Fundraisers from across Europe gathered in Dublin in November, to exchange insights and views on how to amplify impact both as a sector and as individual organisations, and to celebrate EFA’s 20th anniversary.
Hosted by Charities Institute Ireland, EFA’s two-day Skillshare kicked off with its annual general assembly. During the AGA, EFA welcomed Paul Laird from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Fundraising to the board, saying farewell to Ceri Edwards, who stepped down on completion of his second term.
The EFA Skillshare European Tour followed, with updates on the situation for nonprofits and fundraisers in their countries from representatives of Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK.
Scott Kelley, chief operating officer of Charities Institute Ireland and EFA treasurer commented:
“It was a real honour to welcome fundraisers from across Europe to Dublin for our first in-person Skillshare since before the pandemic. Being in a room with peers hailing from Italy to Lithuania to exchange news and views is an unbeatable experience that is both inspiring and informative.”
Delegates were then treated to time to socialise and a walking tour of Dublin before a celebratory dinner marking EFA’s two decades.
Exploring the theme
Day two saw delegates gather for a full day of insightful and interactive sessions on the Skillshare theme of amplifying impact. The day also included an update on the forthcoming Nonprofit Pulse with Salesforce.org – to be released in January, and the official launch of the EFA Advanced Competence Framework.
Starting with the situation in Ireland, in her session public affairs consultant Kathleen O’Meara spoke on the precarity of the relationship between its voluntary sector and the state – for which the sector delivers many vital services. With the country’s political opposition (and potentially its next government) believing that if the state funds a service it should own it, she examined what the future might hold for the sector and whether its relationship with the state can be fixed.
Improving key processes
Sharing learnings from Philanthropy Ireland’s own impact mapping journey, Éilis Murray said that part of the challenge in being able to amplify impact was knowing what to measure. Highlighting that there is no one size fits all approach, she discussed how impact should be at the heart of organisational plans, strategy and decisions, and governed by the philanthropic objective or purpose.
Adding to the discussion, Sharon Edge, CEO of Ireland’s The Purpose Edge, spoke on how nonprofits also need to embed a culture of sustainability and demonstrate this if they are to amplify their impact effectively. This, she said was the first step to developing impactful partnerships, attracting and retaining talent, powering innovation, and deepening engagement. She also explained how sharing compelling sustainability messages through charity CEOs, frontline workers, and beneficiary voices, helps to amplify that impact, and inspire supporters.
In his session, EFA’s Brussels correspondent Patrick Gibbels took the discussion to an EU level. With a number of EU files impacting the sector, from the ongoing action plan on anti-money laundering to the proposal for a regulation on privacy and electronic communication to replace the current Directive, he examined the European Commission’s influence on national legislation and the need for EU associations to lobby on both a national and EU level.
For this and more, fundraising coalitions are key, said the Czech Coalition for Easy Giving’s Jan Gregor in his session. Sharing their experiences, Gregor talked about how to build not just a one-off group of NGOs for a single occasion but a group that can work together long-term to achieve ongoing collective impact, with tips on how to achieve this.
Speaking on the event, Charlotte Rydh, EFA president commented:
“It makes such a difference to be able to network and share in person. Getting the broader picture of fundraising and philanthropy from across Europe is incredibly valuable for the work we all do in our own organisations and associations, as well as for EFA in helping to direct our work.
“We are very grateful to all of our speakers for presenting such informative and engaging sessions, to everyone who attended, and of course to Ceri Edwards for all his work over the years as board member and vice president. And last but not least, it was wonderful to welcome Paul Laird to the EFA board, where he takes on the responsibility for communications.”
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