The International Fundraising Congress (IFC) 2012
Despite, or maybe because of global economic challenges, with greater implications in Europe and North America, the 2012 International Fundraising Congress held in the Netherlands this October was the most successful ever. First timers and old hands left the NH Leeuwenhorst Hotel with much to think about. With so many non-profits trying to do more and better with less money, many sessions were oversubscribed and the general feeling was overwhelmingly positive about the quality of the presentations.
Social media was not only a popular subject at the Congress, but many delegates were also tweeting from sessions, commenting and sharing their thoughts and the lessons they were learning. The knowledge sharing tradition in the non-profit sector has been taken one step further.
Kevin De Coninck, the Policy and Development Officer for the Dutch Language Union commented: I'm here for the first time at the IFC and it was really interesting to see the concrete fundraising tips. All in all it was reassuring that we're doing the right thing and it was nice to hear all the stories of the other participants.
And Deniz Hassan, a Digital Marketing Manager from UK emergency relief charity Merlin said: I've thoroughly enjoyed the IFC. I thought the Masterclass was a great idea, getting people to do some work for a couple of days. I've made sure I've gone to a wide range of workshops to experience things I wouldn't normally do. It's good to get out of your comfort zone, looking at the work that maybe your colleagues do. So I've got stuck into some legacy, major donor and corporate work so I'll be a more rounded digital marketer from now on.
Some delegates were from newly formed international non-profits, like Zoe Holt,
Director of Development for Cruelty Free International, an anti animal testing organisation.
This is my first time here at the IFC. I think it's been really insightful for us. We came with a definite objective in mind, being a new non-profit organisation in the global arena, we were particularly interested in the Global Perspectives sessions, which have been real 'cut to the chase' presentations of what's happening in other regions which have been really useful. It would have taken an awful lot of time to research otherwise. I've learned as much in a day as I would have done in a month.
I haven't gone to any of the sessions on traditional fundraising, concentrating more on what's happening in these other regions. It's been fascinating to see what's happening in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. To hear from people who have actually been working on the ground for International NGOs has been really useful, so we're definitely getting out of it what we wanted.
I know what's happening in the UK but we really wanted a global view and in terms of talking to other delegates it's been great. Talking to suppliers too has been one of the key things I wanted to do. My tip is to do your homework before you come. I didn't know much about the Resource Alliance before I came but now I want to find out more about how they can help us.
As ever, the lessons delegates have learned are to prepare thoroughly before arriving at the congress. If you're considering coming to the 33rd International Fundraising Congress which takes place on the 15-18th October 2013, make sure you've identified the sessions and presentations which are appropriate for you beforehand. Visit www.internationalfundraisingcongress.com for more details of these for the 2013 conference.
Arina Gaba, International Fundraising Director for Gift of Life, a Russian children's cancer charity, gives another tip to get the most out of the IFC: It's very useful as usual it makes you look at things from different angles and gives you inspiration and insights. Its crammed with information, so it is worth taking time afterwards to gather your thoughts and see what lessons you have learned and which you can implement.
Identifying what new ideas you can take away from the Congress and implement can mean a real increase in fundraising income and the spread of good practice throughout the sector. Suppliers like Tom Ashford, a Business Development Manager specialising in charity recruitment at The Guardian newspaper found it a great chance to make new business contacts.
It's my first time at the IFC and I've found it really useful. There are so many people from so many countries who have come together and it's a unique opportunity to meet those people. It's been a great learning experience for me, great for networking and great fun too. There are so many organisations doing so many things that you don't hear about.
The IFC shows the very best side of fundraising and its a great introduction to the subject for those new to the discipline like Ruban Garcia Santos, a Corporate Alliances Specialist for Unicef in Geneva.
Ruben commented: For me as a first timer I found it very valuable, also being relatively new in the world of fundraising, I gained very good insights into what fundraising is, which is not just a marketing function to collect donations, but also trying to change the world for the better. So fundraisers could be considered as the cogs for making that happen. So I'm leaving IFC with a very good feeling, with lots of ideas and the motivation to keep on in the field of fundraising.
The world of fundraising is changing rapidly. Its a dynamic sector filled with extraordinarily talented people who use their talent to raise money to make the world we live in a better place. The IFC is similarly extraordinary. Where else would you find competing organisations from all over the globe, coming together to share their experiences and their ideas? The challenges that our world faces are huge, but the non-profit sector has the vision and talent to face them down. We are leading the way and demonstrating that collaboration is the only way to achieve real change.
The International Fundraising Congress (IFC) once again takes place on 15-18 October 2013 in the Netherlands. For more information visit www.internationalfundraisingcongress.com
For more information about the Resource Alliance, the organisation behind the IFC, visit www.resource-alliance.org