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Learning to be better fundraisers #begoodbesocial (via @MNDScotland)

What with the Cornflower Ball and all its attendant busyness, I didn’t get a chance to talk about the Institute of Fundraising Scotland conference, or Be Good Be Social. Next week (probably) I’m going to talk about the film that we used at the Ball, about how it came to be and how we’re going to use it in the future.

This week though, I want to take a little bit of time to talk about these two events that the Fundraising department have been to recently… It’s easy to get cynical about conferences and the like but I’ve come away from both of these events having gained some insight and feeling positive about the sector.

So…. the IoF Scotland conference. A chance to get together with other folk in the sector and hear about what everyone’s doing, and with sessions from other charities & fundraising professionals so there’s no shortage of thought-food. Last year the conference was a 2-day event, but with training budgets being what they are at the moment, and the feeling being that it was difficult to justify 2 days away from the coalface under such circumstances, this was reduced to a fairly packed single day. A few comments were made about not having the same opportunity to discuss the sessions and meet other fundraisers because of this, but I can understand why it was done.

The Institute of Fundraising ( is “… the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Its mission is to support fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards-setting and education, and it champions and promotes fundraising as a career choice.” Amongst other things, they run conferences & training sessions, publish codes of conduct, and looks to represent fundraisers.

Highlights of the day for me included the session from Natalie Morris from Maggie’s on developing community fundraising in a growing charity – like us, a significant proportion of their income comes from community fundraising events, so it was interesting to see what another organisation does.  From my notes, I have scrawled and starred and underlined the words “Empowerment of the Volunteer – give tools to get started”.  This rang true not only because it’s a similar approach to the one we employ, but also because it’s a useful attitude to transfer to social media – let those who wish to advocate for you do so, give them the best information you can, and be prepared to let go a little.


The closing plenary by Alan Clayton, entitled “The Inspiration Show” found me somewhat cynical to begin with but I have to admit that he won me over by the end.  I have two particularly starred & underlined notes from this session – “inspiration is emotional resonance”, and concerning rapport with donors “understand what makes them anxious/euphoric – get into same ‘places’ as your donors” – next to which I’ve written “Case for Social Media!” because to understand what makes your donors tick, it might be a plan to speak to them, eh?

Clearly there was a theme in my notes… and probably because of what I was doing the next day – off to Edinburgh to The Melting Pot, and the inaugural Be Good Be Social event. 

(photo from

To explain:  Be Good Be Social (search for #begoodbesocial on twitter, or go to is Scotland’s first social media third sector meetup.  Or Tweetup, to be more precise.  The brainchild of Ross McCulloch of, the event aims/ed to bring together people in the third sector in Scotland who are interested or involved in using social media for social good. 

Along with representatives from a range of organisations, from Quarriers to OneKind to Oxfam, I was involved as part of the sounding board for the event, but make no mistake, this was most definitely Ross’ baby, and huge thanks should go to him for what he achieved.  Sessions came from OneKind, Oxfam, Steve Bridger & Snook/Mypolice, circling around what social media can achieve for the third sector, from using viral video to launch a campaign, to creating a network of “citizen journalists”. 

The packed event was live-streamed and live-tweeted, with conversations going on on twitter during the event itself between both attendees and people watching from afar.  Photos from the event are here: and there’s a few other blog posts kicking about that go into a lot more detail… like this one from Ross:  and this one from @tumshie

It was tremendous to be in a room full of people so positive not only about social media but also about the sector in general, enthusiastic about the future and who have with the drive and the energy to achieve Good Things Indeed.  Looking forward to the next one!

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