Moving closing plenary at International Fundraising Congress

I’ve written a lot about the importance of professional development – whether about attending a local seminar with the Fundraising Institute Australia NSW, the @FundInstituteAU conference, Fundraising & Philanthropy Forum, or another of the many terrific webinars, seminars, or conferences available. The fact is, we have an abundance of opportunities to continue our growth in the fundraising profession.

This last week, I had the good fortune to attend The Resource Alliance International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands. I have heard, for years, about IFC. I am glad I finally took the advice of many to attend.

The IFC is a rich and unique experience. There are participants from dozens and dozens of countries, from a variety of types and sizes of organisations, and staff of all levels of experience. It truly is a melting pot of fundraisers!

You do not attend a conference and expect to walk out with a “masters degree”. I always believe I get value from any conference by picking up two or three nuggets of information and meeting several new people. At IFC, an overwhelming majority of sessions were rich with information. Speakers were of the highest calibre. And, the diverse attendees shared experiences, techniques, and challenges.

One speaker really stands out for me. He is a man named Mark Horvath, founder of a transformative storytelling platform “Invisible People”. Mark was the last presenter at the closing plenary at #IFC2015. Mark has gone through many challenges in life, including being homeless. While homeless, Mark applied his skills to create change for himself and others. He has become a crusader for the homeless and, as he put it, all he had was “a bag of socks, a phone, and a camera”. Mark used his mobile phone camera to record the experiences of other homeless individuals to tell their stories and create awareness and opportunity. Mark has done such a fantastic job telling the stories of the homeless that he has attracted over 23,ooo followers across social media, including Twitter, YouTube and other channels. Mark learned the power of social media and, again, using the only tools he had in his possession.

No one can tell the IFC story better than The Resource Alliance itself. Learn more about The Resource Alliance and the IFC here. Likewise, no one can tell Mark’s story better than Mark himself. Learn more about Mark and Invisible People and the good work Mark is doing to create awareness and change here.

Check out what Mark and Invisible People have done with social media. “People are being fed because I am Twittering”, Mark says. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Resource Alliance and #IFC2015, for sharing Mark with us!