Session: Fundraising in tough times

Svitlana Pugach, Konstantina Papadimitriou & Eelco Keij

We are in times of multicrises, towards a global risks landscape where economic, geopolitical and societal vulnerabilities will continue to build.

The world economy is in a fragile state. Reeling from the economic impacts of the pandemic and climate change, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has pushed many countries beyond their ability to cope – and then the war in Gaza followed. Rising food and fuel prices, debt distress, and tightening financial conditions are now combining to create what the UN is calling the largest cost of living crisis of the 21st century.

In this session we will explore what other recessions have taught us as fundraisers and how we can apply these best practices in a 2024 environment and beyond. It will draw on fundraising experiences from the US (Eelco), Greece (Konstantina), and Ukraine (Svitlana) during times of political and economic turbulence, and share learnings that can be applied in any donor market. You will leave better equipped to adapt your fundraising approach and strategy during these times of crisis.

Eelco Keij

Eelco, both American and Dutch, has over 15 years of experience working in the international development sector, among others as a political lobbyist, fundraiser strategist, advocacy specialist and international speaker. After working for the United Nations, he become an independent fundraising consultant, providing training and support to hundreds of nonprofits worldwide in their strategic search for US foundation & corporation funding.

In 2015 he moved back to his native Netherlands where he started to work for the Radboud University of Nijmegen as the director of the Fundraising and Development Office, where he set up the university’s legacy giving program. As of 2018 he resides in New York and currently works for World Wildlife Fund in climate fundraising as Manager of Foundation Relations. He is an avid skier and founder & chair of the Foundation for the Dutch Abroad.

“What drives me is the ultimate human connection in fundraising – with the embedded creativity and often-unexpected encounters in the process. Fundraising is a dynamic profession: a good day for me consists of inspiring conversations, strategizing over new connections and helping others in reaching their fundraising goals.”