Fundraisers, Get Out There and Try ‘Something Different’
You may have read before that I grew up in Holland. I didn’t move here till I was 32. I became an American citizen when I was 47.
In Holland, nobody had heard of “Saturday Night Live.” Instead, we grew up learning British English (not until high school, mind you) and watching British comedies.
One of the favorite shows was called “And now for something completely different!” If you have a chance to watch it, it’s hilarious.
So, why am I bringing this up?
As fundraisers, we deal with people all the time—those who work in, those who serve by or those who support your organizations.
Some of them may have been born and raised here for many generations. Others may have emigrated from other countries, like myself. Differences in culture and new impressions have formed our experiences.
For example, when it comes to monthly giving and banking, people in most European countries openly pass out bank account numbers. It’s printed on companies’ letterheads. It’s the way people pay each other. Monthly giving is almost a way of life.
So, especially when it comes to fundraising, sometimes it’s good to open our eyes and ears for those other cultures, expressions and, yes, different “humour,” as the Brits call it.
That’s why I absolutely love the International Fundraising Congress (IFC), a conference held every October in the Netherlands.
I’m proud to be the U.S. Ambassador, helping to promote the conference amongst U.S. attendees. The IFC is just an all around great conference—not just for those who are fundraising internationally, but also for those who just wish to pick up some new ideas and new tools.
I can honestly say that I’ve become a better fundraiser thanks to meeting—hearing from and learning from international speakers from many countries around the world who are willing to share their testing, culture and experience (especially when it comes to direct mail, telemarketing and monthly giving) and not to mention, networking with some 1,000 fundraisers from over 60 countries.
If you’re willing to be open your mind, eyes and ears for “something completely different,” the IFC would be something to experience, even if it’s just once in your lifetime. You won’t regret it.
And if you have any questions, just contact me.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.