7 reasons why I’m SO EXCITED for #IFC2016

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In two days, I’m boarding a plane to Amsterdam.

Three days after that, I’m travelling from Amsterdam to Noordwijkerhout, the site of the International Fundraising Congress, a.k.a. IFC.

I am so grateful to get to attend IFC, and I am counting down the minutes until I get there.

There’s about a million reasons why I’m so excited for IFC, but here are 7 of them –

#1 – Seeing friends

I’m lucky to have built up a network of fundraising friends over the years, including some international fundraisers who I only get to see once in a while. Some of these friends will be at IFC – Rachel Hunnybun and Beate Sørum, to name a few – and I can’t wait to catch up and talk shop with them.

#2 – Making new ones

I also expect to forge some great new friendships at IFC. There are so many fundraisers there, from all over the globe, and I hope to start conversations with as many of them as I can, absorbing all they have to share with me, and giving back all I can.

#3 – Learning how fundraising is done across the world

And on that note of making new friends, I’m most excited about the international aspect of IFC. I want to learn how fundraising is done in India, Africa… everywhere! Fundraising markets are so different from one another and yet there are so many approaches and practices from other places that could help us here in Canada. I intend to find out what they are!

#4 – Seeing my heroines & heroes speak

It’s like when you’re in your last year of university and you start picking classes based on who are teaching them, because you know who inspires you the most. I’m going to attend whatever sessions interest me the most, but a big factor will be who’s presenting. So many of my fundraising heroines/heroes are speaking at IFC – Alan Clayton, Lucy Gower, Charlie Hulme, Simone Joyaux, Howard Lake, Adrian Sargeant, Kay Sprinkel Grace – it’s going to be hard to choose.

#5 – The chats outside of sessions

I’ve often found that the most rewarding parts of conferences are the conversations that take place outside of sessions. Given the unique nature of IFC – the fact that basically everyone is in the same hotel, you’re in the middle of nowhere, everyone hangs out together, it’s intimate – I can only imagine it’s a hotbed of the kinds of conversations I’m thinking of.

#6 – Speaking overseas

I’m actually lucky enough to speak at IFC myself. I’m part of a special session called “IFC Introducing… Scholars”. That’s right, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to attend IFC, and as part of that, I get to speak about my fundraising story and participate in a panel. I can’t wait!

#7 – Hanging with colleagues

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love working at Blakely, and I adore my colleagues. Three of them are also coming to IFC, and it’ll be fun to hang out, chat, and share ideas outside of the workplace.

 

Are any of you going to be there? Comment here to let me know, tweet me @fundraisermaeve, or email me at maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

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Written by Maeve Strathy

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Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for ten years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.

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Why weren’t we all born in Finland???

Mea culpa. Uncharacteristically I missed one of my scheduled post days for this blog – June 20. Sometimes I pull something together the day of a scheduled post – rather than a well-thought-out post written over a period of time, which I also do – but I always try to write about something I’m working on, inspired by, and/or questions I have for readers (whether they go answered or not). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that this time.

Why? Well, on June 20 I was in transit from Helsinki, Finland, as a matter of fact. I went on a two-week vacation there to explore the city and visit one of my best friends in the whole world. Having been decidedly out of the country, I hope you’ll forgive my negligence. (I had a great time, by the way.)

Now that I’m back, I thought I’d use my trip as inspiration for today’s post. I had some great conversations with my friend about universities in Finland vs. Canada. We consider ourselves pretty lucky in Canada with relatively well-subsidized post-secondary education, and we are lucky. However, post-secondary education in Finland is FREE! That’s right – free! Even my Canadian citizen friend gets free education there, rather than the exorbitant fees international students pay here. As he put it, from kindergarten to PhD is free for all!

So how do they do it? I won’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of Finnish government, but clearly they prioritize education. According to this source, the Finnish government guarantees sufficient core funding for universities. That means all basic needs of universities are met. Can you imagine that?

So naturally I asked my friend: do Finnish universities fundraise??? The answer is kind of. One thing they don’t do is ask alumni or students’ parents for money. They do allow philanthropic donations, but they won’t actively solicit individual gifts. At most, they’ll focus their efforts on corporations and foundations.

