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.

Svitlana Pugach

Svitlana, a fundraising expert and advisor, currently serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ukraine's Tabletochki Charity Foundation, the largest organization aiding children with cancer.

During her CEO tenure, she tripled the foundation's annual income. In 2020, her focus shifted solely to fundraising, resulting in an extra $10 million, including a nationwide campaign engaging 5 million out of 40 million Ukrainians.

Amid the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, with the team, Svitlana navigated a 50% domestic funding drop by globalizing Tabletochki's fundraising, ensuring vital support for an expanded budget.

Her expertise spans diverse donor segments, including individuals, corporations, major donors, and institutions. With 12 years at Deloitte, a top international financial consulting firm, she brings a rich background in audit, corporate risk, and social responsibility.

Svitlana also consults for Ukrainian charity foundations and lectures on fundraising at a prominent university.

She's presented at IFC, CEEFC, FIA and St. Jude/ALSAC Global conferences and boasts a significant domestic speaking record in fundraising, cause-related marketing, and non-profit development. She's a jury member for the prestigious Effie Awards Ukraine, the global marketing communications award.

Svitlana is a passionate fundraiser from Ukraine and sees fundraising as unlocking community potential, bridging needs and resources through a human-centric approach, and not just locking funds. A skilful sailor, she parallels her hobby with her work: skilful navigation, adaptability, and teamwork.