It's not rocket science. It's more complicated than that.

Last week I was at the International Fundraising Congress, right here in The Netherlands. As always a great experience. (If only it was for my “best dressed” nomination at the Gala Night for my shark costume.) Next to the many fundraising friends from around the world there was plenty of choice to get my annual fix of fundraising inspiration. This year I attended IFC for the 15th time, so you can imagine I am a fan.

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My wish: just do it!

My previous new years wish was about being distinctive. This year it's all about innovation and action.

My specialty is individual giving, and to be honest I don't see a lot of innovation. It's all more or less the same. And I don't mean you need to start with brand new stuff all the time. Innovation to me is not doing something you've never done before. Innovation is every change compared to the status quo. Every incremental change is innovation. And this is just as important as the game-changing innovation that everyone is going for.

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Give donors the respect they deserve

Many fundraisers are aware of relationship fundraising. Ken Burnett’s famous book Relationship Fundraising has opened many eyes over the last 25 years. There aren’t many fundraisers who haven’t read this book. However, its vision and core message have never been fully implemented in our sector.

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The Syrian refugee crisis, tipping points and fundraising

Remember how you felt last week when you saw the photo of Aylan Kurdi, the little Syrian boy who drowned and ended up on a Turkish resort beach? Or when you saw Laith Majid, the father crying and embracing his children as they arrived on the beaches of Greece? Both probably stirred powerful emotions in you. Whatever you think of the politics behind the situation, this current Syrian refugee story is a human tragedy.

Drowned little boys and girls, lying on Mediterranean beaches, alone, miles from home. These are some of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in the media. These images and stories should ignite action. It’s almost impossible to do nothing. That’s what happens when extreme human suffering is in our face.

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The struggle for justice is a marathon

In the closing plenary of this year's International Fundraising Congress Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace, shared an inspiring story I'd like to pass on to you (slightly paraphrased). Kumi is a life long activist from South-Africa, where he was involved in the anti-apartheid movement.

Kumi Naidoo: 'My best friend growing up was Lenny Naidu, and we fled around the same time into exile in 1987. He asked me a question the last time I would see him before we fled.'

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25 awesome fundraising quotes

Often we hear great quotes capturing the essence of the message. They are inspiring! They remind us of the important reasons why we work for charity and how we should do it, or how best practice would describe it…

In December I attended The Annual Lectures, where an awesome line-up of speakers was challenged to deliver their message in 30 minutes. This forced them to be to the point. And I heard some great quotes.

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My wish: be the blue fish!

Next year I wish you to be the blue fish. Charities need to break free from the uniformity. If you want your charity's story to not only reach (potential) donors, but actually be remembered a day after donors have read/saw/listened to them, something needs to change.

If you pick up a stack of direct mail appeals, or newsletters, or see 10 nonprofit e-mail bulletins next to each other, they are pretty much the same. Admit it. The logo might be different, but otherwise it's more or less the same. You see the differences, but your audience can't tell.

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YOU are the reason for your results

Today I want to share what I think is the single most important ingredient for fundraising success. This ingredient can make it, or break it. It’s the multiplier effect. It’s the most powerful element in your fundraising program. Every fundraising program has at least one, some have more, but nobody seems to have enough. Some are good. Some are considered good, but are in fact not.

You’ve guessed it. I’m talking about The Fundraiser. Yes, you.

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20 symptoms of fundraising trouble

There are a lot of fundraisers out there who are in their comfort zone. They don’t like change; they might be afraid of change.

If you are doing everything right, the need for change is obviously less urgent. However, most of us are not doing everything right. So there is a big chance you can improve your fundraising.

And the only one stopping you is… well, eh… YOU!

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Knock knock! Who’s there? Opportunity!

When I moved houses I used the postal company to forward my mail to my new address. This service also allowed me to let my utility suppliers, insurance companies and charities know that I had moved. The online platform let me tick the boxes of those charities that I am supporting. But there was also an option for me to request information from charities that I am not currently supporting, but am interested in.

As a fundraiser I like to test, so I ticked my boxes, and a couple more, and a few more, and some more. I ticked 33 boxes, from both charities I support and I’m interested in. Now we wait and see what happens…

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