Amy Stevens CFRE
Leading from Leeds
Leeds is my home. As a Yorkshire girl, born in Sheffield, I came to Leeds for university and now, after more than a decade advising Third Sector organisations, it’s where I lead the Gifted team from.
Not surprisingly, I’m really proud of the way we’ve grown the business in the North. As CEO of Gifted, I’m committed to strengthening our presence here and at the same time building exceptional fundraising partnerships both across the UK and overseas. Our work in Ireland, Italy, Thailand and South Africa has involved everything from feasibility studies, to strategy development and capital campaigns. And our work at home, continues to respond to new challenges and the demands of fundraising in a post Covid-19 world.
Partnering with us
We all value great partnerships. The sort of relationships where trust is a given and the chemistry feels really exciting. This has always been at the core of our philosophy at Gifted. Working with outstanding people, to develop creative, bespoke and successful fundraising solutions is what we enjoy most.
Our clients are exceptional. They come to us from a wide range of sectors, experts in their field and committed to big visions that can be exhilarating and nerve wracking at the same time. It’s a privilege to work alongside talented people, who are looking to lean on us as experienced fundraising partners; whether this is around crafting NLHF bids or training leadership teams in major gift approaches. Our aim is to generate positive relationships that don’t dodge the difficult conversations and take ambitious projects through to completion.
Instilling the confidence to succeed
At Gifted, our approach is to recognise that there’s no one size fits all when it comes to developing the most effective fundraising strategy or programme. Our clients are unique organisations, usually with very specific goals. Some need our expertise in raising the potential of their grant applications, others in building the support of corporate sponsors. When our partners break new ground and achieve six or seven figure gifts, the effects on their organisation are often dramatic and dynamic.
We've seen school leadership teams energised with confidence and devised cathedral corporate giving programmes that are now amongst some of the most successful sponsorship ventures in the UK. This only happens when you understand the road an organisation has travelled and can bring the insight required to help them navigate the next bend. For example, we might suggest hands-on assistance with a targeted university campaign, provide board-level strategy development for an Arts organisation, or deliver asking for the money workshops to an NHS charity; whatever the solution turns out to be, our experience tells us that a tailored advice, based on sound fundraising principles, is what really counts.
My own experience of running campaigns and guiding fundraising strategy for cathedrals, schools, universities and hospitals has put me right at the heart of some inspirational philanthropy. Given close support and professional mentoring, I've witnessed even the most anxious of leadership teams overcome their concerns about peer to peer asking. With every new client I meet and in my role as a Trustee for the Southern Thailand Elephant Foundation, it’s about helping leaders understand that a personal, direct approach to maximising fundraising targets, is what matters most.
Saying it like it is
I have a lot to thank my Yorkshire roots for. One of the most important things that growing up here has taught me is that clients appreciate clarity. They engage us to speak honestly, think creatively and advise wisely – hopefully that’s what they get from me!
Exceptional fundraising also requires a healthy optimism and a conviction that persistence usually bring the rewards you are looking for. And when you get them, it’s important to celebrate. There’s nothing more satisfying than being invited back by clients to revisit a project and be part of the opening event!