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 blog might seem like an advertisement for the IFC, but this year I have attended the IFC for the 15th time, so I am simply a big fan.
I picked great sessions about leading change, branding, storytelling, data-driven fundraising and donor trust. I took away a few excellent insights. But, for a change, I will not repeat those here. Check #IFCHolland for the Twitter summary. I will share my overall conclusion with you. Hopefully I can convince you to attend IFC next year.
The diverse and rich IFC program the attendees can choose from is a perfect example of the difficulty we all experience in our daily work as fundraisers. Where to focus on? The separate parts of fundraising don’t seem overly complicated. It is when all those parts get together things get more difficult.
So many… types of fundraising, people to convince, investments to ask for, campaigns to launch, analysis to do, insights to use, learnings to understand, donors to service, mailings to send, systems to connect, processes to optimise, stories to tell… So many choices to make!
The IFC teaches you to make choices and focus. For a few days you can zoom out of your daily work and see things in perspective. Eventually it will help you answer these questions: Why am I doing the things I am doing? Am I doing things right? And, maybe even more important, am I doing the right things?
In line with this year’s conference theme (Together we can) I have been thinking about my own work. Collaboration is essential and a prerequisite for any result I want to achieve. If I want to change the world, and I do, then I need to connect the best way possible with the charities I work for. If I want any of my advice to be implemented I need a basis of trust. The only way to do that is with open communication. In my world open communication is transparent, inclusive, positive, explanatory, friendly and honest. It’s not that I didn’t know this already, but first of all it’s much clearer now, and secondly, confirmation of a chosen direction from time to time is always very welcome.
So this is my conclusion for IFC 2019. And just like fundraising: It's not rocket science. It's more complicated than that.
See you next year at the IFC?