How to make waves without drowning

In 2014, Tony Elischer challenged us to be mosquitos. He inspired us to buzz and make noise and stir up change in the fundraising sector. This session is for the mosquitos. Because being a mosquito isn’t easy, and successfully leading even the smallest of waves can be tough. To be successful we need to not only avoid drowning, but also navigate the wave breakers that are often put in the way.

Meet two mosquitos who have led change during their time in non-profit organisations and are now supporting change from an external agency/consultant perspective. Hear about some of the tools and techniques they have used to avoid drowning, burning out, or losing all passion in the process.

This session will cover recognising the difference between stress and burnout, deciding when change is right, leveraging internal support, leading a team through change, supporting decision making, getting around obstacles when the going gets tough, and how to set an example of wave-making at your own organisation.

Learning outcomes

  • The difference between exhaustion, frustration and real burnout
  • How to protect yourself from burnout – well-being and productivity
  • Techniques to push decision-making in the right direction
  • How to have tough conversations with yourself and others when change is needed
  • How to recognise, influence and leverage support from key influencers in your organisation

Who should attend:

  • Fundraisers of any age and experience level
  • Fundraisers feeling frustrated about the obstacles in the way of change in their organisations – and the greater industry

Session style: Presentation/lecture-style with lots of visuals, practical tips and some video content.


Rachel Hunnybun (Canada)
Fundraising Consultant, Blakely Inc
Maeve Strathy (Canada)
Senior Fundraising Strategist, Blakely Inc.