And when Finnish universities do fundraise, they get more for their efforts! Obviously “sufficient core funding” is huge, but we know more than that is likely needed, at least some of the time. A new Universities Act (2010) shifted the focus of universities’ financial structures more towards outside funding, but the government isn’t neglecting institutions. Instead, it committed to match the basic funding any university collects as private donations at a ratio of 2.5 to 1. Whatever you fundraise, the Finnish government will give you 2.5x that.

What does that mean for alumni? You go to university for free, you’re educated (and in Finland, have a much better chance at a job after you graduate), and your university asks you for nothing in return. I don’t know much about Finnish alumni, but I imagine more positive impressions of your alma mater and potentially higher engagement with the university after graduation.

So is our government failing us? Perhaps. For me, it makes me realize how much better our case for support has to be. Our reality is different and we have to work within this context. I could dream of better government funding, but then again, that could mean I’d be out of a job. Knowing how Finnish education works, at the very least, makes me more sympathetic to our commonly heard objections: “I already paid tuition” or “I’m still paying back student loans”. Our alumni are saying, “What more do you want from me?” And I get it… why weren’t we all just born in Finland?

So if we’re going to have the audacity to ask (because our alumni must feel that way about fundraising sometimes), then we better give them a good reason why they should give.

What do you think???  How do governments like Finland’s make you feel?  Depressed, or inspired to work that much harder?

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Written by Maeve Strathy

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Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past seven years.  Click here to learn more about Maeve.

Connect with Maeve via:
Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

Guest Post: How Fundraising has Changed in the Last 10 Years

One part of What Gives Philanthropy‘s mission statement says that the blog “intends to discuss and explore… topics from all angles and points of view, inviting guest bloggers to write and share their ideas”.  My hope has always been that people from all over the industry and all over the world will contribute to this blog, and today’s guest blogger Alison Richmond has helped me get the ball rolling on that.  Here is something relevant to our peers in the United Kingdom and in Europe as a whole.  Thanks, Alison!

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An economic recession or a financial crisis is usually tagged with the ability to decimate charitable collections from philanthropic organisations and individuals. However, as per an article published in the Third Sector UK, most of the charities within the European Union, close to 75 percent, have been able to increase or maintain their voluntary streams of income even during the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

Economic changes in the international markets impact every aspect of financial transactions, business-related, or otherwise. Similarly, fundraising has also evolved considerably over the last decade or so, especially with the dramatic changes in the global market scene, technological advancement and other global changes. In the paragraphs that follow, let us take a quick look at some of the recent trends in the fundraising system in Europe:


Going Beyond Borders

Fundraising is an important way of keeping a crisis situation under check, be it a local disaster or even a global problem. The last decade has witnessed some terrifying tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural and man-made catastrophes. While state-run disaster-management squads have a big role to play in relief, fundraising is an extremely important mode of giving aid and providing relief during a tragedy. One important trend that the fundraising system in Europe has witnessed over the last decade or so is the tendency of cross-border giving. Charitable donations are mobilised beyond their local area to more large-scale and international issues.
The Impact of Social Media and Technology

No one can deny the role of information technology and how it has transformed through leaps and bounds, especially over the last decade. Mobile phones are ubiquitous and almost everyone is on social networking media. The importance of such technological platforms is that they have become a fundamental part of communication. They have become so integral to everyday life that they have consequently also become excellent modes of campaigning and raising funds for specific causes. They have a great deal of international exposure, and are a guaranteed way of spreading the message far and wide. Websites, blogs, email forwards, social networking, news channels and so on are fantastic platforms for fundraising campaigns.
Entry of Private-Owned Firms into the World of Fundraising

Fundraising has taken on a corporate outlook, with the entry of several private corporations into the world of fundraising. One of the outcomes of this foray is that fundraising has become more professionalised and more efficient. The access to technology is one step that has been enhanced. In addition, fundraising itself gains more legitimacy when it is backed by a corporate tag, since more people see the validation in an agency that is collecting funds, rather than in small organisations or individuals doing the same.
Online Transactions

Online transactions are not just limited to credit card payments anymore. Fundraising has gone online and internet-based charitable contributions is one of the most significant channels through which donations and voluntary contributions are made today. These methods are not just instant and effective, but they are also hassle-free.

 

Written by Alison Richmond

alisonrichmondAlison has worked in the fundraising industry for several years and enjoys helping to develop different fundraising methods for schools.  It’s important that fundraisers don’t lose hope during these difficult economic times and strive for innovation!  She currently works for easyfundraising.  You can contact Alison at a.richmond@easyfundraising.org.uk.