Your passion prevailed: 2017 in review
This was always going to be a year to challenge us all, but 2017 delivered so much more. While both refocusing attention on donor engagement and complying with ever-changing regulation were a central focus, I’m proud to say the fundraising community has not lost sight of its passionate and innovative heart.
I know the pressure to prepare for GDPR, to meet income targets, and to deliver the best for your beneficiaries caused many sleepless nights in 2017, but fundraisers are as resilient and committed as any in the sector, and I have seen a steely determination to deliver ever higher standards of excellent fundraising. That x-factor – the inspiration, the storytelling and generosity that makes our community so special – was ever-present, and I am confident that together we can and will deliver even more inspirational donor-focused fundraising in 2018.
Winner of the IoF 2017 Lifetime Contribution Award, Lyndall Stein, exemplified the true meaning of this. Reflecting on her life in fundraising, she spoke of the humanity of others – a nun who donated her last pound to support Nelson Mandela and his freedom fighters, the people who had risked looking a little silly to perform at a Marie Curie fundraising event, and her colleagues who helped the Terrence Higgins Trust in the dark time that was the HIV/AIDS crisis. Lyndall reminded us of our frailties (we all make mistakes) and of our combined value.
Lyndall was among the special guests at our Parliamentary Reception in November. It was a time to honour excellence in all things fundraising, engage parliamentarians in your achievements and celebrate the wider fundraising community. Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch MP paid tribute to the important work of fundraisers around the UK. Announcing the government’s plan to develop a new civil society strategy, she also expressed her crucial support for our journey towards chartered status.
At the IoF we intuitively understood the wider benefits of engaging people in donating. But we too were delighted by the remarkable findings of our Insights into Charity Fundraising report with YouGov in May. The report revealed that two thirds of donors took on additional charitable or advocacy actions such as volunteering having donated, almost half changed their behaviour or felt more positive about the cause, and almost a quarter talked about the cause or recommended the charity as a result of that initial engagement.
I’m proud to say the fundraising community has not lost sight of its passionate and innovative heart."
Convention was again a highlight on the IoF calendar – and I know on your calendars too. Among the most memorable for me was Cleve Jones’ moving plenary which got an unprecedented standing ovation. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when he spoke about his personal story as a campaigner and fundraiser, and reflected on how important all of our work is in fighting for social justice and equality.
This year, our dedicated cohort of fundraising students brought us to the landmark of 1000 graduates since the launch of IoF Academy Qualifications in 2011. I would like to congratulate all 172 fundraisers who achieved their professional recognition this year – this is no easy feat and most of our students did this while working full time for their respective charities. At the graduation ceremony in November I was delighted to hear feedback that many are already making a mark with their qualifications and I look forward to seeing their work impact the charities they represent and their beneficiaries for years to come. I must also commend our talented faculty who once again delivered first class education on behalf of the IoF.
Our long term project to increase legacy giving, Remember A Charity, also reached a milestone in hitting 200 members. More importantly, of course, more people are leaving more gifts in their will to charity, and I’m confident that with our ongoing strategic approach we can normalise legacy giving.
Mid-year we had a change at the very top of the Institute as Richard Taylor stepped down following the end of his term and Amanda Bringans took up the torch as IoF Chair. And I want to extend my personal thanks, as well as the thanks of fundraisers around the UK, to Richard for his time and dedication leading the fundraising community and the IoF through some turbulent times. He stepped forward unhesitatingly, gave his time and expertise to support and lead our sector, and we all owe him our due for his contribution as Chair. Amanda, as everyone who has had the pleasure of working with her knows, has brought her energy and ambition to the role of Chair, and I am very excited about working together in the years to come.
At the IoF we are already planning Fundraising Convention in the summer, courses and qualifications throughout the year, and more guidance to keep you at the forefront of innovation.
But we are also planning new initiatives. We can neither reach true excellence as a profession, nor optimise our impact, unless we become more diverse and I am looking forward to prioritising working with you all over the years to come to make fundraising a more diverse and inclusive community.
I’m genuinely proud of your achievements over the last year. You are putting donors at the heart of your fundraising, embedding innovation in your practices, all without losing sight of your mission and values.
Thank you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.