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 awardwinning 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 followedMarcus Missen (Director of Fundraising and CommunicationsWaterAid 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 donorfront 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 modelreinvigorated 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 band 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 mistakesDriven 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 

Change Accelerator: Zuzana Suchová

Our Change Accelerator for October is Zuzana Suchová, Fundraising, marketing and PR Consultant in Slovakia.

Please briefly describe what your organisation does 

Kto pomôže Slovensku (Who Helps Slovakia) is grassroot project of activist and friends. We were helping Slovakia’s hospitals, clinics, health-care and social-care system facilities cope with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

#WhoHelpsSlovakia collected donations from individuals, businesses and organisations through an on-line platform. These funds were used to purchase, transport and distribute protective gear across the country where most needed. Anyone could join us.

How did you get into social impact sector? 

I always enjoyed marketing. I had worked as an account, brand marketing and product manager in a number of international companies and of my 17 years spent in marketing, I had been working with non-profit organisations for almost 11. My work with NGOs dates back to my time as an account manager for a direct marketing full-service agency.

Now I am a fundraising, marketing and PR consultant. I specialize in individual online donations, integrated fundraising and their development in organizations, campains. Sometimes I lecture on these topics. I administer the Facebook group Inspirations from Fundraising. I led the campaign, consulted or collaborated on projects of Divé maky,, OZ SAVIO, Nadace Cvernovka, OZ Vagus, OZ Za nasu voda, for the documentaries White Crows and the Hero Among Us, Nota Bene. I was responsible for the fundraising part of Zuzana Čaputová’s presidential campaign, the campaign of the PS / SPOLU coalition to the EU elections and the elections to the National Council of the Slovak Republic. Together with others, I initiated or organized the challenges Long live farmers, we will not survive without them !, Coming home does not have to be a matter of course,,

What is your driving force for accelerating change? 

I do what I love and I love what I do. If there is something I can change I am always trying in my personal or work life. I am able to see beyond the things and situations and pick what is important and useful.

What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?

Do not be afraid to even start change things others will follow you if is good purpose.

Do you know an inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.


Change Accelerator: Sofia Breitholtz

Our Change Accelerator for August is Sofia Breitholtz, CEO for Reach for Change, an international non-profit founded in Sweden.

Please briefly describe what your organisation does 

Reach for Change is an international non-profit founded in Sweden. Our vision is a world where all children and youth reach their full potential. We’re working towards this vision by finding local social entrepreneurs and empowering them to develop and scale innovative solutions that help children to better lives. We were co-founded by successful entrepreneurs in the non-profit and the business sectors in 2010, and since then we have supported more than 1,000 social entrepreneurs in 18 countries across three continents.

How did you get into social impact sector? 

After studies in international development and politics and economics, with field work done in Peru on international human rights, and with a number of internships at the UN and the EU under my belt, I started working in the private sector in 2006.

Although I loved the results oriented and fast paced outcomes, I was frustrated at the lack of investments made in sustainability, and especially in social impact. This prompted my move to Southern Africa working with development cooperation. I was still convinced of the need to engage the private sector in social change, and became interested in the possibilities of social entrepreneurship.

I moved over to work as Deputy CEO of a Swedish social enterprise working on clean water solutions for the bottom of the pyramid. After that, I worked for Ben & Jerry’s formulating their social mission strategy for the Nordics before I was recruited to Reach for Change. As CEO of Reach for Change, I live my values and purpose every day, and as a team, we have an ambition to grow our impact by 10x to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

What is your driving force for accelerating change? 

My passion is seeing the potential in people and supporting them to grow. I love connecting people and ideas and I have seen first hand what a powerful catalyst for change it is just believing in people. I also believe in the power of social innovation, and think we can accelerate change through innovative partnerships.

What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?

To be true to their own inner compass and stick with it.

Do you know an inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.


Change Accelerator: Michelle Berriman

Our Change Accelerator for July is Michelle Berriman, Executive Director for Fundraising Institute of New Zealand, the professional body that represents fundraising in New Zealand.

Please briefly describe what your organisation does 

The Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) is the professional body that represents fundraising in New Zealand. In delivering its mission, FINZ is concerned with: Providing the best educational events to lead and educate fundraisers; Developing standards of practice to enhance the integrity and professionalism of fundraisers and the fundraising sector; Advocating the value of fundraising to society and government in order to empower fundraisers in their work in and with communities.

How did you get into social impact sector? 

Michelle joined FINZ after 20 years working in a variety of roles within the charity sector – the last ten in fundraising and development. Prior to joining the sector’s commercial side, she was a youth/community development worker supporting children looked after by the state, running community-based youth projects and working in juvenile lock-down. Michelle is motivated by creating change and making a difference to those facing adversity and wants everyone to be given the chance to be the very best version of themselves. Originally from the far North of Scotland, she is proud to call NZ her home. Read more about her journey here.

What is your driving force for accelerating change? 

Michelle is motivated by creating change and making a difference to those facing adversity and wants everyone to be given the chance to be the very best version of themselves.

“I want people to be the very best versions of themselves – what they want to be, to have dreams, and to want and achieve success, whatever success looks like to them. I suffer hugely from imposter syndrome, I feel every day that I’m not worthy of the role I’m in today, like I’ll be found out at any minute and that I don’t know what the hell I am doing.

However, there is one thing I do know that I am doing and that is doing my very best to make a difference. It can be so easy to get distracted and bogged down in budgets, ROI, live auction items, silent auctions items, street appeals, acquisition, retention, direct mail, getting that one big gift or bequest … sometimes we forget the bigger picture. What I know to be true is that everyone of us has a story, a reason, a cause close to their heart.”

What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?

