Welcome to The Wildfire Manifesto. First – a little about me.

My name is Jonathan May, and for an even more potted history than the below, you can read about me on LinkedIn here, or bug me on Twitter here.

Education and Early Career

I’m originally a technologist (1st BA Honours from King’s College, Cambridge). I spent most of my twenties working on a variety of digital technologies and innovations. I covered everything from silicon chips to web communities to music augmentation.

However, my lifelong passion – from an exceptionally young age – has been “doing good”. This led to me getting involved in fundraising. And it is the combination of fundraising and technology that has led me to where I am today.

Fundraising and Alumni Relations

In 2011, I founded a company called Hubbub Fundraising. Hubbub builds technology for universities and nonprofits to enable them to leverage digital as an engagement and fundraising channel.

In 2015, I was invited to join More Partnership as an Associate Partner. I work with More on strategic contracts helping non-profits and universities implement digital strategies. Today, I remain the founder and CEO of Hubbub, and an Associate Partner at More Partnership. I am also an advisor at Freedom from Torture, a Trustee of Music for my Mind, and in a more bizarre part of my life, I play table football (foosball) for Great Britain as well as managing the national team.

I occasionally speak at CASE and Institute of Fundraising events on technology and fundraising. I love it.

Why this project?

My 6 years has given me a valuable perspective on the take-up, implementation and success of digital in the alumni relations and fundraising space. One of my constant frustrations has been that the sector both in the UK and internationally seems to be struggling to get the best out of digital. Adoption is slow, fragmented, and seemingly unstructured. Successful programmes come and go, and digital has barely achieved a foothold.

Yet it has always felt – to me – like the potential is massive.

Winston Churchill Fellowship

In late 2015, a friend and Winston Churchill Fellow – Esther Foreman from The Social Change Agency – encouraged me to apply for a Fellowship to study what drives success – and otherwise – in this space. The most obvious place to study this was the United States, and to a lesser extent Canada, where the volume of programmes and apparent success seemed greatest.

Several rounds of applications and interviews – and 6 months later – I was the proud recipient of a grant. I set about working and planning. Almost a year and a half later, this is the result of my work.

Read on to Partners.