Key take-out’s from Sofii’s IWITOT 2014



Yesterday was my first experience of Sofii’s IWITOT event and as a new Account Manager at Pell & Bales it was a great introduction to the sector and an insight into the minds of some of the key players in the fundraising industry.

I spent the afternoon listening to some genuinely inspirational talks and supported a fellow Pell & Bales fundraiser Jess Borham doing her talk on National Asthma UK’s Straw Mailing Pack (sounds too simple to have any impact but it was really effective!).

You’ll be hearing from Jess soon but for now, here are my take out’s from the day..

  • While supporters are being generated through ‘new’ channels like social media and SMS, it’s slowly dawning on charities that they still need traditional channels to engage & connect to these supporters and if anything the telephone will become more important
  • Speed is everything. Charities are beginning to realise they need to be on top of social media channels in order to capitalise on things like #nomakeupselfie or the #icebucket challenge. As a telephone fundraising agency – this breeds opportunities for us to be more flexible and agile in our strategy and campaign planning – pulling together campaigns within a few days of a social media meme taking off!
  • Making it personal. The most striking campaigns covered were #FindMike presented by Fiona Lishman Head of Client Development at On Agency (which eventually won on the day) & ‘Cathy Come Home’ presented by Chris Barraclough Creative Director at Orchestra (not strictly a campaign but led to such a public outcry it changed an entire generation’s view of homelessness & poverty). The best campaigns were far away from Branding & PR Marketing. When you have the Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising from UNICEF imploring the room that we need “Fundraisers with Balls” you realise it’s up to us as individuals to be brave and take risks.
  • Despite all the excitement about, perhaps, striking it lucky with a campaign like the # icebucket challenge, insight was a recurrent theme. CRUK’s Dryathlon was probably the best example of this and was presented at the event by Sinead Chapman, Strategy Director at Open Fundraising. CRUK set out to recruit more men between 25 & 45 yrs old and created a campaign specifically to appeal to this demographic; low commitment, facilitate banter, etc. The huge success of this campaign was underpinned by insight gleaned from research & willingness to explore this ‘new’ demographic. In the same vein, we need to continue to mine as much learning from our SMS & social media campaigns as possible, because while traditional demographics don’t appear to tie these disparate supporters together, there are clearly psycho graphic patterns which can unlock key learning for us.