Top tips to help you get the most out of IWITOT

SOFII trustee and fundrais­ing con­sul­tant Craig Lin­ton shares eight ways to get the most out of your atten­dance at a fundrais­ing event like I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT). Don’t let the learn­ing end when the ses­sion finishes.

Written by
Craig Linton
December 09, 2020

The first-ever supporter experience edition of I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT) took place on Wednesday 9 December 2020. 

Alongside the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF)’s supporter experience special interest group, and The Dragonfly Agency, SOFII welcomed 12 amazing speakers who shared examples of great supporter and customer experiences. Over 400 enthusiastic fundraisers bought tickets to the event, and attendees were treated to plenty of tips and insights that will help them work on improving the way they interact with their own donors.  

The event had inspiration and fun, but best of all if was a much-needed chance to celebrate great fundraising. In that respect, this special supporter experience edition really was a classic IWITOT.

But did you know that the very first IWITOT took place in 2012 and was the brainchild of James Briggs from Open Creates? It’s a great concept, one that gives speakers just seven minutes to present a fundraising idea that they wish they’d come up with themselves. 

Over the years, fundraisers like you and me have taken lots of inspiration from the events and adapted ideas we’ve heard about to raise money for the causes we’ve worked for. 

Like all training the value comes not just in the attendance, but also in the reflection and follow-up. With that in mind, here are eight suggestions for how you can get the most out of an IWITOT event and, in this case, apply what you learned to improve the supporter experience in your own organisation.

1. Reflect on a deeper level

Use these questions to reflect on what you heard. By answering them in order you’ll be able to reflect on a deeper level. You can then discuss your answers with colleagues and develop an action plan.

  • What do you remember from the talks?
  • How does this help me understand my own work?
  • How could I apply the ideas in my charity?
  • How does it help me analyse our current supporter experience?
  • How could we do better? What could we change?
  • How can you use this knowledge in future work?

2. Reflect’n’sketch

Drawing can help us capture ideas and spark creativity. Here are three things you could sketch from today:

  • Draw your favourite moment from IWITOT
  • Sketch something you want to try in your charity
  • Draw your best ever supporter experience/customer service moment

3. Newspaper headline

What is your supporter experience vision? 

Use this newspaper template to write a story (including a headline and picture) that highlights what success would look like in a years’ time. 

4. How might we…

How might we (or HMW) questions are used a lot in design-thinking and other related disciplines. You can read a detailed guide on how to use the tool in this blog post. Every single word in this short format is playing a key role in making it so powerful:

HOW = possible MIGHT = options WE = collaborative

When you ask, ‘how might we better share impact to our regular givers?’ or ‘how might improve supporter experience?’ you are genuinely opening you and your team up to exploration and possibility; you are not prescribing a solution before your creative juices have even started flowing.

For IWITOT, I challenge you to draft five HMW statements to help you/your team explore putting your IWITOT learnings in to practice.

5. Create a scrapbook of great experiences you can swipe ideas from

Take some of your answers from the deeper reflection and use this to kick-start your own or team’s supporter experience scrapbook. You can start a physical scrapbook or use an online collaboration tool, such as Mural, to record supporter experience ideas and examples you love. 

6. Fill the gap (great for virtual teams)

Start at the top left of your video call and move round the group in a clockwise direction. Ask questions about IWITOT. Ideas include:

  • My best bit was…
  •  I laughed at…
  • I got emotional about…
  • My ‘we can steal that’ moment was…
  • My supporter experience #IWITOT would be…

7. Write a supporter experience review

Pretend you’re a critic at a leading newspaper. How would you review your own supporter experience? How many stars would you give it? How might IWITOT inspire you to improve? 

8. Commit

Finally, when you’ve worked through these, take time to commit to taking action. Write down (and ideally share with someone) your response to these statements:

This day/week/month I am going to make an impact on…


My first step will be…

I will know it’s done when ...

Editor’s note: We would like to thank Craig Linton for allowing SOFII to reproduce his thoughts on getting the most from an IWITOT event. A version of this blog originally appeared here

About the author: Craig Linton

Craig Linton has over 15 years’ of fundraising experience across a number of disciplines and sectors. He currently works at Amnesty International where he advises colleagues across Europe on their individual giving fundraising and helps them prepare investment proposals. He also spends a day a week on outside consultancy and research projects. His specialisms are relationship fundraising and providing a great donor experience. He is a member of the Institute of Fundraising Convention board, on Rogare’s advisory panel, a contributing editor to and a trustee of Thames Hospice.

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