My experience with Crowd Guru

Turn Questions Into AnswersFelix, from RESULTS UK, writes about his experience of being supported by a mentor from CrowdGuru.org.

My name’s Felix and I work for RESULTS UK. We’re a volunteer led, campaigning organisation that uses advocacy to create the political will to tackle some of the world’s most pressing international development issues such as lack of access to education or healthcare. We have a network of groups and campaigners all over the UK that meet on a monthly basis to educate themselves about these issues and to take coordinated action.

I’m the grassroots campaigns manager so my job is to look after that network, ensure they have all the resources they need to make an impact; and to build and expand our network, increasing our reach and effectiveness.

As an organisation RESULTS has a wealth of policy and campaigning focused staff but not a huge amount of experience in fundraising, supporter development or communications. This has made achieving high levels of growth in numbers of active campaigners quite difficult. I spend most of my time managing relationships with group leaders, planning actions etc.

When I heard about Crowd Guru from Kathryn, I thought the service could be a great opportunity for me to speak with someone who has wealth of experience in doing exactly the types of things that we were lacking institutionally. I wanted to get advice and tips on how to build a more inclusive supporter journey creating a whole range of entry points for new volunteers and to build our donor base.

The Match

I was matched with Tain Oliff, a strategic marketer, direct mail, fundraising, supporter engagement whizz and all round general good ideas person!

We arranged to meet in a coffee shop in Brixton where we both live. To be totally honest I didn’t know what to expect from the meeting, but it turned out to be hugely beneficial. Tain really understood what we were trying to do and provided me with a whole range of great ideas and inspiration to take our work forward.
I have to admit that after our first meeting it did take a little while and a couple of nudges to get a second meeting, but nothing that I wasn’t expecting (after all mentors have busy day jobs as well!)

At our second meeting I was able to explain that as a result of our meeting I had developed a full project proposal to totally revamp our supporter engagement structure, which Tain read and gave me feedback on, and we agreed that as the project goes forward –slowly but surely- we would remain in touch. We are looking to hire a full time ‘Tain’ to help deliver the project and she agreed to assist with ensuring that the job description is in order and to possibly sit in on that person’s first half day in the office.

Was it useful?

The best thing about the having a mentor is just having someone to sound ideas out to who knows how your questions can be turned into answers, and then actionable items. I had all these problems and questions whirling around my head that other people at RESULTS couldn’t answer. Meeting with Tain, for just two hours in total, has helped me turn them from problems with no answers into a fully actionable strategy for developing our organisation.

If you’re wondering whether a mentor is right for you, just ask yourself ‘can I or someone within my organisation answer these questions?’ if the answer is no then you may need a mentor.

Felix and Tain are both part of the User Group for CrowdGuru.org, which informs how we design and develop the site. The match was made whilst we were asking Felix to help us understand what types of tasks he might need help with. We knew Tain’s skills, so it seemed a good fit and we introduced them. Matches like these are what we are planning to achieve on a MASSIVE scale with CrowdGuru.org. If you are considering mentoring or volunteering or think you could benefit from a mentor, then be a part of it!

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