Innovation comes under fire in IFC session

'Doing what is new and sexy' doesn't always work, say International Fundraising Congress delegates

Fundraisers should not spend time and money on new ideas unless they are confident they will raise more money, according to delegates at this year's International Fundraising Congress in Holland.

At a session called Let's Go Back to Basics! Innovation Sucks and Doesn't Work... Or Does It?, attendees were asked to share their thoughts on the usefulness of innovation.

Richard Verden, head of individual giving at the British Red Cross, said: "Fundraising techniques don't die as quickly as some people think they do.

"There should be evolution, and of course charities shouldn't rest on their laurels, but there is no point in innovating for the sake of it. Charities should ask themselves whether they have the resources and capacity to be innovators, and consider whether they should be quick adaptors to change instead."

Jan Kroupa, a senior consultant at the Czech Fundraising Centre, said: "The word ‘innovation' is everywhere. But it is more effective for charities to make sure they are getting the basics right before trying out new things."

Other fundraisers, who asked not to be named, expressed concerns about what one called "innovation for innovation's sake" and another decried as  "doing what is new and sexy" rather than concentrating on tried-and-tested techniques.

Another delegate said innovation was "a word that is thrown around by charities to make themselves look good". 

 

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