Sunday 27 November 2016

In it. Not at it. Some post #IFC2016 thoughts...

I’ve been meaning to write something about this year’s IFC conference in Holland for ages.


Because it was so, so good. That’s why.

I think the IFC is an amazing event because it means I get to sit outside the UK fundraising bubble for a few days and talk to people from all over the world about their ideas and experience.

Speaking at the conference helps because it means you get to meet so many more people! Being ‘in’ it rather than ‘at’ it is very, very useful if you are as talkative and inquisitive as I am -  as it means barriers are down when it comes to approaching and introducing yourself to people.

I’ve come away with a huge amount of enthusiasm and inspiration from all sorts of people. There are, however, two key threads of thought for me that I had validated by this year’s event...

Feel the Bern...

In the UK we’re not very good at driving mass response using digital techniques and we’re close to rubbish at email. Listening to Kenneth and Zack from the Bernie Sanders campaign talk with such passion and experience about how they raised over $200 million using digital was a real inspiration. And I know from my own political fundraising experience from three Labour Party General Election campaigns that there is a lot to learn from the theories and practices of mobilisation and fundraising used by political parties.

Create the crowd...

Amanda Palmer did the opening plenary and told us never to forget that ‘you need a crowd to crowdfund’. Obvious, but not something we see enough of. Building a crowd or community around our causes and campaigns should be an everyday task. But all too often the big idea isn’t followed up by the hard graft to bring the public close and keep them interested. We need to do more in digital (and offline) to grow and inspire the communities we need to drive our success.

Very simplistic and of course both are intrinsically linked.  

We’ve some fairly serious challenges to overcome in UK fundraising, and in my view we’re not going to fix them by tinkering with our existing ways of working. We’re going to fix them by stepping outside of the UK bubble, learning from colleagues from all over the world and being brave enough to challenge the status quo.

PS. Amanda Palmer was lovely, I asked her if she'd say a few words to Fiona and she agreed, have a listen...

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