By Rachel Hutchisson, VP, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy, Blackbaud
What a joy it has been this week to be with friends and colleagues attending the Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention in London. The whole event has been just what IoF Chair Amanda Bringans promised at the opening plenary — inspiring and fun!
As a member of the board of directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, based in the United States, I am no newbie to conferences. But this one is special in that it provides me with an opportunity to learn from UK experts and reflect on what’s different...and more often...what’s not! What I truly love is the passion all fundraisers, regardless of geography, have for what they do. That’s one reason I have so valued working alongside the fundraising profession for 26 years, because of the dedicated focus on doing good...for others!
Will Gompertz, the BBC’s first Arts Editor and a former member of the Tate Galleries team, was a fabulous choice to open the convention, inspiring us with the message that we ARE all creative regardless of what we might think. Creative ideas are all iterations on other ideas, he said, building on what we know and adding our own influence. My favorite line from his talk? “Fundraisers are artists.” Indeed, we are a better world because of it.
Another highlight was Monday night’s National Fundraising Awards dinner and celebration, featuring more than 15 awards exemplifying excellence in many forms — youth fundraising, individual campaigns, and so much more. A highlight was Richard Radcliffe’s delighted acceptance of a lifetime honour for contributions to the charitable sector. His words about the importance of the IoF’s voice in today’s world were spot-on. Kudos to IoF CEO Peter Lewis and the team for their great work.
Finally, it was extra special to hear Lianne McGrory of Blackbaud and Keith Williams of JustGiving share insights about the just-launched research piece, The Status of UK Fundraising 2018 Benchmark Report, which was created in collaboration with the Institute of Fundraising and features an introduction from Peter Lewis. This is important research that I know many, both in the UK and across borders, will learn from as we all seek to understand this ever-changing climate.
I know I speak for all of us at Blackbaud and JustGiving when I say we're already looking forward to next year!