With Covid-19 prompting fundraising associations across Europe to launch online initiatives to support their members, Swissfundraising and Charities Institute Ireland have both been running weekly virtual meetings for fundraisers.
Swissfundraising launched talkingtuesday, its first virtual meeting programme for fundraisers, in response to the crisis: For almost two months, it has hosted a one-hour virtual meeting every Tuesday on a different topic, with every attendee encouraged to take part. Participant numbers have ranged from 20 to 70, depending on the topic, and the meetings take place in German, with French also offered.
Topics covered so far have included: the impact of the Coronavirus on fundraising plans for 2020, face-2-face fundraising after Covid-19, and philanthropy and the coronavirus in Switzerland.
As the country moves out of lockdown, the frequency of these meetings is now changing to every second Tuesday.
Swissfundraising’s Roger Tinner said:
“While we usually organise regional face-2-face experience exchange meetings, these of course aren’t possible in the current situation but more so than ever there is a very strong need both for support and for the opportunity for fundraisers to come together to share experiences and learn from each other. This is the first time we’ve offered this kind of event online and feedback has so far been very positive.”
In Ireland, Charities Institute Ireland is supporting heads of fundraising with weekly online meetings called ‘Huddles’. In response to the crisis, Cii’s director of communications & membership services, Mark Hughes, brought Cii’s existing Heads of Fundraising Network online and increased the frequency of meetings from three times a year to once a week.
The network meetings have averaged 50 participants a week, with nine hour-long sessions held to date on a wide range of topics including transitioning to digital events and campaigns, re-purposing your fundraising strategy, and transitioning from a senior fundraising role to CEO. The sessions provide expert speakers as well as a forum for attendees to share both their knowledge and concerns, and the opportunity to hear good news stories of successful campaigns.
“As much of fundraising has been turned on its head, fundraisers have been expected to pivot rapidly to lockdown-friendly income streams, and naturally much of this responsibility has fallen to heads of fundraising. We have always believed in the value of our forum networks for providing a space for members to get together, share knowledge and problem solve, and when the current crisis hit we knew that this was more important than ever.”
“As we move further towards the easing of restrictions, the Huddles too may wind down and decrease their frequency. We still fully believe in the value of in-person networking. However, for now Cii will continue to provide a platform for our members where it’s needed.”