5 highlights from International Fundraising Congress 2023

Written by Georgina Oxlade, Associate Director of Operations, Remarkable Partnerships.

International Fundraising Congress (IFC) 2023 was inspirational. The theme for 2023 was Unite. We truly felt this theme throughout the conference – from the topics covered to the opportunity to network. 

Remarkable Partnerships had the pleasure of delivering two workshops during the conference, as well as attending sessions delivered by others. So we are sharing our five highlights from IFC 2023.

Momentum = mass x velocity 

Erica Chenoweth, Academic Dean at Harvard Kennedy School gave a fascinating keynote speech.  They and their team have been researching the factors which enable movements or campaigns to succeed. 

The findings had one penny drop moment for us. Erica described how we can use an insight from physics to help us deliver successful campaigns. Physics tells us that momentum = mass x velocity. Their research shows that the success of social movements increases as they gain momentum. Momentum in this instance is created through participation (mass) combined with the number of events (velocity).

So, if you want to build momentum for your campaign, consider how mass x velocity can help you achieve your goals. 

ESG is huge

We attended a thought-provoking workshop on ESG (environmental, social, governance).  

Companies are increasingly recognising that their impact needs to be measured in ways beyond their bottom line. Although ESG can be seen as tool to measure sustainability, we also see that it is an ethos that can companies follow, so they are more successful because they make a positive impact. 

Our most important take away is that ESG is a HUGE opportunity for charities to speak to corporate prospects and partners about how their partnership can help the company deliver their ESG goals.

This is the dawn of a new era – ESG is HUGE – and it is shaping the future of business.

We all need a lift

What the conference really highlights is that by getting together in person really does energise fundraisers. Being together means we can bounce ideas off of each other, learn from others, and build valuable connections.

The session delivered by Kristian A Aloma and Madeline Duran revealed that 50% of fundraisers leave their jobs after 2 years. Their evidence showed that the main reason for leaving a job is often the conflict between why we join the charity sector, (to do meaningful work), and the reality, that it is exhausting. 

Times are tough, and sometimes the role of a fundraiser is lonely and exhausting. Building connections with your peers is essential to enable you to realise that what you are doing is  incredible. It lifts you up. 

Shared purpose is the key

We delivered a workshop on ‘Partner with purpose’. During our session we shared that in tough times business leaders increase their focus on their core business priorities. This is an opportunity for charities.

In these challenging times, companies are still interested in opportunities, but they must deliver commercial benefits for the company. So we recommend you pitch them opportunities. A powerful pitch should include the big reason WHY you and that company should partner – we call this ‘Shared purpose’. 

Participants in our workshops discovered their unique shared purpose with a corporate partner or prospect.

If you would like to discover how shared purpose can help you win new partnerships, or grow existing ones, then please get in touch by sending me an email at georgina@remarkablepartnerships.com

Uniting makes bigger possible 

This year’s theme of unite was more meaningful than ever before. In a world filled with challenges such as the climate crisis, war and unstable economic conditions, uniting is vital for progress. 

Speakers throughout the conference showed us that when people come together, we can achieve something greater.

The groundbreaking speeches by young climate activists Nyombi Morris, Topaz Zega, and Phoebe Hanson left us feeling positive for the future, despite the challenges the world faces. They showed us that small actions can create real change. Unity truly does make bigger possible. 


Our highlights cannot do justice to our experience of IFC. We learned so much, and our cups are truly topped up with inspiration and enthusiasm to do what we do.  

If you enjoyed this blog you might be interested in attending one of our upcoming training courses where we share our most valuable insight and tools. Use this link to see our choice of training courses over the next 12 months: https://www.remarkablepartnerships.com/training

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