“I’d tell them that they can. We’re doing it. It happens one person at a time. If you can change even one person’s life, that has a knock-on effect. I’ve been so inspired by so many people along the way and I think it’s really nice to want to aspire to be like someone you admire. Look to the people who are changing the world and try to emulate them. Be Bold. Be Brave. Be authentically you.”

Do you know an inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.


Change Accelerator: Hannah Sayers

Our Change Accelerator for September is Hannah Sayers. Head of Fundraising and Innovation for Enable Leisure and Culture, and Founder and Director of Small Change in the UK.

Please briefly describe what your organisation does 

Enable Leisure and Culture is a charity that strives to enrich lives and strengthen communities. Small Change is a social enterprise that gives free fundraising support for small non-profits.

How did you get into social impact sector? 

I’ve always been a strong believer in giving back. It’s something I feel passionately about and have a strong desire to make a change.

I first started working with communities in 2005 when I went to Leeds Beckett University to complete a child development degree. During that time I worked with many charities who support children and young people in some of West Yorkshire’s most deprived areas and lived in Africa for just under 3 months volunteering at a school in a remote village in Ghana. Here is where I discovered my love of fundraising when I secured a £400,000 grant for one of my charities.

After university I continued my work with children and young people and became a business development manager for an outdoor children’s charity in London. I then moved on to a parks and open spaces department where I was successful with a £1.9 million pound funding bid to the Heritage Fund, for a 5 year Project.

After that I became the senior trust fundraising officer at The National Deaf Children’s Society, before finally moving on as Head of Fundraising and Innovation at a South London Charity where I am now. Alongside this I co-founded a community action group in my home town and have been successful with numerous grants to improve the local area.

During the Pandemic I founded Small Change Makers CIC and established a volunteer fundraising team to help small non-profits such as food banks, community centres, peer support groups etc access funding. We want to make funding opportunities accessible to everyone and want to make change in the fundraising sector.

What is your driving force for accelerating change? 

I strongly believe that anyone can change the world and I want to champion small change makers. It doesn’t have to be someone who makes a grand gesture or donates a huge amount of money.

We live in a world now where our lives are lived online and where people feel like they need to compete to get likes. Why is a huge donation or money raised quickly the only measure of success? We are increasingly seeing stories of people making massive contributions or doing things that an average person may not be able to achieve, and this can be demoralising for those who are making a big difference every day in someone’s life, but on a smaller scale.

During my time at Enable LC and since founding Small Change I have seen the huge impact people can make to their communities just by making small changes. However, feedback and research that states only 3% of UK voluntary sector income (e.g. from grants, trusts and foundations) goes to organisations with annual incomes of under 100,000 (NCVO Almanac 2020) – is alarming. How is this right? There is an economic inequality in the charitable sector, and we need to act. Large funders all over the world are often not challenged, as they are the lifeline for many organisations. But if this isn’t challenged, where is the accountability, innovation/drive for change? So, I want to tackle this, be brave and make the fundraising world accessible for everyone.

What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?

Don’t wait for the right time, you can make change by just starting small and being your own champion. You’ll be surprised at what you can do, when you believe that you can.

Do you know an inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.



After an extensive global search, Resource Alliance (RA) is delighted to announce the appointment of its new CEO, Brian Higgins, who will be leaving his post as CEO of Ireland’s Bloomfield Health Services on 30 November 2020.
With extensive international experience in service development, fundraising and operational delivery, Brian’s appointment is seen as a strong affirmation of the organisation’s commitment to strengthen the IFC and build and expand the Resource Alliance Global Community  — a unique global membership network that brings thought leaders and fundraising practitioners together to curate exceptional learning opportunities for social impact organisations of every size and type around the world.
”Brian first caught our attention in 2018 when he was the highest rated speaker at our flagship event, the International Fundraising Congress (IFC),” noted Bill Toliver, Chair of the Resource Alliance Board of Trustees. “He comes from the community we serve, understands the essence of our obligation to that community, and brings a truly unusual combination of executive leadership, fundraising and community-building talents to Resource Alliance.”
Resource Alliance, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, curates and produces the International Fundraising Congress — the pre-eminent global conference for fundraisers and changemakers, serving nearly 1000 delegates from 60 countries. Their recent Fundraising Online event (#FRO2020) brought together 15,000 participants from 145 countries, and the Resource Alliance Global Community democratises access to this exceptional content for organisations everywhere.
My first experience of Resource Alliance was through my participation in IFC 2018.  I had never experienced anything like it before!  Immersive, engaging, informative and mindblowing!” recalled Higgins, “ I am humbled to think that I will have a role to play in enabling thousands more to benefit from not only the exceptional quality of content and experience of the International Fundraising Congress, but also in curating the highest quality and most innovative learning experiences through the Resource Alliance Global Community .” Higgins further explained, “I knew RA was the place I wanted to be after seeing the commitment that the board and staff have made to living up to the promise of the organisations Manifesto. The team is relentless in their desire to break down barriers to access so that everyone, irrespective of where they are around the globe can access the critical knowledge, tools and connections most needed to accelerate their vital work. I am thrilled and honoured to be able to contribute to that work.”  
As part of their commitment to reach organisations around the world, the RA team has developed a digital platform to share content and build online collaborations. The coronavirus pandemic accelerated what was a multi-year development plan into a multi-month transformation, and the organisation is now in the final weeks of preparation for the first ever IFC Online: Virtual Summit (October 13 – 16).
”Brian will be an active presence at IFC online.” noted Toliver. “He’ll be hosting the Senior Leadership Summit on the first day of the conference (Monday, October 12th), and we have a number of opportunities for him to engage with our community so that he can hit the ground running when he formally assumes his position as CEO of Resource Alliance on 1 December 2020.”