The “Other” IFC: International Fundraising Congress 2014

Closeup-lines-and-iconsThis week sees the annual International Fundraising Congress (the other IFC) take place in the Netherlands. Bringing together fundraisers from around the world, the event provides a plethora or learning and networking opportunities. IFC’s UK Director, Bill King gives a quick run down of things so far…

After a very early start, arrived at Schiphol Airport on Tuesday morning tired and just a bit irritable. Was soon cheered up by the nice volunteers distributing chocolate and directing everyone to the conference centre.

Note to self: next time pay more attention to the guide, as the NH Conference Centre in Leeuwenhorst – home of the International Fundraising Congress 2014 – is vast, I quickly got lost.

As a total newbie to IFC (the other one that is), I was glad of the special welcome reception to get to know other newbies. Again, note to self: don’t complain of tiredness from one-hour flight. Other attendees had come from as far as South Africa, Canada and South America. It was however, great to meet them all.

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning were devoted to master classes, and I was lucky to be in one run by the respected fundraising guru and trainer Stephen Pidgeon, along with Anita Yeun, who runs the Global Digital fundraising strategy for UNICEF. Over the course of the next seven hours (split, thankfully over two days) we discussed best methods for recruiting and retaining donors, using both online and offline channels, taking in examples from around the world. It was genuinely fascinating.

IFC2014After a drinks reception and dinner – and some time in the bar (networking, or course) it was to bed and onto today, when – after the second half of the master class – we had the opening plenary of the conference proper. This was followed by the first full sessions, hearing from speakers from around the world, including Damian O’Brion (correct spelling) from Ireland, Rory Green from Canada, Beth Kanter from the US and Marcelo Iniarra from Argentina. I can truly say that I have never been to any meeting or conference, which can match the sheer breadth of expertise and knowledge on offer here.

So far it’s been a packed and informative two days. And now I’m off now to the Global Fundraising awards. More later!



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