Earlier this week, Alex and I went to France to spend time doing a handover with Oliver. Oliver, who many of you know, has been with us here at INTO since the very beginning. In fact, since before the beginning. I had known Oliver while he still worked for the National Trust but it was when he retired that we started working more closely together. He and I were part of June Taboroff’s team advising Catrini Kubontubuh on the establishment of Bali Kuna. And Oliver volunteered as an international heritage consultant for several years before joining INTO.
He has been a stalwart volunteer Director within the INTO Secretariat since 2008. Originally charged with Membership Services and Development, Oliver went on to add ‘Advocacy’ to his title. And he has worked tirelessly in this sphere, regularly representing INTO at the UN Climate Change Conferences, for example. (Read more in our 10 year time line!)
Handing over ten years of knowledge and experience with INTO, added to over thirty years with the National Trust will take some time. But we made a start nevertheless and Alex and I came away feeling well-briefed and energised. (Part of that, I’m sure, came from a couple of days at Oliver and Deborah’s beautiful home in the south of France … )
I haven’t done Oliver justice in a couple of sentences. However, he is writing a book about his time at the Trust and INTO, which we look forward to immensely!
On Friday, I had an interesting discussion about our Amicus programme. INTO Amici are a select group of individuals who support our work through donation and activism. We have struggled to get it right and have repeatedly promised to review the programme. So this was an initial conversation with one of our active Amici to think about different approaches.
We all work with major donors. And we all know that it’s not as easy as it looks. First of all you need to find them, then you need to not lose them! This means understanding their motivations for giving and providing experiences that match.
With an international network like INTO, this is more complicated than a few cocktail parties at special places. One of the things the National Trust (EWNI) does is to invite donors on a two day event at a property or region. This is paid for by the donor but in return they get to see behind the scenes at special places and meet interesting people. At the end, they are presented with a ‘menu’ of sites or projects they have seen that they might like to give more to.
We discussed whether this might be something we could devise for INTO. Perhaps electronically? A list of overseas projects run by INTO members in need of support? Along the lines of Dartagnans in France, which uses crowdfunding to save cultural heritage sites. Something to think about. When we tried crowdfunding before, it was rather exhausting (see my assessment here). But perhaps a focus on major donor giving might be different. Anyway, we’ve started the conversation now and I hope will be able to transform the Amicus engagement over the coming year!