International Fundraising Congress (IFC) is epic. It took place in The Netherlands in October and 700 people attended in person and 500 online. We had the privilege of speaking this year and as we walked through the doors of the conference centre, we could tell this was going to be a powerful week.
So here are our five big insights from IFC 2022.
Location helps transformation
The NH Conference centre is in Noordwijk, approximately 25 miles from Amsterdam. It’s a place where transformation happens. IFC has been held there for years and it consistently delivers penny-dropping-moments for us and thousands of fundraisers.
Maybe it’s the size of the place, or because IFC surrounds you with inspiring images and messages, or the quality of speakers, or the enthusiasm of the attendees, or the quality of service. Indeed, it’s a combination of all these factors. It’s a powerful cocktail which always delivers transformation.
Global fundraising community
We met people from all over the world, including Australia, Germany, India, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, and USA. The vast majority had never met before and yet there was an instant sense of familiarity because we were surrounded by other fundraisers. This is our global fundraising community. It feels nurturing to spend time with them, because we’re motivated by the same things, we have similar goals and challenges. Although we speak many different languages, we all speak the same language of fundraising.
Digital mobilisation meets corporate partnerships
We attended a session on digital mobilisation delivered by Paul de Gregorio of Rally and Ali Walker Davis from Forward Action. In their session they shared an impressive case study where they helped the UK charity Refuge to dramatically increase their number of subscribers, many of whom were converted into supporters.
It reminded us of something that Joe Waters of SelfishGiving.com raves about, which is the exciting area where digital mobilisation meets corporate partnerships. Because probably the most powerful way that corporate partnerships can deliver value for charities is reaching thousands of employees and/or consumers. These thousands of people have the potential to become subscribers and then be converted into supporters, through an engaging digital campaign.
Inspire the inspirers
As corporate fundraisers our role is to inspire business decision-makers to partner with our charity. But it’s impossible to keep bringing that fire and enthusiasm every day. At some stage our energy and optimism are going to take a dip. So, who inspires the inspirers?
That’s where IFC comes in. It’s an incredible event that gives us the enthusiasm top-up we all need to go back to our roles to inspire more business decision-makers. This is especially important right now with the global energy crisis and tough economic situation. It’s vital that we bring hope and a sense of what’s possible in these difficult times.
We are all persuaders now
One of the greatest highlights of IFC 2022 was an interview with Anand Giridharadas, a former journalist at the New York Times. He said that fundraisers think of themselves as bringing truth and information to power, in exchange for a donation. However, according to Anand, fundraisers should see themselves as changemakers not just for our service users but also for donors.
This is particularly relevant for corporate partnerships. Rather than building partnerships with companies to just change the lives of service users, successful partnerships should also result in positive change for the company. We need to challenge them and show them how to be and do better at the same time.
In conclusion, Anand said that we need to be better at persuading from the inside, rather than criticising from the outside. It felt like such a fresh and important message we all need to hear right now. You can discover inspiring examples and ways to do that in his new book, The Persuaders.
One blog cannot do justice to our hugely valuable takeaways from IFC. We learned so much and our enthusiasm and inspiration feel refilled. We urge everyone reading this blog to do the following three things:
- Book in some time to meet with your community, your fellow fundraisers.
- Buy and read The Persuaders by Anand Giridharadas.
- Attend IFC 2023.
If you enjoyed this blog you might be interested in attending our Advanced Corporate Partnerships Masterclass. Discover how behavioural science can help you build ambitious corporate partnerships. Taking place on 24th November 2022 in London. Click here to find out more.