My takeaways from IoF Fundraising Convention 2019 Day 1

Alistair Kelly By Alistair Kelly

It’s that time of year again: the IoF Fundraising convention! It’s an event we at Consider look forward to every year. Once again the first day set a fantastic tone for things to come. To be able to get together with so many members of the charity sector and learn from one another is why we keep coming back! 

While I have pages of notes to take away and digest, here are a few of the things that really stood out on day one:

What a start to the day! Plenary speaker Nicolas Hamilton has Cerebral Palsy, but that hasn’t stopped him from a career as a motor racing driver. He’s an amazing inspirational and motivational speaker as well! Kicking off the day with a lesson about being proud and confident in yourself to enable you to speak and fundraise was just the thing we all needed at the start of the day. Key learnings:

1. Storytelling

Storytelling, storytelling, storytelling. You’d think that talking about the importance of storytelling would be preaching the choir these days, but there is still so much to learn to tell people’s stories in the best way possible. Esther Kwaku (The Nerve Network), Matthew Sherrington (Inspiring Action Consultancy) and Lucy Gower (Lucidity) made us all think by reminding us that as children we all told stories, but we start to lose that skill as the years go by. We need to re-learn it as adults. 

They also highlighted how important it is to put beneficiaries at the centre of your storytelling, and don’t be afraid to go off script - you never know what you might learn when you lean into a person’s story. 

The impact of storytelling was also felt at the talk by Wateraid, which gave an update on their latest #untapped multi channel campaign. With £8.9 million (most ever) generated, it was huge to hear that 75% of the campaign did not have a financial ask: it was all about storytelling.

2. Cultural differences around legacy

An afternoon panel legacy and in-memory fundraising in multicultural Britain reminded us all that our audiences will have differing beliefs around legacy giving. Legacy Foresight presented their new research on beliefs and behaviours around death and remembrance in modern Britain, including British Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh communities. We learnt that although the underlying motions for legacy giving are universal, the way they manifest themselves can be very different. For instance, in-memory giving isn’t a prescribed custom in Islam, but funerals do often include charity donations for the mosque in line with the current mosque appeal. 

By putting people at the heart of our legacy strategies, we can help promote the universal feelings around legacy whilst being mindful of the nuances.

3. Audience first

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ - strategy isn’t going anywhere unless you have the people on board to make it happen. How do you do that? Put the audience first - not the channel, not the product. 

Top tips for an audience first approach:
1. Give it a go
2. Think about framework
3. Show people what it means
4. Work in partnership with product owners - You need to collaborate, you can’t do it without help
5. You and your colleagues are not necessarily your target audience.


It’s been hard to make a day full of so many interesting talks sound brief, but I tried my best! And day 2 is sure to bring even more.

Alistair Kelly

Alistair Kelly

Co-founder & Executive Creative Director

Alistair is one of our co-founders. He has more than two decades of heavyweight agency experience behind him and is a fountain of ideas and creativity, particularly around print and fundraising. Alistair brings the clarity to our creative thinking and you can read his latest insights on our blog.