International Fundraising Congress 2017
3 SIDED CUBE had the huge honour of attending the International Fundraising Congress in Bangkok as a transformative partner of The Resource Alliance.
As a relatively new member of the group of companies that are supporting the Alliance to drive substantial change in the social impact sector, this was our first taste of one of their infamous events.
One week and 12,000 miles later I am still feeling the electricity from attending the inaugural IFC Asia. My colleague Puff and I were there to wave the CUBE flag proudly and spread our mission of using tech for good.
For those thinking of attending next year, or the flagship IFC later this year, here are some of my thoughts on the magic of the Congress:
1. Collaboration is key!
We need to stop thinking about our competitors as competition.
We are all out to make a change and tackle big social issues. As stated by James Chen ‘We are able to do today what previous generations could only dream of.’ To make that happen, we need to work together, to innovate and capitalise on our shared capabilities we need to work together and see the issues we tackle as the competition rather than each other.
This collaboration and shared understanding were the key themes of IFC Asia, and it was refreshing to see a unit of people come together for the greater good.
2) You need to be fearless.
You need to engage with people, start a conversation and get out of your comfort zone. As a newbie, it was daunting to integrate a group of passionate people that were leading beacons within the sector. But getting outside your comfort zone is when you will meet some amazing people and learn the skills to make change.
3) It will surprise you!
I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect to be always surprised. There are so many great stories to hear, so many great people to inspire you. Whether they are from an international organisation creating a massive social movement or a philanthropist single-handedly impacting a local cause, you are going to meet some amazing people.
4) You need to bring tissues...
We were delighted to present the award for Best CSR at the Social Impact Awards. We should have brought some Kleenex though. The significant work that attendees deliver was beautifully portrayed during the event when you see the endeavours and achievements of the collection of finalists it tugs at your heartstrings. This constant welling up, combined with the heat and humidity left us at severe risk of dehydration!
5) I live in a bubble.
As a supplier of digital solutions for organisations across the globe, working at CUBE can sometimes mean I forget the real world impact of the projects we make. Being in the midst of these organisations, charities and change-makers brought home to me the way we can help to drive social impact. It allowed me to gain a new understanding of what our clients require, how we can push for greater achievements and support their missions.
6) Asia is not the UK.
An obvious statement to make. But it was interesting to see the number of organisations and suppliers that believed there is a catch-all approach for success. Asia is not the ‘Third World’ that it is sometimes labelled. The progression of technology in Asia may not meet the current advancements we have in the West, but we need to adapt our approach for real success and a different audience.
7) Donation fatigue is a lazy viewpoint.
Having 400 charities in one room an interesting question arose ‘With all of us asking for help are donors going to get tired of being asked?’. But the answer is no! Anyone with that viewpoint is lazy and not delivering the right content to their audience. IF you are engaging and delivering upon your promises and making the donors part of your journey; IF they can see the impact that you are having, they WILL support you every step of the way.
8) Remember your ABCD's!
The captivating host of IFC Asia, Usha Menon rallied the crowd to remember the fundamentals of fundraising. Authentic, Bold, Creative, Driven. Ensuring you portray your passion and values with a discipline and with creativity will create engagement and energy that will drive your vision. Watch a clip of Usha’s opening talk below:
9) We need to talk about shit more...
The closing plenary was a thrilling, laugh a minute story from Mr Toilet himself Jack Sims of the World Toilet Organisation. Making the fact that 2.5 billion live with unsafe sanitation a joyful experience was no easy feat. It made me realise that sometimes we are faced with some difficult topics and harsh realities, but we may at times be too serious, is there a better way to make people part of your movement than by making it enjoyable? Puff explains more on her blog ‘The day Mr Toilet changed my life’. The perfect accompaniment to your next toilet break.
I look forward to seeing how our partnership with The Resource Alliance grows, and together we step by step change the world. If you’ve been inspired to join our mission to be a #ChangeMaker I hope to see you at IFC2017 in October.