Friday, 8 June 2012

I wish I’d thought of that

I wish I’d thought of that (or as the cool kids of twitter call it: #iwitot), was a fundraising conference in which the movers and shakers of the fundraising world discussed the best fundraising idea they wish they’d thought of. 

Simple, great, easy – I’ll be honest – I wish I’d thought of it. 

Each speaker had 5 minutes each to talk about something they had seen in fundraising, explain it and review it. Some of it was really inspiring (e.g. the Great Ormond Street Hospital pack), some of it was fun (e.g. Movember and the stick on moustaches) some of it thought provoking (Amnesty, MND) some of it was brilliantly presented (Imogen Ward and Adopt-a-Word), and some of it less so (but as if charity chicks would be that cruel).

I was also really pleased to see Liz Tait giving street fundraisers the praise they deserve – as many of us in fundraising know but don’t say, they really are heroes in our sector. 

I was less pleased to see ‘Barbie, it’s over’. Not because I was happy for Mattel to destroy the rainforest, but because it wasn’t fundraising. It was a great, exciting, innovative campaign for policy change. And hugely success at policy change it was. 

But this was supposed to be about fundraising and I saw no fundraising ask when the campaign was live and no fundraising results in the presentation. 

Rather cleverly at the end, we were asked to vote for which idea we had liked best. I say rather cleverly, because we voted by text and this means SOFII has our phone numbers now. And as all good fundraisers do as soon as they see a phone number, they plan to phone it and ask everyone for a direct debit.  

I like SOFII. I think it does a really important function. I think it is good to pat ourselves on the back sometimes and good to share ideas. If they ring, I will probably give a direct debit. 

I do however (for what it is worth) have some feedback on the event. In no particular order:

  • Would have loved a cup of tea on arrival (will perhaps restrict my donation to tea and coffee supplies)
  • They were quite heavy on the agency speakers. Now, I am not going to knock agencies but I do sometimes wonder why so many of them speak at fundraising conferences. Fundraisers are not known for their shyness and it would have been nicer to see 'less agency, more charity' up there. As a sector we need to get our own voice out there more and put ourselves forward for these kind of events
  •  It would have been good to have seen more actual results. As we all know, just because something looks great, doesn’t mean it works. I would love to know if anyone was sat there quietly squirming as their total fundraising flop was hailed as the next big thing
  • It felt very Individual Giving focused. Has no one done a major donor appeal, corporate partnership or big event that some wished they had thought of? 
  • They should probably get a new doopher (sorry – little in joke for anyone there)

These aside, I think it was a great success and I really enjoyed it. Lots to take away and think about. And was really pleased to see it was only £25 or £50 (depending on size of organisation and membership to SOFII). Too many conferences are out of reach of charities on small budgets so it was good to see that this was was affordable to everyone. 

One of the big themes that kept occurring was to ‘tell your need truthfully.’ And seeing all these great fundraising ideas up on stage you really could see that. 

The ones that worked the best were all from the heart. And nobody should be saying ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ as every bit of fundraising you do you should have thought of that! 


  1. Thanks for this great feedback and your constructive criticism is duly noted. To help SOFII take things forward we now need your involvement. If you and your fundraising colleagues use SOFII then join our subscription scheme for non-profit organisations. SOFII is yours, join us here
    With thanks from The SOFII Team.

  2. Thanks for your comment! The organisation that the author works for is already subscribed - they already think SOFII is great :-)