be honest about your limitations. Ask other people for help. The worst that can happen is that someone says “no”, and then you can just ask someone else.

Lucy Gower, founder and director of Lucidity, and author of The Innovation Workout

Lucy is speaking at 10.30 on Monday 4th July at Fundraising Convention. Her session is on 'How to innovate with confidence'

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