Triumphant IFC Online marks turning point for Resource Alliance as it successfully pivots to year-round global community model
The Resource Alliance defied the obstacles created by a global pandemic to deliver the biggest, most- ethnically, intellectually, gender and culturally diverse IFC programme ever — fully virtual for 1200 fundraisers and changemakers from 80+ countries from 13 – 16 October 2020.
With the plenary and big conversation speakers reading like a ‘Who’s Who’ of social change accelerators, the IFC Online 2020 programme was designed to challenge and question, while at the same time provide practical advice for a global audience responsible for resourcing social impact.
Author of the award–winning book “This is Not Propaganda” Peter Pomerantsev kicked off the IFC Online programme with a thought-provoking presentation on the rise of misinformation and populism. He challenged NGOs to transform their communications from a narrow theme to being bigger and more holistic. “The other side are thinking very big and we need to be thinking bigger… We need to look at how we communicate facts and foster a factual discourse around our issues,” he said.
In the Big Conversation which followed, Marcus Missen (Director of Fundraising and Communications, WaterAid UK) facilitated a robust and headline grabbing discussion between Dr Danny Sriskandarajah (CEO, Oxfam GB), Clare Farrell (Co-Founder, Extinction Rebellion) and Kumi Naidoo (Global Ambassador, Africans Rising) on the topic “Is our sector facing an existential crisis?”.
On Wednesday, the audience was treated to a first-hand account of how the fundraising team at the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), led by Jayne George, weathered the COVID storm to transform their fundraising during lockdown, by putting their donors front and centre as ‘one of their crew’.
The virtual stage was then given over to a special COVID-response inspired IWITOT (I Wish I’d Thought of That) delivered by SOFII and Open, featuring creative and innovative fundraising campaigns presented by speakers from the Americas, UK, Europe, East Asia, South Africa and Canada.
On Thursday, delegates were challenged — both personally and organisationally —by a ‘riveting’ presentation from Black Lives Matter International Ambassador, Janaya ‘Future’ Khan, who invited the IFC audience of fundraisers and changemakers to “be the disruptors of truth and diviners of change” as they reimagine a society free of racial injustice.
Delegates were then invited into a critical debate on the Big Conversation topic: “Can NGOs and social movements be authentic allies” led by Michael Silberman (Global Director Mobilisation Lab) with Madhuresh Kumar (National Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movements, India); Carys Afoko (Co-founder, Level-Up UK); Masana Ndinga-Kanga (Crisis Response Fund Lead at CIVICUS, South Africa) and Kirsty McNeill (Executive Director for Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children).
The day ended with a celebration of fundraising and change-making excellence and innovation at the Global Fundraising Awards, with finalists representing 13 countries and a cross-section of causes.
IFC culminated on Friday with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, who delivered an inspired session on the theme “Building a Better Tomorrow” — with a call for all to support “creating a world of three zeros: zero net carbon emissions; zero wealth concentration; and zero unemployment”. This was followed by a robust debate in the Big Conversation of how to #ShiftThePower from top-heavy, top down systems of international development towards a flatter and more equitable paradigm of people-based development. The discussion was led by Jenny Hodgson (Executive Director of the Global Fund for Community Philanthropy), with Nana Afadzinu (Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute), Ambika Satkunanathan (Chairperson of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust), Barbara Nöst (CEO of the Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society) and Wolfgang Jamann (Executive Director of the of the International Centre for Civil Society).
IFC Online represents a turning point in the Resource Alliance’s history, which through COVID has transformed itself to a global community model, reinvigorated the IFC and made it accessible to hundreds more through a new equitable membership model.
Through the Global Community, the Resource Alliance will provide year-round, continuous learning and engagement on the most powerful ways to resource social change – not just financial but also human, technical and intellectual.
“Our commitment is to democratize access to information. At the same time to ensure that information is provoking the right questions and challenging people in the right ways to deal with this incredible transformative shift that is underway,” said Bill Toliver, Chair of the Resource Alliance Board of Directors.
In his closing remarks to bring IFC Online 2020 to an end, incoming CEO, Brian Higgins reaffirmed the Resource Alliance’s commitment to lead the social impact community in thought and in action by sharing knowledge and best practice and by bringing people together digitally and in person.
“The Resource Alliance is embracing innovation to provide you with the resources and tools to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be and then beyond that visible horizon into a new future that may not even seem possible now. Innovation is not optional, it is something we must do. It is built on experience, our successes and our mistakes. Driven by the needs of you, our community, Resource Alliance is committed to this innovation journey.”
The full IFC Online programme of recorded video sessions is available through the Global Community for members. To find out more visit www.resource-alliance.org/global-community/