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!

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