Celebrating the European Fundraising Association’s fifteenth anniversary, 27 national fundraising experts met in Berlin on 23-24 November 2017, exchanging best practice on fundraising in the digital age. 


Skillshare is EFA’s annual event for national fundraising associations across Europe to share ideas and learn from one another.


Gosse Bosma, EFA president and director of Goede Doelen Nederland, says: “For fifteen years we have been sharing fundraising ideas with our peers in Europe and beyond, helping each other learn and develop. With a focus on strengthening and developing the fundraising profession, it’s been fantastic to see the industry really progress in recent years. We’re particularly proud that there are now almost 5,000 EFA Certified fundraisers working in 14 European countries.”


EFA launched its Certification scheme in the year 2007, providing a framework for the development of national certified fundraising qualifications. Finland is the latest nation to launch an EFA Certified training programme in 2017, with 21 Finns already having qualified from the course.


Other highlights from the event included a keynote address from Friedemann Walther, head of civil society engagement and democracy advancement with the Senate Chancellery in Berlin (pictured above left, centre of the group), inspirational sessions about fundraising in a digital world from three of Europe’s leading digital experts and an informative presentation on adapting to general data protection regulation by Dutch data privacy consultant, Jitty van Doodewaerd.


Speaking about new opportunities in digital, Paul de Gregorio, director of digital engagement at Open, said: “Post an almost industrialised era of fundraising – in the UK at least – there now needs to be a real focus on community and content. I know that it sounds like a cliché, but we have to be using digital technology to build that same sense of community.”


With the usage of messaging platforms overtaking traditional social networking apps, de Gregorio highlighted the potential of messaging platforms for fundraising and cited the importance of understanding next generation payments.


Björn Lampe, on the board of betterplace.org, agreed: “Messaging apps will be so much more important than charity websites in the future. We need to look at technology and work out how we can use it to boost the things that we do every day.”


He cited examples of charities using bots, virtual reality, contactless payments and podcasts to share stories of how charities are changing people’s lives. He also spoke about how technology can be used to build transparency and shift the balance of power into the hands of the public.


“Charitable giving is built on trust. If we look to the US, donors are leaving reviews and rating nonprofits based on their experience. Effectively, those charities are giving the power back to donors, asking what they think and publishing that review online.”


Meanwhile Joachim Sina, head of fundraising at the GRÜN Group, emphasised the importance of using big data and working together across the sector: “It’s big data and collaboration that will put charities back in the game. We need to use technology to engage and really get to know donors, innovating at every level. We have to think about how we can use blockchain technology and why not even launch our own European fundraising platform?”

 Jitty van Doodewaerd

With GDPR coming into force in May 2018, data privacy expert, Jitty van Doodewaerd (pictured left), privacy consultant at DMCC Nederland was quick to reassure delegates, saying: “you do not need to fear GPDR, but you do need to act.”


During her presentation, she underlined the practicalities involved in getting ready for the new data protection requirements. “You need to know what data you collect, how it is documented and who is responsible. You also need to be transparent about how you are using that data and think about when you will delete it.”


The event also featured a preview of EFA's report, Fundraising in Europe 2017.




Read more:

For guidance about how to mobilise support through digital, see Paul de Gregorio's blog here

For further data protection guidance, see Jitty van Doodewaerd's recent blog here.