Reflections on I wish I’d thought of that 2014

Earlier this week I attended SOFII’s 2014 ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ to see twenty well-known figures from the third sector present an idea they feel changed the face of fundraising.

The afternoon began with a brilliantly delivered anecdote, addressing the ever appropriate question I’m sure all fundraisers have been asked before: why is it that this sector is so willing and excited to share ideas with each other? In short, apparently we’re the good guys and with that reasoning I was excited for an afternoon of inspiration.

With campaigns like the ice bucket challenge perhaps predictably a hot topic there were varying ideas on how the data of those who donated should be used. Catherine Cottrell spoke of how integral the follow up of the no make-up selfie was to her admiration of the campaign – Cancer Research didn’t just jump straight on those who text to donate with a conversion call, they thanked and nurtured the donors and connected them with the cause; using their initial and presumably preferred and comfortable medium of text.

Some talks shared some interesting and more historic fundraising ideas. From the podium for the statue of liberty as one of the first examples of crowd funding to the UK Red Cross 1939 penny a week as an example of a regular giving appeal. These talks reminded us that most ideas have be done before and that a successful fundraising campaign doesn’t have to be original to succeed; we can learn from past and present fundraisers alike.

Another running theme of the afternoon was the importance and impact of connecting people with the cause. The campaigns most people admired had some unique element connecting donors to beneficiaries and the innovation of these campaigns reminded us not only to be bold in our ideas but to put ourselves in the shoes of the donor. As Rob Woods exclaimed in his memorable chant remember – ‘I am not the target audience’.

Great ideas delivered by some inspiring speakers ensured I left full of ideas – a fantastic and thought provoking afternoon.

Georgina Turner –