Our Meet Team IFC series is an opportunity to find out a bit more about the dynamic leaders behind IFC. This month we meet Francesca Mineo, IFC Italy’s director, based in Milan, who offers a wide range of fundraising, communications and management support to the not-for-profit sector.
Tell us about your career in a snapshot
I come from a journalism and PR background, then I brushed up on my education first at BBC, then at the Institute of Fundraising in London, where I regularly go to improve my fundraising and communication skills.
I achieved the Certificate in Fundraising (MInstFCert) and I am member of ASSIF (Italian association of Fundraisers). Since 2000, I have been involved in non-profit organisations, first as a media, publishing & PR manager, then on to a team of fundraisers, working to promote partnerships between profit and non-profit organisations through fundraising campaigns. This led me to work as a consultant for the non-profit sector, setting up IFC Italy back in March 2010.
What led you down this path?
When I was working as a journalist I had the opportunity to cover news and events from the third sector, getting involved in so many different and interesting stories about people fighting for their ideas and dreams, working on concrete projects, in Italy and abroad. This passion and enthusiasm led me deep into the non-profit world: I met men and women volunteering for patients associations or working in emergency hospitals abroad, developing children’s education or fighting for human rights.
Whether happy or sad, all of these challenging stories fascinated me; covering them for newspapers or magazines I worked for, I realised that I wanted to help these organisations in raising people’s awareness on such important issues.
It is John Baguley’s fault! Of course I am joking, but I met him in London, during a First Friday in 2009, while I was specialising at the Institute of Fundraising. What I liked in the first place was the friendly approach, together with high levels of professionism and specialisation. At that time I just moved to consultancy – I was a ‘young’ freelance consultant after about 10 years of work for NGOs – so I realised that I was seated in front of…a Master! A few months later I proposed to John Baguley…that we should open an IFC branch in Milan: after a feasibility study and many talks and meetings we launched IFC Italy.
Tell us about a fundraising success?
While consulting for a small charity, dedicated to people with mental health illnesses, I proposed a new fundraising activity involving the patients themselves. Patients and staff created hand-made puppets, which were then launched as new merchandise. It was a great success in terms of money raised and people and volunteer engagement.
What do you see as the biggest fundraising challenge facing charities?
I think that there is a sort of ‘evergreen’ in fundraising challenges, still important to keep in mind every day: cultivating your current and potential donors, and keeping alive good relations with all your stakeholders are an everyday challenge, regardless of the fundraising technique you are applying.
Where would you like to see charitable fundraising be in the next 5 years?
Online and mobile fundraising are for sure a future, but a lot of non-profits are afraid to try it, and prefer the comfort zone or work without any strategy and planning. I hope that trend will change.
You’re voted in as the next Prime Minister, what’s the first thing you do?
Since the Italian third sector has been waiting for too long for a new reform, I would put this issue in my agenda as a priority! Please consider the huge amount of non profits operating in Italy – more then 300k – and the number of persons related to them – 4.7 million volunteers, 681,000 employees, 270,000 freelancers and about 5000 temporary workers (Istat data, 2013) : Italy is a country where the third sector deserves more consideration.
Tell us a fun and interesting fact about yourself
Uh…my funny life starts at 6.30 a.m, as lots of mothers do, then ends up at about midnight. Interesting to find a way to fit all in!
And finally…new IFC Italy launch
Together with a new associate, IFC Italy is launching Challenge4U, a consultancy project for both corporates and non-profits, focused on challenges as a way to reach your fundraising goals. The secret is : fun and fundraising, for a win-win effect. Everyone can be a personal fundraiser, IFC Italy appears as a coach: no matter if you choose a sporting event or a funny challenge to help a good cause or an organisation.
Our value lies in the expertise of IFC Italy and international network , as well as direct experience of personal fundraisers involved in the initiative. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org