We asked Canadian nonprofit, British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for their thoughts ahead of Digi.Raise + EventRaise 2021.

BC SPCA digital tips and tricksDialling in all the way from Canada for our upcoming Digi.Raise + EventRaise 2021 conference are BC SPCA’s Tess Repenning, Senior Manager, Digital Giving, and Sophie Smithers, Senior Officer, Digital Giving, talking about their experience calculating the true ROI of their community fundraising events. 

In ‘Why you don’t need a large-scale mass-participation event in your calendar’, Tess and Sophie will take you through BC SPCA’s journey walking away from their huge signature fundraising event to see success with smaller activities. 

Get to know Tess and Sophie in our five-minute Q&A before catching their presentation at Digi.Raise + EventRaise 2021. 

What are you hoping audiences will get out of your session at Digi.Raise? 

Tess RepenningTess: Confidence to shake things up and to figure out ways to test everything – even the big things that might seem too risky or too much of a norm across the industry to include in your testing plan. We wish we could go back to our past selves and let them know that we were capable of shaking up way more things than we thought!  

Sophie SmithersSophie: The desire to try new things and take this rare opportunity to explore what is and isn’t working for your organisation. We also hope sharing the way we formed a digital team will inspire other organisations to look at how they can maximise their capability within the digital space.  

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Tess: Ask for feedback – don’t just wait for it! If  you’re doing great work, it’s less likely that the areas where you can improve will be pointed out – but we all have areas where we can grow. 

Sophie: Keep actively communicating with your managers about your aspirations and where you want to go in your career. Another great one was to never stop learning! This has been particularly relevant in digital as the space is constantly evolving. 

Top tip for taking a digital-first approach to work?  

Tess: Look at what the best are doing, even if they are outside your campaign area or even outside your organisation’s current technological capabilities. There may still be things you can adapt for your programs and if not, it will help you know where you want to go in the future. 

Sophie: Make decisions based on ROI, and experiment with new strategies/platforms. Once you find something that works continue testing and optimising.  

What’s your tech/digital/nonprofit prediction for 2021 and beyond?  

Tess: The creativity and innovation of the last year will continue. We’re lucky to work in such a dynamic ever-growing space!   

Sophie: Virtual events and social media-based fundraising will continue to rapidly grow so organisations will need to stay creative and innovative to stand out in the market. 

What strategy or tactic has really been working for you? 

Tess: Looking at every program through the lens of our top KPIs. It doesn’t just help us meet goals it also serves as a good reminder of where to focus our energies and avoid burnout when it feels like there is more we want to do, try, and test than we can ever get to.    

Sophie: Get personal! Focus on genuine and authentic communications with donors  we all know everyone’s inbox was flooded throughout 2020 so it was important to focus on more personalised touchpoints and keep donors updated. We also opened up conversations to include really key supporters in our decision making. 

Are you ready for a digital transformation? Tickets are still available for our virtual Digi.Raise + EventRaise 2021 conference 16-18 June. 

Who are Tess Repenning and Sophie Smithers? 

Tess started her career as a digital fundraiser 10 years ago, concentrating in the peer-to-peer space. As the scope of her role at BC SPCA has grown, she maintains a special connection to the unique challenges that peer to peer brings as it so often bridges online and offline fundraising. 

Sophie looks after the day-to-day management of BC SPCA’s peer-to-peer portfolio. Sophie has been in the fundraising space since starting out in Australia in 2014. She worked with a variety of charities both in-house and agency side before settling in Vancouver. Sophie has a passion for all things peer to peer with a focus on digital fundraising and stewardship best practices. 

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