Conferences are exciting! You get to catch up with your peers, do some networking, and even learn a thing or two. At hjc, we’re always attending to conferences to stay on top of emerging trends, be reminded of the basics, and connect with our friends in the sector. Read More →
The last few months at hjc have been a whirlwind! Between holiday campaigns, hjc team members have been busy at conferences like IFC and bbcon.
Recap: bbcon 2012
The folks at Blackbaud really know how to host a conference. Held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington DC, the Blackbaud Conference for Nonprofits or bbcon 2012, is a three-day adventure of technology, sessions, networking and more technology. With the merger of Blackbaud and Convio earlier this year, the conference was bigger and better than ever.
In between attending session and navigating the event with a cool mobile app, I spent some time in the Nonprofit Expo, hanging out at the hjc booth with Paul St Onge. We had a blast meeting current and past clients and chatting with folks who were interested to learn more about our work.
But the Expo was more than just exhibitor booths: Stationed at the far end of the hall was The Expert Lab. This was the place come to ask your technical questions to the skilled Blackbaud developers, who were happy to lend a helping hand. Along the far wall of the Expo were stations for each of Blackbaud’s technology offerings. Here you could chat with the folks involved with CRM and fundraising tools, analytics and payment services to name a few.
Outside of the Expo, I grabbed some valuable takeaways from workshops and sessions. While the sessions offered strong educational content and nonprofit tech trends, tips and tricks, my favourite part of bbcon 2012 was meeting with my nonprofit peers to share ideas and information.
Oh and they had a sweet photo booth!
International Fundraising Congress
This past October, Sheetal took off to Amsterdam to go to International Fundraising Congress (IFC). If you haven’t been, it’s an intense but enjoyable three day fundraising conference with experts from around the world.
These are Sheetal’s 3 key take-aways from IFC 2012:
Face-to-face seems to be one of the primary forms of mass market fundraising in emerging markets like Latin America and Asia. In India and Brazil especially, there seems to be a growing movement of this type of fundraising. All over the world, charities are finding increasing efficiency by digitizing face-to-face, using ipads and iphones to swipe credit cards directly on the street. This allows for immediate email follow up, less data headaches, real time tracking of fundraising performance, and much more.
Does crowdfunding present a threat or opportunity for non-profits? The discussion was a bit one sided with most favouring crowdfunding as an opportunity for non-profits to find new, younger donors for their organisation. But there are some points to consider before jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon.
Crowdfunding involves designating funds most of the time. You need to be able to pin point projects and ensure the funds go there. This can be a challenge for some organisations. The key would be a recruitment plan to secure an undesignated (ideally monthly) second gift on the phone. This will ensure stability in funding.
Charities also need to consider where they do crowdfunding. Platforms like KickStarter offer a lot of possibility to reach new audiences but you need to have a very exciting project and promotion for things to work on this platform. The platform also takes a percentage of your donations. At hjc, we’re experimenting with TeamRaiser and special donation forms for crowdfunding. If you do this, you need to ensure you have an external marketing plan if your goal is to find brand new donors.
One really interesting example that came out of this session, was from a cancer hospice near London. They’re currently inviting supporters to choose a special day (their birthday, their wedding day, etc.) and raise money to keep the hospice running on that day (supplying food, salaries, etc.). The organisation has worked out a fixed price for running the hospice for one day. Supporters seem to love this idea and the hospice also give recognition to the supporter within the hospice. They’ll promote the fact that “The Smiths” are keeping us running today. Plus, to donors are allowed to visit. Talk about seeing your impact! Could you do something similar with your organisation?
# 3 Fundraising in Asia
This session covered top trends in fundraising in Asia. Mass marketing is very much focused on face-to-face. In Asia, due to low costs of labour, another type of fundraising has also emerged, “Telefacing“. This is where a call center calls through a house list or even just a business based phone book (yes this legal in some Asian countries). They call to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the prospect. Someone then visits the individual in their home or office to ask for a gift. UNICEF India saw a 5-10% meeting acceptance rate and then a 70-80% response rate at the meeting. In Asia, guests are highly respected so getting into people homes and offices is an extremely effective technique.
What was most interesting in this session was the overview of the cultural perspective of philanthropy in Asia. In North America and Western Europe, we tend to use the idea of helping the community, or helping others when we talk to people about giving. Culturally, this is what people find to be a compelling case to give. The speaker in this session indicated that this is not the case in many countries in Asia. In Asia, family and education are extremely important. Charities that frame their ask with respect to how a gift can help your family, or how a gift can help educate more people do much better.
One of the greatest parts of being away at a conference is connecting with colleagues and meeting new peers in the industry. Often times, the expectation of being present at a conference is that you’ll pick up new knowledge, specifically in your area of expertise and it’s only natural to be drawn to topics that you’re already familiar with. If you’re a major gifts fundraiser, it’s only natural to attend those sessions and so forth. In Bernard Ross’s master class, he ended off a fantastic presentation with a bit of encouragement, and that was to attend a session on a topic that was completely brand new or one which you think might be of absolute no use to you. What great words of advice!