bbcon 2020: The importance of collaboration

Last week, bbcon 2020 virtual brought over 30,000 attendees from across the global social good community together for three days of insights, learnings and remote networking. Despite the session topics ranging from Lessons from a World Record Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser, Focus and Future: Insights on How to Build Back Better and even Key Steps to Event Curation Success, there was a common emphasis from several of the speakers: collaboration is now more important than ever.  

We’ve rounded up some of the best pieces of advice explaining how, and why, working with others, including those outside of your organisation, makes all the difference when creating successful campaigns, events and outputs during the pandemic.  


“There's so much that I wanted to showcase, I needed help and I wasn't afraid to ask for it.” 

Martha Awojobi, JMB Consulting, on curating speakers for the UK’s first ever BAME fundraising conference 

I had to have a real look and map out the identities within my speakers and I realised that there were no trans voices. There were no non-binary voices and there were no East Asian people. So, I created sessions and I created space for those voices to be heard because surely trans and non-binary people are an essential part of the voluntary sector. Why would they be forgotten about? I crafted the space for them, and I asked my friends, and I asked the networks. I asked other speakers to specifically recommend East Asian speakers, and to specifically recommend trans and non-binary speakers. No surprises that the sessions that I created in order to platform these voices were amazing. 


“People want to like feel like they're connected” 

Nikki Bell, Fundraising Everywhere, speaking with Simon Scriver on what they’ve learnt from hosting over 100 virtual events 

One thing that we've noticed when people come to us to organise a virtual event, they're excited to do one. They know that they have to do one because physical events aren't happening, but they don't have a plan. They don't know why they want to do it. They don't know who they're actually going to market this to. In some cases, they don't even know who's going to speak on it. They just know that they want to do an event.  

So top tip, as simple as it sounds, is to actually make a plan. Who is this event for? When do you plan to host this event? And this includes, much like any other fundraising events that you'll be putting on, a marketing plan. Because having an event is great, but if people don't know about it, you're not going to have anybody come into your event. We recommend to people to get your communications team involved. If you have peer to peer fundraisers, then definitely speak with them. And especially your corporate team, because they will have networks. They will have people to come to your events and you can all work together in order to create this plan and give yourself plenty of time. 


“How do you keep your supporters at the heart of everything you do?” 

Laura Sutton, Pancreatic Cancer UK, discussing how charities can build back better with Julie Moore 

We always go back to our personas and think “what would Beverly (one of our personas) think?” Put yourself in your support’s shoes and don’t just send out emails for each team's own good. What would the supporter want? What would they engage with? And revisit it, don't think I've done my supporter journey, so I'm done now. It’s also really important to work collaboratively. For us it wasn’t just fundraising, but also comms, services – it's everyone so you have one voice as a charity. 


“How can we best amplify this campaign and help them raise more money?” 

Sally Falvey, Blackbaud Europe, shares the tips learned from supporting Captain Tom’s fundraising campaign

When we see these stories, we just all start to get a feeling that these things are going to happen and take off. And I quite often get asked by non-profits, ‘do you have a blueprint for this kind of thing?’ And there are some things that we've learned that can help.  

It's about having a cross functional team. This only works if everyone pulls together, so tech, product, analytics, marketing, we all stay on point, we stay connected and we create a dedicated comms channel to get away from the BAU of emails. It's all coming through one priority comms channel so we can communicate quickly with each other.  

The other recommendation is to have senior leadership involved from the start, so that if things need to move quickly and you need decisions made, have them there so you can move fast. One of the most important things is reaching out quickly to offer moral support. 

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bbcon 2020: Four tips for curating an inclusive event
bbcon 2020: Four tips for curating an inclusive event

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