When I started the International Fundraising Consultancy (IFC) in 2000, my aim was always highly ambitious: I wanted to transform the world, which is why I had worked for Oxfam for many years and headed up fundraising at Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International and Freedom from Torture. Though it was deeply satisfying to see these organisations increase their income year after year, I had my sights on something on a global scale. And though it took a few years, IFC now covers the world, and I believe that has been far more effective than if I had stayed at one organisation.
At the IoF annual Fundraising Convention there was a lot of talk about the emotional power that charities can generate when they clearly articulate why they do what they do – not just what or how they do it. This idea has been recently championed by Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” and his engaging TED talk. He argues that many of the best loved companies, say, Apple, Tom’s shoes and Innocent drinks, as well as great leaders like Martin Luther King, achieved their success by showing why they do what they do; and their passion for this inspired their customers or followers to a far greater degree than people who concentrated on what or how they operate.
Here at IFC we didn’t have to look very far for why we are international fundraising consultants. My colleague Bill King put it very well when he wrote that:
“We believe in the ability of the voluntary sector to effect real change in society, at a local, national and global level. That’s why we do what we do.
“That’s why we offer free services like First Fridays and the Wikifund website, alongside our professional consultancy services. And it’s why we will never work with an organisation whose aims we cannot wholeheartedly endorse.”
Our professional expertise is fundraising, and this gives us the privilege of making real change in the world by enabling our clients to scale up their programmes and deliver a far better service.
Bill talks about IFC’s three core beliefs:
- A better, fairer world is possible;
- The passion, expertise, dedication and innovation within the voluntary sector can bring genuine social change;
- Any charity, whatever the size, can benefit from world-class fundraising advice and support.
We are fortunate that our professional ability serves our passion to effect real change and not just with one organisation but dozens and dozens in over 60 countries.
Today IFC has offices in 10 countries and is expanding faster than ever, as our clients share our vision and appreciate our passion. We put our time and effort back into our free services like First Fridays in London, Milan, Amsterdam and Ottawa. We are building Wikifund, which had over 50,000 hits when it was barely off the drawing board, and we have recently developed our Top Table breakfast meetings for the key fundraising directors in the UK.
That is our why (and a bit of our what) – so, what is your why?
John Baguley, CEO IFC