It’s been a difficult year for fundraising, but it’s not all doom and gloom; we remain a profession of passion, resilience and adaptability. Five of this year’s IoF Convention speakers stop in to share some words of encouragement
Craig Linton, individual giving consultant at Fundraising Detective:
“It feels like the eye of the storm has passed over us”
The 2017 IoF National Convention could be the start of a bright new future for fundraisers.
We have the launch of the findings and recommendations of the Commission on the Donor Experience. This comprehensive and exciting project provides clear guidance and advice on how to delight donors across all areas of fundraising.
Meanwhile Rogare, the fundraising think tank is challenging assumptions and sacred cows among fundraisers. The work they have done on ethics, relationship fundraising and professionalism is causing fundraisers to critically assess how they operate.
New models of fundraising are emerging across the globe, from the European country that has effectively banned face-to-face fundraising to the increase in direct funding of beneficiaries in the global South.
Technology is also opening up new opportunities. Virtual reality brings new ways to provide immersive and emotional experiences to supporters. Digital fundraising is slowly finding its feet and growing. Finally, Facebook's first steps into peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding could revolutionise individual giving.
All in all, it feels like the eye of the storm has passed over us, and fundraisers should stand ready to embrace the new landscape and grow income.
At Convention: Craig will join John Baguley, chair of the IFC group in a panel session titled 'New frontiers in fundraising: The next big things', where they will discuss some of the potential big fundraising developments.
Christian Propper, senior consultant & director of business intelligence at Graham-Pelton Consulting Europe:
“History is full of examples of how we adapt”
There is no doubt that GDPR is daunting to those working in fundraising, and will require a huge investment in technical skills. But let’s think about what fundraisers are really good at – we are excellent people persons. We have the passion to speak about our cause and we have the power to reach out to those people who share those beliefs. Most of all, we have the ability to connect supporters with those in need and demonstrate the impact that their donations have made. If we, as fundraisers, hold onto that, we will have no problem in explaining how we use personal data to accomplish life-changing projects.
In some ways, seeking consent is no different to seeking that first donation. In a world of increased regulation, what we are really doing is building a level of trust with our supporters so that they can be assured their personal information, and their money, will be handled properly. Is that really so wrong?
But, of course, some people won’t provide you with consent. And that’s OK. What’s the point of sending emails to someone who never reads them? Why waste money on printed materials that end up straight in the bin?
But isn’t that also exciting? What new way can we think of to inspire those hard-to-get people to sign up to our cause? History is full of examples of how we adapt to come up with new and innovative ideas to rise up to a challenge. This is our chance to listen to other people about how they would like to be engaged with. This is your chance to innovate!
At Convention: Christian will be leading a session on ‘Turning a pipeline of prospects into a proper pipeline’,looking at university fundraising and how an alumni survey generated a vast amount of data that is leading the way in personal fundraising.
Lucy Gower, trainer, consultant and coach at Lucidity:
“You are a change maker”
Right now the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. And you have a choice: You can choose to stick your head in the sand, pretend nothing is changing and carry on doing what you’ve always done. Or, you can see uncertainty as an opportunity. An opportunity to step up and make a bigger impact.
Right now the UK needs you. I’m not just talking about needing to raise more money because services and funding are being cut. I’m talking about how fundraisers are a force for good, a tribe of human beings with a shared value of standing up to all that is wrong with the world and taking positive action to make it better.
No charity was set up because everything was OK. You fundraise to solve problems, whether it’s to fund more research to find a cure for cancer, to ensure that vulnerable people are safe and cared for or to help innocent people whose lives are destroyed by manmade and natural disasters.
Through your work and the stories you tell, you move others to take action. You inspire and enable others to show compassion and meet a fundamental human need – to help other people.
You are a change maker. The money you raise has the power to transform lives. And right now the world needs fundraisers more than ever.
At Convention: Lucy will be speaking on ‘Inspiring others through story’. She will also join Maria Healy from Mind to explore ‘How to turn community fundraising insights into a fundraising product’.
Richard Spencer, director at the Commission on the Donor Experience:
“The scrutiny has been a blessing in disguise”
From sponsored events to throwing cash in a bucket to setting up a direct debit, around £9.7bn is generated each year from members of the public, according to the CAF 2017 UK Giving Report. This sum would be tiny were it not for brilliant, dedicated, highly skilled and professional people like you.
Donors want to give. Your role as a fundraiser is to make sure their experience of doing so works for them, that they are respected and valued, and that they are given genuine choices about how they give and how often you contact them.
We understand that reports of poor fundraising practice have cast a shadow over charities as a whole. But in many ways, the scrutiny has been a blessing in disguise. It has encouraged us to look more closely at how we treat our donors.
The Commission on the Donor Experience has spent the last 18 months exploring how we can create a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. The end result, which launches on Wednesday 5 July, is a vast body of advice, principles and tools, including 28 projects, 526 ideas for change and 250 case histories, that will be available for free. These will help you fulfil your potential as a fundraiser – and your charities’ potential as an organisation that can achieve real and lasting change in partnership with its supporters.
At Convention: The commission will be chairing a ‘Meet the donor’ session, hosted by Ken Burnett, where you can hear directly from charity donors and listen to their views on how charities can deliver good experiences. The commission will also launch the full outputs of its 18-month initiative with a lunch event and a series of inspiring short talks.
Millie Perrett, head of philanthropy (leadership giving and mid value) at Cancer Research UK:
“A genuine impact on thousands of lives”
At Cancer Research UK, I lead a team of passionate, dedicated individuals. Their roles span a range of fundraising disciplines, from mass marketing to relationship fundraising, but they are all united in their strong desire to beat cancer sooner, fuelled by their own powerful personal stories.
Achieving this goal means partnering with many incredibly generous individuals whose philanthropy funds groundbreaking science that has a genuine impact on thousands of lives.
When we talk about our supporters, we talk about putting them first and ensuring that they are the centre of all of the activity that we do. We are a donor-centric organisation because without our supporters there could be no Cancer Research UK.
Philanthropy – charitable giving at any level – changes the world. We all see that every day in the brilliant organisations that we work for. Fundraisers unlock that philanthropy by showing people the impact that they can have through giving; by bravely and boldy asking for what their organisation needs to solve the problems that they themselves profoundly care about; and for ensuring that our supporters feel like the genuine partners they are.
So, to my fellow fundraisers. When the next person asks you what you do, what will you say? I work for Cancer Research UK, inspiring people to partner with us so that we can beat cancer sooner. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t feel proud to do that.
At Convention: Millie will be delivering a session on ‘Developing a truly donor centric Mid Value programme’ exploring how this type of programme can build meaningful, lifelong relationships with supporters.