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Oh no! FOMO in slo-mo! – The IFC workshops, part 1

Oh no! FOMO in slo-mo! – The IFC workshops, part 1

“It’s going on right now and I’m missing it!” cries Homer in the cute gif shared by Joe Jenkins, who sadly wasn’t able to attend the International Fundraising Congress (IFC) this year.


Well, it may not be any consolation, Joe, but I felt the feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) even more acutely as an attending delegate at IFC. There’s just so much going on, so many high-quality sessions, you can’t possibly attend them all. Decisions, decisions. Do I go for known quantities, who I know are going to be good, but I can see pretty easily in my own country, or do I take a punt on something new, which may not be appropriate, but could be fantastic? How do I ensure I don’t get overwhelmed by the burden of choice?

In the end, I went for a bit of both. And here’s my first report of some of the many things I learned from their workshops. After the masterclass, my first workshop was a presentation about presenting – meta, man – given by Jen Love and Beate Sørum. This was superb, and not just because the lunch was also good.


I picked up a wide range of tips from the highly accomplished presenting duo, including:

  • Remember that the audience is more important than the presenter
  • Plan your structure, the key 3-7 points you want them to leave with
  • Holding a bottle of water is a good prop, helps when taking a moment to break, and masks your nerves better than a glass of water, particularly if it’s got ice in it! 
  • Plan your entry, your exit, and the highs and lows in between
  • Your slides are not your notebook – cut your text down!

From Michelle Stein and Anna Sheinman, I learned the Y.E.S. approach to major donor fundraising, where Y stands for You (it’s all about you, the donor, not us the organisation), the E stands for Experiences (use all the senses to make those interactions memorable), and the S for Suspense (keeping donors waiting, on the hook; telling case studies in two parts).

I also learned in passing at Michelle and Anna’s workshop, that I’m rubbish at blowing bubbles.


At this point, I should admit that I’m a bit of a superfan of Beate Sørum. So I went to see her again!

This time she was talking about mission statements with the wonderful and wise Kay Sprinkel Grace. Communicating, furthering and delivering mission is basically my reason for working in the charity sector (note my company name!) so this session was right up my alley. From Kay and Beate, I learned that the mission statement needs to communicate WHY we exist as organisations. If
combined with a focus on vision and values, a strong mission statement will engender trust, convey relevance, and portray the urgency of our cause.


And finally, for this blog at least, I took the opportunity of going to see Paul De Gregorio and Jo Wolfe talk about mobile giving, because there’d been quite a buzz about their previous sessions.

“The why’s speed” Paul told a packed room. Text donations are simple, can be done in 9 seconds, and the response is frictionless. It’s also increasingly becoming a channel for monthly giving. Paul knows his mobile giving onions, and it was high-octane stuff. Fascinating indeed to hear his account of being in the stadium, co-ordinating the donation facilities, for the recent Ariana Grande concert after the Manchester bombing.


Following Paul’s expansive globe-trotting section, Jo brought us under her wing with a razor-sharp focus to a case study of Breast Cancer Care’s digital work, sharing her four key lessons in summary: make your work mobile responsive, integrate payment providers like Paypal, use event-specific giving by SMS, and create blog content that people want to share on their mobiles.

So I hope this blog has helped Joe and others with FOMO. There was so much inspiring stuff to take away that even those attending get a fraction of it. Thanks to all my fellow Tweeters and bloggers – together we can capture as much of the whole experience as possible for Joe and others looking on, and also for our fellow attendees.

The new conversation starts here.

Richard Sved has worked and volunteered in the charity sector for over 20 years. Prior to setting up his own company, 3rd Sector Mission Control, he led the fundraising function for two national charities. He is also an NCVO consultant, and was recently interim Head of Fundraising at Epilepsy Society and Education Support Partnership. Richard's key strengths lie in charity strategic planning, income generation and communications. He blogs regularly about the charity sector at

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