Peer-to-peer learning is by no means unique to the voluntary sector, but it’s often one of the things charities and commercial partners do best. Sue Kershaw, development director of SOFII (the Showcase of Fundraising Inspiration and Innovation), talks about some of the most inspirational campaigns to have been showcased at the recent I Wish I’d Thought of That event.


Brilliance is for sharing and we all love to be inspired. Our willingness to share what we do best and our mistakes is one of the things that makes our sector so special and can make all the difference in enabling charities to develop and really change the world.


This year’s I Wish I’d Thought Of That (or #IWITOT as it’s known by the cool kids) was trending on Twitter in London on Wednesday 30th November and that’s no mean feat.


Why was there such a buzz? It’s all about sharing some of the best and most inspirational campaigns so that we can learn from one another. The concept is that presenters don’t talk about their own work, but instead focus on the fundraising of others. Cynicism is left at the door along with egos and we can all share our passion for the sector.


So, what were the common themes that emerged from last month’s event. The first was about using innovative technology to enable existing behaviour such as Blue Cross and their use of trained dogs wearing jackets with contactless payment devices sewn in (Tap Dogs); digitising point-of-sale collection tin as with Pennies; and the use of virtual reality and immersive experiences by WWF UK with Thumbs Up For Tigers.


Another common theme was putting your donors and beneficiaries at the heart of your communications – sometimes the same individuals can be both – and not letting your organisation’s brand obscure the message. This was true of heart-breaking campaigns like Emmy & Jake’s Tandemonium for the Royal Marsden and Tommy’s #misCOURAGE.


A chilly social experiment from SOS Children’s Villages Norway, raising money and clothing for Syrian children, centred on people’s responses to a shivering boy at a bus stop in Oslo, helping them connect with the cause.


And who could fail to fall in love with Jean Bishop ‘the Bee Lady’ who’s raised over £100k for Age UK? Audition winner Alfie Waldron of Open won the IWITOT audience vote for best fundraising idea by sharing Jean’s story.


Other examples of charities giving their donors the opportunity to tell their own story and exploit the power of social media included Knickers Model’s Own for Cancer Research (a daughter’s personal challenge in honour of her mother) and the Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund that leveraged the plight of a fictional BBC Radio 4 character to raise money for the charity Refuge.


There were so many other amazing campaigns featured that will continue to inspire fundraisers across the world for years to come.


At the end of the day, it is because fundraisers are willing to share their successes and failures so openly, that the sector can grow and develop, nurturing innovation and changing the world. So please share your brilliance too.!In this way, we can improve our practices everywhere for the benefit of fundraisers, donors and the organisations and causes they all serve.



About Sue Kershaw
As development director of SOFII and a fundraiser herself, Sue is passionate about helping fundraisers share what they collectively know, learning from one another. SOFII is a free service run by fundraisers for fundraisers, which is all about spreading great fundraising ideas and encouraging young, fresh, untested talent. SOFII has delivered seven IWITOT events, also helping fundraising associations run their own versions in Ireland, Sweden, France and Australia. Find out more and share the best of your work at