Fundraisers should get out of their comfort zones and experiment, conference hears

Tony Elischer, founder of Think Consulting Solutions, tells delegates at the IFC that they should 'be more dog'

Tony Elischer
Tony Elischer

Fundraisers should "get out of their comfort zones" and experiment with new fundraising ideas, delegates at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands were told.

Speaking at the closing plenary session at the conference, Tony Elischer, founder of Think Consulting Solutions, gave an energetic tour of some of the latest trends and developments in marketing and fundraising both from the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Fundraisers were told to "be more dog" – a reference to the O2 TV advert in which a bored cat sets itself free by imitating canine behaviour.

"If your charity still has a five-year strategy, find another one to work for," he told fundraisers. "Organisations are evolving from year plans to three-month plans."

"The world is on speed and you need to be five minutes ahead," he said. "The world has never gone this fast and it will never go this slow again."

He urged the audience to experiment: "Try it small – if there are no results, stop fast."

Change and innovation in the not-for-profit sector has been "so slow", he said and pointed to the fact that charitable giving in the US has been stuck at 2 per cent of GDP for 40 years.

Recent research in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation found 9 per cent of the population accounted for 66 per cent of donations to charity.  

Trends that Elischer highlighted included the use of virtual convenience stores at an underground station in Seoul, South Korea, that let commuters order their groceries by scanning QR codes and getting their goods delivered the same evening. A similar virtual store can be found in Mexico, where a charity has seen the opportunity to include a "scan to donate" poster, Elischer said. 

Kellogs created what it claimed was the first "Tweet Shop" in Soho, London, last summer that lets customers use their tweets as currency and can pay for items by tweeting about them using #tweetshop.

In the charity world, Plan UK has been using facial recognition technology to make bus stops adverts gender-specific, he said.

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