Ahead of the first IFC Asia 2017 conference, speaker and HOME India Managing Director Ryan Valasapali looks back at this year’s IWRM in Delhi. He provides his thoughts on why it’s an invaluable platform for knowledge sharing and a good indicator of what delegates can expect from their time in Bangkok later this month.
Organised by the Resource Alliance, IWRM is a three-day fundraising conference held in India every year, covering sustainable fundraising and resource mobilisation.
Why do you think IWRM is important?
There isn't any other event that promotes knowledge sharing within the sector, at the scale IWRM does. It provides a forum for open and honest conversations.
For participants from small grassroots organisations, who often only have three or four staff members, it's particularly valuable, as it’s a chance to learn more about fundraising best practice across the sector. These delegates have lots of questions because this is one of the rare opportunities they have to meet other people working in the sector.
This is their chance to say: "I'm struggling with this. How can I improve it?" Others will respond and say: "This is what we do", "This is how we do it", "This is what works for us."
I also think it’s well-attended because people recognise that there’s an opportunity to spend
three days meeting people in sessions and learning from each other. Delegates take that wealth of knowledge back to their respective offices to share with colleagues.
Ryan you've attended IWRM three years in a row now. How do you feel IWRM has evolved in this time?
My experience of IWRM has changed over the three years I've been attending. Although HOME India was established in 2012, 2015 was the first year I attended IWRM and, at that time, we were still working through the new model and logistics.
Then the following year, we were finalising the fundraising operations, so Dominic Will, Joint MD of Home Fundraising, and I attended a few sessions together, however the experience still felt quite new at that stage. I was exploring conversations with charities about a new approach to fundraising and building relationships across the sector.
But IWRM2017 was very different. HOME India is now an established fundraising agency and I was invited to present a session at IWRM by Resource Alliance (India). It has been interesting to track the evolution of both HOME India and IWRM during this period. I'd definitely say it's been a progressive experience.
This year it was very noticeable how the conference is now attracting a wider diversity of delegates and speakers, compared to three years ago. There were a lot of global consultants and senior figures from the charity and private sectors, flying over from the US, Holland and the UK, as well as from across India. There was a lot of effort made this year to get people from outside the sector sharing their thoughts with people delivering on the ground.
What has HOME India taken away from IWRM and will you implement any of the learning in your work?
Conferences are a fantastic way to step out of the day-to-day and broaden your knowledge. Even though I was presenting this year, which in itself was a great experience, I was able to gain a broader perspective of individual giving in India and find out if the sector is waking up to individual giving more widely — not just to regular giving but to all fundraising methods.
From the conversations I had at IWRM and the sessions I attended, I think the sector is acknowledging that individual giving, through a variety of fundraising methods, offers some real opportunities going forward to grow and develop fundraising in India.
Coupled with our sister company, HOME Fundraising's experiences, I am now confident in the strength of individual giving across the country, not just in the work we do, — the sector believes in individual giving. I’m sure other NGO’s like me will use this insight and knowledge to progress their respective fundraising operations and raise more money for beneficiaries across India.
To find out more about IFC Asia 2017 click here.
For more information about the sessions that HOME will be delivering at IFC Asia click on the links below: