Top tips to get the most out of Fundraising Convention

The Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention is one of the hottest tickets of the year for fundraising professionals – three days packed full of learning, networking and inspiration. If you’re new to Convention, or if you’re going on your own, here’s how to get the most from it:

Choose your sessions in advance

There are so many great sessions to choose from but you can’t book them in advance so make sure you choose which ones you really want to go to and note them down. Sessions are on a first come, first served basis and the really popular ones will fill up quickly so ensure you arrive at the room as soon as you can. Have a backup session in case you can’t get in to the one you wanted to go to.

Split sessions

If you’re going with a colleague or colleagues, don’t all go to the same sessions. You’ll get so much more out of Convention if you each go to different sessions and then feed back to each other.

Download the Convention App

The Convention app is available for both Apple and Android and is free to download. Use it to plan your schedule, see speakers’ biographies, access a map and much more. The best part, for me, is that you can give session feedback from your last session as you move on to the next one.

Take a notepad

Believe me, you’ll learn oodles so bring a notepad and pen – or a tablet or laptop – and get ready to take notes! This is essential if you’re the only person from your charity attending as you can share what you’ve learnt and what you’d like to test or change when you get back to the office. Top tip is to jot down three key takeaways from each session.

Check out the hashtag

The official hashtag is #IofCC so make sure you not only use it when you tweet but that you check out what everyone else is tweeting. It’s a great way to meet new people you may not have been following on Twitter, plus it’s always interesting to hear other people’s thoughts, opinions, experiences etc. It’s also a great way to spot people (if they look like their profile picture) during breaks or at lunch and go and speak to them in real life.

Get social

On Tuesday after the last session, the exhibitors will be hosting drinks for all the delegates so don’t be shy – go along and meet some of your peers in a relaxed, informal setting. Once you’ve had a couple of drinks to warm you up, take part in the quiz where you can win money for your charity! Entry is £5 per person and you can enter a team or join a team by emailing iofconvention@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk.

Learn to meditate

Wisdom Fish will be offering meditation sessions at 10:15 am on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Convention. I love this idea! We could probably all do with a bit more zen in our lives….

Not booked your ticket yet? Be quick before they’re all gone!

 

We need to talk about failure

It’s just over a month until the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention and I for one am getting really excited! As an official blogger this year, I’ve been keeping an eye out for the sessions that I want to attend and the Failure Swop Shop is high on my list.

We don’t talk enough about failure

I’ve said this many times before, particularly in my column for Third Sector, that we don’t talk about failure enough. The recent State of the Sector report by think tank NPC brought this home even more. There is a major reluctance to take risks and potentially fail but the risk of never progressing is even more damaging. There was a quote in the digital chapter of the report that really stood out for me:

NPC

How can we ever achieve excellence – fundraising or otherwise – if we just do what we’ve always done? If we never push the boundaries? If we never take risks? One common theme emerging from every report produced this year (and there have been a few) is that if the sector doesn’t embrace digital – and understand what it means and its potential – it will get left behind. We cannot let this happen.

So I do hope that those speaking in the Failure Swop Shop will be honest and candid in their Fundraising Convention session – it is Chatham House rules after all – because I feel it’s so important to normalise failure. If you can learn from your failure and progress then have you actually failed?

Another session I am looking forward to is Digital. Are we doing it wrong? In this session, Reuben Turner and Pete Grant from GOOD Agency will be challenging the view that digital is just about convenience. They will be sharing examples where digital is used to build meaning, emotion and belief. Excellent. I loved being challenged and I hope this session will make me come away with a different view. If you work in digital and you’re going to Convention, this is a session you won’t want to miss.

Join me and the fundraising community at the UK’s biggest event for fundraisers!

Charity Governance Awards 2017

Congratulations to all the winners of the Charity Governance Awards!

All seven winners will share in the £35,000 prize pot, each winning a £5,000 unrestricted grant.

Asthma UK was named the first recipient of the new ‘Embracing Digital’ award for transforming the charity with their bold digital strategy including a new ‘personalised’ website, plus funding for digital health research projects and smartphone apps. Just nine months after launch, the charity reached over half a million more people, inspiring 33% of users to see their doctor or call Asthma UK’s helpline.

Asthma UK, Charity Governance Awards 17 (photo-Kate Darkins)

As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, I’m delighted that these awards also recognise the work and achievements of small charities.

Michael Howell, Chair of the Trusteeship Committee at the award organisers The Clothworkers’ Company, said:

“Highly-skilled trustees, diverse boards and their innovative use of digital technology are all areas that the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has recommended as a focus for the sector. Therefore, we are delighted that our winners provide real-life examples of how that can be achieved. I encourage charities to download our free e-book which is full of inspiring stories from these superb shortlisted charities – including, of course, our winners! I hope this will provide inspiration for new journeys towards great governance.”

Download the free e-book here.

The winners and runners-up

Board diversity and Inclusivity

  • Winner – Voluntary Arts
  • Runners-up – George House Trust; MindOut

Embracing Digital

  • Winner – Asthma UK
  • Runners-up – Raise the Roof Kenya; Royal Opera House

Embracing opportunity and harnessing risk

  • Winner – Winner: Preston Road Women’s Centre
  • Runners-up – Body & Soul; Changing Futures North East

Improving impact – charities with 3 staff or fewer

  • Winner – St Peter’s Community Wellbeing Projects
  • Runners-up – Green’s Windmill Trust; The INSPIRE Foundation

Improving impact – charities with 4-25 paid staff

  • Winner – Prisoner’s Education Trust (PET)
  • Runners-up – FutureVersity (Tower Hamlets Summer Education); Key4Life

Improving impact – charities with 26+ paid staff

  • Winner – Step by Step
  • Runners-up – St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital; Treloar Trust

Managing turnaround

  • Winner – Off The Record (Bristol)
  • Runners-up – Dementia UK; Kentish Town City Farm

Who or what inspires you?

I’m sure there are many people in your life who inspire you – on a personal or professional level. Some may not actually be *in* your life – like Michele Obama – but their words and (more importantly) their actions light a fire inside you and motivate you to do more, learn more, be more.

Michelle Obama

On a professional level, I have many people who I look up to and aspire to be like – many of whom I can learn from and who motivate me to be the best that I can be.

Luckily for me the Institute of Fundraising is bringing many people in the sector who I admire all together in one place, under one roof at Fundraising Convention 2017. And I’m delighted to announce that once again, I will be a Blogger Supporter.

Fundraising Convention, for me, is a unique opportunity to hear from a multitude of people within various roles and working for different causes across the sector who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise in a warm, friendly and open environment. There are plenty of opportunities to meet fellow fundraisers at socials, at workshops, evening events and during lunch – so make the most of it! Although this is from last year, these tips by Craig Linton to make the most of Convention still ring true.

I don’t think that we talk about failure enough (and what we’ve learnt from it) so I’m really excited for the Failure Swop Shop (note to self: no tweeting about it though!). I may be a digital communications consultant but I’m always learning so I’m looking forward to the Social Media Masterclass  as well as testing whether what I know about digital is all wrong.

As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition I’m well aware of the importance of a strong, effective and diverse board and how rewarding being a trustee can be. If you have ever considered becoming a trustee yourself, go along to the Charity boards: why change matters session.

Over the last couple of years, the sector has faced some really tough challenges – and there are more to come. Fundraising Convention offers us the opportunity to tackle these challenges – together. If you want to be involved and be inspired, make sure you book your place. And if you book by 21 April, you’ll receive the Early Bird price.

Canva for Nonprofits

I am delighted to announce that Canva has now got a dedicated Canva for Nonprofits webpage where you can apply for your free account.

Get your skates on!

I have extolled the virtues of this design tool in many a blog post and article since I first heard about it in 2015. I’m a big fan and use it myself. It’s a super-easy tool to use and brings social media posts to life.

Previously you had to email Canva to ask for free access to Canva for Work for your charity but I guess they have been inundated with requests that they have made the process far easier by allowing you to simply apply online.

For U.K charities you will need to prove your charitable status by supplying your Charity Registration Number from the Charity Commission or CIC Registration Number or Articles and Memorandum of Association along with your online application.

Canva for Nonprofits gives charities access to Canva for Work’s premium features for up to 10 people in your organisation – all for free. However, use of premium elements will still be charged on a per element basis. The great thing about Canva for Work is that you can upload your logo, set your fonts and colour palettes so that the posts you create are always on-brand.

If you need inspiration for your designs, they have a host of case studies such as Amnesty International Australia.

If you want to unlock the premium features, apply today for your free charity account.

Introducing MissionBox

Working in the nonprofit sector is incredibly rewarding – but it throws up fresh challenges every day. Where do you turn when you have a question about Gift Aid claims, or when you need expert advice on how to engage with your trustees? Where do you find inspiration to revive that same old fundraiser you’ve been running for years? Where can you share your knowledge, expertise and successes with others in your sector?

Nonprofits and charities shine when they connect, learn and share with each other.

They get stuff done. They make a bigger impact.

The newly-launched MissionBox.com connects people working in the nonprofit sector with peers who are seeking guidance and answers.

Free to access, MissionBox has hundreds of articles written by experts, specialists and sector professionals. They tackle everything from job description templates to advice on undertaking a rebrand. As they grow, they’ll feature more and more resources submitted by those who know first-hand what it’s like to lead a successful nonprofit – people like you.

The goal? Stop “reinventing the wheel”, create a larger sense of community, and together, make a bigger impact.

Why not take a look today? Join the MissionBox community.

missionbox

Top content tools you need to know about

If you work in communications, social media or marketing then you need to know about these free tools to help you create eye-catching content.

Design

Canva is a free design tool that allows you to create amazing graphics for all your social media and marketing needs. They have a whole host of great features, such as uploading your own images, adding filters, making elements transparent, adding text over images and free illustrations and elements to help you create infographic-style designs. I use it lot for my personal travel and food blog but here’s a Facebook cover photo I created for the Third Sector PR & Comms Network Facebook group.

third-sector-2

What’s also great about Canva is that it has templates for Facebook cover images, Twitter images, Pinterest posts etc so no need for you to look up the exact dimensions. Best of all? Canva for work, which is a paid version with added features, is free for charities – just contact them to enquire.

Notegraphy makes your words look beautiful so that they stand out. Download the app on the App store or Google Play and get writing. Here’s a video to explain how it works:

Images

To create great graphics, you need high quality images. It’s always best to use your own but sometimes that’s not always possible. Here are my favourite go-to websites for high resolution images that allow you to use them as you like – crop, filter, add text etc and no need to credit the photographer: Unsplash, Gratisography, Pexels, Pixabay and Morguefile.

Infographics

If you have a lot of interesting data that you’d like to turn into an infographic, take a look at HubSpot’s free infographic templates. They are PowerPoint templates which you can edit. You can use your own colours and fonts to ensure it’s on brand.

Not free but Piktochart offer charities pricing at $39.99 for  year. They have 400 templates of Infographics that you can edit and customise. Also included are stock photos (if needed) and industry-specific icons.

Gifs

Gifs are moving images that can help add an element of fun into your social media posts. Twitter has a really handy gif feature built in, powered by Gify, where you can use keywords to search through thousands of gifs. CRUK’s Drylathlon Twitter account uses Twitter gifs a lot as it fits in with their cheeky tone of voice:

But what if you want to make you own? Make A Gif is a free tool that lets you make gifs from photos or even video. So why not get experimenting with gifs of an event or even your staff?

What tools do you use? Leave a comment below!

 

 

Do something good this #GivingTuesday

It’s #GivingTuesday – a day where the public is urged to ‘do good stuff’ for charity as it falls after the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

#GivingTuesday is by the team at Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and this is only its third year – but the stats are impressive:

  • in 2015 £6,000 a minute was raised for UK charities
  • A World Record was broken for the most money donated online in 24 hours
  • #GivingTuesday is run in over 70 countries around the world.

#GivingTuesday is not just about raising money.

Here are a few ideas for how you can take part in #GivingTuesday that doesn’t involve money:

  1. Write for Amnesty – send some words of comfort to Nazanin, a charity worker imprisoned in Iran (the charges remain a secret) and sign the petition to free her.
  2. Simply tweet  – tweet using #TweetForShelter and British Gas will donate £1 to Shelter (up to £25,000).
  3. Become a volunteer – Beanstalk is just one charity calling for people to volunteer their time to make a difference.

4. Give the gift of listening – this is a lovely idea from Samaritans. Do you have a friend, family member or colleague who needs a friendly ear? Take the time to listen to them. It could save a life.

5. Nominate a local cause – supermarkets, such as The Co-op are looking for local causes to support so nominate a local charity.

6. Become a trustee – charities need strong and effective boards so make a huge difference by becoming a trustee for a cause you care about. Find opportunities on Trustee Finder.

7. Spread the word – if you support charities, why not tweet or share on Facebook why you support them and help raise awareness of their cause.

‘Embracing Digital’ category added to Charity Governance Awards 2017

The Charity Governance Awards 2017 are now open for entries and a new category, ‘Embracing Digital’, has been added for 2017. This new category recognises charity boards who have successfully embraced the opportunities that digital offers, and harnessed them to innovate or improve its activities. And there’s £5,000 to be won!

charity-governance-awards-2017

There are seven categories in total and charities from all sectors can be in with a chance of winning one of seven £5,000 prizes of an unrestricted grant. Read all about last year’s Awards here.

To enter, a charity must have been established before 31 December 2013 and be registered in the UK. Charities may submit a single entry into only one of the following categories:

  • Board Diversity and Inclusivity
  • Embracing Digital
  • Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk
  • Improving Impact – charities with 3 paid staff or fewer (including charities with no paid staff)
  • Improving Impact – charities with 4–25 paid staff
  • Improving Impact – charities with 26 paid staff or more
  • Managing Turnaround

The deadline for entries is 23.59, Friday 13th January 2017 so enter now.

The Charity Governance Awards are FREE to enter and shortlisted entrants will receive a complimentary invitation to the official awards ceremony in London on 24th May 2017. They are organised by The Clothworkers’ Company in partnership with charity think thank and consultancy NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), volunteer matching charity Reach, and recruitment specialists Prospectus.

Good luck!