Wood for Trees at the IoF’s Technology Conference – our thoughts

June 13, 2018 News

Wood for Trees has long been a supporter of the IoF’s Insight Special Interest Group (SIG), undertaking various roles on the committee, sponsoring events and speaking at their annual conference. It was therefore with great pleasure that we were able to extend that further to support the Technology SIG at their annual conference on Friday.

I joined a number of Wood for Trees colleagues at the event, and we also contributed a couple of sessions to a packed and interesting agenda. Our subject matter included a showcase of our ETL Blender tool with BHF, and a very daring live demo of a supporter permissions journey involving stitching multiple systems together. Our Solutions Director Matt Tamea did a great job of demonstrating the seamless journey from website sign up, through initial engagement to subsequent contact requests using Dotmailer, FastStats Peoplestage, Consentric and Salesforce – as outlined in the slide below:

IOF Tech Talk (WfT)

Overall I was very impressed with the running of the conference — a big hats-off to the organising committee, who are all volunteers. I know first-hand the challenges of managing something like this, alongside a very busy day job!

There were many interesting sessions but my personal highlights included a demonstration of Microsoft’s Power BI dynamically pulling information from the BBC website to show some bespoke visualisations of the Premier League table. Mags Rivett of Make-a-Wish UK also gave an interesting take on a ‘Digital Strategy’. As someone with this in her job title, I thought it was a curious stance to argue that you shouldn’t have one! Rather, digital should pervade throughout your organisational strategy. And the final keynote speech from Martyn Bysh of USurv also threw up some interesting statistics from survey research on how supporters interact with charities, rather than how fundraisers think they engage with us.

Other sessions attended by my colleagues included an honest account from Adapta and Christian Aid on migrating CRM systems, discussing the process they used to help them choose the CRM through robust business requirements documentation. This focused on what needed to happen for them to achieve their stated goals, and showed that there’s plenty to think about and a lot of time required, both pre- and post-choice, to do this properly.

Lloyds and The Royal British Legion also showcased the future of fundraising with an informative session on contactless donations (cash buckets without the bucket) — although Amazon is already moving us towards voice activated donations with Alexa. As a data company we were obviously interested to see that although the raw data itself isn’t available to the charity (preventing matching against existing supporters for further insight), analysis at a device level is available showing which device takes the most, at what time of day etc. As I have blogged before I think we are going to see this ‘anonymous’ type of giving becoming more prevalent and we should look for the opportunities here, rather than bemoaning the downsides.

It really was a great event and one I will definitely be looking to attend again next year. Thanks again to the organisers for all their hard work — and for the lovely bottle of wine I received for speaking. 😊