One Aussie’s Experience of the International Fundraising Congress 2015
5 November 2015 at 11:11 am
Strategic Grants Director, Jo Garner, shares her experience as a first timer at the much revered International Fundraising Congress hosted by the Resource Alliance.
“Innovation applied to the desire to make a difference is what makes the difference” – Dan Pallotta
Who better to deliver the plenary of International Fundraising Congress (IFC) 2015 than the always inspirational Dan Pallotta, who set the tone of the 2015 conference theme, “Emerging Trends and Innovation in Fundraising”.
Pallotta challenged delegates to spend their time at the conference, contemplating, “Are we innovating out of fear or out of love? Fear equals desperation and hysteria. Love equals faith and desire to create incredible change”.
And that is what IFC is all about. Share Experience. Create Change.
In October, 1000 delegates from 60 countries converged on the conference centre located about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam to chose from over 100 sessions, presented by more than 70 fundraising experts from across the world.
On day one alone, I met people from Mozambique, the Gulf, Lebanon, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the US, Canada, the UK, Luxembourg and France, as well as, of course, catching up with the 40 strong delegation from Australia and New Zealand.
Day one of the conference, not surprisingly, the choice for me was “Foundations: Global Philanthropists” presented by Christopher Carnie, who provided the European perspective, and Eelco Keij for the US perspective.
It was refreshing to hear consistent key messages with those that we practice and preach here, across Australia and New Zealand. Relationships are paramount and collaboration between the fundraising team, and program and services team is essential when building strong cases for support.
Our staple message was reinforced on the global scale – the written grant application plays such a small part in the entire grant-seeking strategy. It's about the right fit, trust and building a strong relationship with funders – no matter where you live.
Another of the conference highlights was the fundraising campaigns that were nominated for Global Fundraising Awards.
Particularly cool, was the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Nazis against Nazis – Germany’s most involuntary charity walk was, quite simply, the epitome of innovative event ideas.
Similarly the IWITOT session showcased brilliant fundraising campaigns from across the globe, that the best in the business wished they had thought of.
The action-packed four days, where all things fundraising are covered, was closed by Alberto Cairo, who delivered a most inspirational closing plenary. Alberto had worked for the Red Cross in Afghanistan for 25 years, rehabilitating disabled people and victims of the continuing conflict.
There wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as this humble and dedicated man shared his story of how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war.
If you have not yet been to IFC, I highly recommend you consider it in your professional development schedule. One Aussie delegate I met had received a professional development scholarship from her organisation to attend.
And if you are daunted by the fact of arriving alone and not knowing anyone – don’t be. True to the profession, the packed social and networking agenda ensures you will meet lots of fabulous people.
People who all have one common purpose of wanting to play their part in helping people and causes across the world. Check out the 2016 dates now!
About the author: Jo Garner is the Director of Strategic Grants and a founding member of Queensland's first women's giving circle, Women & Change. Working with peak bodies, funders and charities across Australia and New Zealand, Garner works to increase the capacity of Not for Profits to win grants and help grow philanthropy.