Delegates to the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) have discussed how to transform the Guy String Bursary Fund, which pays for fundraisers from the developing world to attend the IFC, into a much larger and better funded operation.
The fund has brought 25 fundraisers from countries as diverse as Peru, Ghana, India and the Ukraine to IFC since its inception in 2002. But fundraising until now has been ad hoc from a closed network of speakers and regular attendees, said Simon Collings, CEO of the Resource Alliance, which stages the IFC.
“We believe the Guy Stringer Fund has huge potential to develop as a means by which fundraisers in Europe and North America help the increasing numbers of fundraisers in the developing world who want to increase their skills and professionalisation.
“We don’t want the Fund just to be about bringing people here to the IFC in Holland. We want the Fund to enable people to access training and education throughout the world.”
The Resource Alliance will be running a series of focus groups and workshops in the new year – chaired by Richard Radcliffe of Smee and Ford – to test various new ideas, which will include several put forward by delegates to this year’s IFC.
Delegates attending the ‘Creative Laboratory’ masterclass – presented by Jon Duschinsky of French agency Resources Non-Profit and Target Direct’s Nick Thomas – were asked to develop their own strategies, which Simon Collings judged in an X-factor style contest.
Proposals devised by four separate groups of delegates included:
- Running a ‘Rising Stars’ campaigning message to focus on the beneficiaries of the Fund and how they will benefit
- Raising project funding to make sessions available through new media to fundraisers in their home countries
- A membership scheme in which members could mentor and/or visit fundraisers and join a members’ discussion forum
- Sponsorship and mentoring of individual fundraisers by major donors and corporates, especially fundraising agencies and suppliers
- Adoption of the Fund by umbrella organisations such as the Institute of Fundraising (UK) or Association of Fundraising Professionals (UK) as part of their CSR programme
- Face-to-face fundraisers at the IFC itself
- Adding an extra amount to the IFC registration fee with an opt-out box for those who don’t wish to contribute
- A major corporate sponsor over a five-year period.
Vanessa Byrne of Australian fundraising agency Pareto, who made one of the four group presentations, says:
“There is an analogy here with the Oxfam message that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you give him a rod he will eat for life. The Guy Stringer Bursary Fund is the equivalent of giving fundraisers from the developing world a fundraising fishing rod.
“Fundraisers are passionate and the Guy Stringer Bursary Fund is a opportunity to share their passion.”
In response to the four presentations, Simon Collings said:
“I am struck by the passion and interest in supporting developing world fundraisers. That’s incredibly encouraging that fundraisers here think this is a motivating proposition.
“We have already been considering several of the ideas made to us by convention delegates, especially the idea of packaging and distributing through the web. Bringing people together for meetings is crucial but we could reach more people if we leveraged new technology.
“We have also talked about a campaign that focuses on the beneficiary; and we will be testing what potential there is to get people involved in mentoring.
“All in all, we have an excellent set of proposals that we can take to our focus groups next year.”
The 26th International Fundraising Congress ran in Holland from the 17-20 October. It was attended by 912 delegates from 344 organisations throughout 55 countries.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Guy Stringer Bursary Fund should contact Nathalie Harvier at the Resource Alliance.
- In fact, the result of these deliberations was the creation of the Fundraisers’ Fund in 2008.
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