Vital culture sector learnings: Convention
In the 10 years I have been attending the IoF Fundraisng Convention, it has given me a better understanding of fundraising across every stream and type. I have always left feeling energised, excited and inspired and full of new ideas and concepts that I have learnt.
Convention is vital to those in the arts and culture sector where smaller, targeted campaigns are the norm, where sponsorships, naming rights, major donors, and corporate fundraising are the lifeblood.
It was at the Convention I discovered a new-found passion for behavioural science and the way it can affect change and contributions to society. I have utilised this to help fundraisers in every charity I have worked at to raise more money, save more costs, engage more supporters to the cause.
The ideas I have seen espoused at Convention from behavioural economics, to personalisation, to industry perception is key for those in the culture sector. We are able to adapt and learn from our larger charity cousins, as our organisation colleagues do with the techniques they use in conservation, or communications to our members or patrons, or our activists and artists develop to tell the stories we passionately support.
That’s why it’s so important to see Fundraising Convention as key dates in the diary for any culture organisation’s development and prospect research departments. We can gain so much from what the hot topics are and where the industry is moving towards as a whole - be it the shift from Face to Face communication to more segmented and targeted comms, and the reflective moods of how we fundraise, and who we target.
This helps us in the culture sector to understand what our supporters are experiencing elsewhere as key learnings, methods of giving, relationship building, which we are able to assess and create our own models that fit within the sector we live in.
Every time I have gone, I have seen sessions on different techniques, different challenges, and different lessons learnt by other charities. There is never one unique answer to a multitude of challenges. I have heard from experts in many of the fields, divulging insight that you can immediately adopt and put into action.
This year, convention is looking at several different themes including diversity and collaboration. This year’s theme is diversity in fundraising which I am particularly excited about. I am thrilled to be seeing several old colleagues and friends on stage for the Pride in Fundraising session this year, alongside ones that I feel are important in the culture sector right now, like The Colour of Wealth, Donor Advised Funds – Friend or Foe, and another personal pick in watching Fatima Bhutto on the plenary. Last year watching one of my all-time heroes Cleve Jones talk with such passion about fundraising and our sector, and get the standing ovation he got was spine tingling. I will be hoping for much the same this year.
Michael Livingstone, Fundraising Database Manager at Museum of London
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