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!

 

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.

Charities should keep digital innovation at the heart of their approach

Ahead of the Institute of Fundraising’s Innovative Fundraising in a Digital World’ conference on Monday 3rd October Michael Docherty, Director of Digital and Supporter Experience, Cancer Research UK blogs about how charities should keep digital innovation at the heart of their approach. Having worked on Cancer Chat, I can attest that CRUK definitely has their finger on the digital innovation pulse. 

Over the past five years we’ve seen drastic changes in how people interact with digital things. The average person now checks their smartphone 85 times a day, spending five hours browsing the web and using apps. Google processes a mind blowing 40,000 searches a second; it’s fair to say we live in a digital world.

The third sector is as impacted by this digital world as any other sector. In just the last year Cancer Research UK has seen a 30% increase in single donations being taken through our online payment platform and mobile traffic has grown 35% and now makes up over half of all visits to our website.

This is a world where the pace of change is very fast, changes can bring upside or downside, and occasionally those upsides/downsides can be sudden and spectacular. #Nomakeupselfie and Google’s Panda Update are examples of both which have affected CRUK.

To keep pace with the digital world and to deliver the types of experiences that people expect, we’re organising ourselves to put our focus on the main things our audiences need to do with us. Through this focus we’ve been developing capabilities that can be utilised across the organisation in serving our audiences’ needs. Some examples of our capabilities include our ecommerce , online fundraising and online communities platforms, and our new schema enabled approach to content management.

Through our audience led approach, through our new digital capabilities and by working to up skill the organisation, we’re building an environment that allows our teams to be digital first. It’s this approach and framework that lets us be innovative, giving our teams the tools to quickly try different things whilst easily measuring impact and success.

Innovation is at the heart of our approach, and to ensure we are preparing ourselves for the future we’re exploring cutting-edge technologies and experimenting with them to understand how they can support the outcomes we are trying to achieve.

We keep track of new behavioural trends driven by technology in any sector, and we look for ways to apply trends to our objectives – particularly fundraising growth. As an example, given the decline of cash on the high street we’ve explored contactless payments. We’ve also seen market-leading digital organisations invest significantly in virtual reality and have subsequently been actively exploring how we can utilise the technology. These are just two examples of future income and engagement drivers that we believe charities must explore in order to keep meeting their audiences’ needs and remain relevant.

Keeping up with the digital world requires a culture where it’s possible to test and learn, and crucially, acceptable (and dare I say it, desirable) to fail. The way we make it OK for us to fail is to do it cheaply, and ensure we learn quickly so that we aren’t making the same mistake twice. This is helping us grow towards becoming a more digitally mature organisation, where everyone has a responsibility and commitment to be innovative and put their audiences first – and we think that’s helping us keep pace with the ever changing digital world.

Michael will be chairing the Institute of Fundraising ‘Innovative Fundraising in a Digital World’ conference on 3rd October – are you on board with the changing digital world?

Speaker opportunity at Media Trust’s Art of engagement conference

I’m delighted to be delivering a workshop on social media and growing your online communities with my colleague Helen Osborne at Media Trust’s Art of Engagement conference on 20 November.

There is a fantastic line up of speakers, including Jo Kerr from Girlguiding UK, Lewis Wiltshire from Twitter UK, Alexis Akwagyiram from BBC Africa and Holly Monks and Miranda Nagalingam from Comic Relief.

You could join us

Media Trust is running a ‘suggest a speaker’ opportunity on Twitter for the month of September, where they are encouraging people to nominate a person/organisation that they would like to see speaking at The Art of Engagement conference.

This isn’t a competition as such but rather an opportunity for the sector to help shape the programme and suggest interesting and innovative stories/campaigns/speakers that they would like to hear from.

The chosen nominee will then be offered a 10-minute slot in the enlightening talks part of the programme. To nominate someone, a campaign or an organisation just fill in this short survey.

There’s a fundraiser in all of us

I’ve never identified myself as a fundraiser. This is because I work in communications and that’s my ‘title’.

But actually, I am a fundraiser. And I wish I’d realised it sooner.

Clayton Burnett’s Great Fundraising report by Professors’ Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang, showed that great fundraising organisations are those with staff and volunteers who are proud of their fundraising, whatever their job title.

The theme for the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention this year is ‘Proud to be a fundraiser!’ and I’m really proud to be an official blogger. For three days, charity professionals will be gathering to hear from our peers about corporate fundraising, individual giving, digital fundraising, community fundraising, events, volunteers and much more.

You can join in already by tweeting why you are proud to be a fundraiser, using the hashtag #proudfundraiser, and a Proud to be a Fundraiser Toolkit will be launched at the convention.

Here’s my latest fundraising initiative for the wonderful charity Child’s i and this is why I’m doing it.

 

So am I a fundraiser? Yes, I believe I am and I truly believe there’s a fundraiser in all of us.

Are you a Comms Hero?

If you work in Comms, in any sector, then the Comms Hero conference is for you. The lovely people over at Resource Housing have organised this conference, taking place on 13 May in Manchester, to share the ‘best of’ in Comms and Marketing. Best of all it’s delivered by comms people, for comms people. There’s a great line-up of speakers, including Dan Slee who helps head up the brilliant Comms2Point0.

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I am delighted to be able to offer a free ticket, worth £150, to one lucky person to attend. If you’d like a chance to win, please leave a comment on this blog post, starting with, “I’d love to win a ticket to Comms Hero because….”. A winner will be drawn at random on Friday 9 May at 10 am. Please note this prize is for a conference place only and does not include travel.

To find out more about the conference programme, visit the website. Follow Comms Hero on Twitter and keep an eye on the hashtag #commshero for lots of tips.

What I’m looking forward to at the Institute of Fundraising’s Digital Fundraising Conference

The Institute of Fundraising’s Digital Fundraising Conference takes place this coming Monday, the 9th September.

I am really excited to be their Conference Ambassador at the event and will be live tweeting throughout the day using the event hashtag #IoFDigital. So if you are unable to attend the event, you can still follow all the presentations with the hashtag and by following @IoFTweets and @LondonKirsty (that’s me).

Here is the programme for the day and, as you can see, it is jam-packed with great speakers and interesting topics. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Laila Takeh, Head of Digital Engagement at UNICEF, talk on Digital Transformation. I’ve heard Laila present a number of times before and she always leaves you with lots to think about.

Another session that has caught my interest is the Google and Grow your charity online Workshop with Richard Craig from Charity Technology Trust and Maryam Mossavar, Industry Manager for Nonprofit at Google. I’m hoping to pick up lots of tips to help small charities, in particular, through my freelance work.

Lastly, the Marketing Automation – Building the Strategy presentation with four speakers, including Robert Elliot from Save the Children, should be really good.

Not only will I be live tweeting but you can also count on there being a Storify the next day. Don’t forget to join in with the event using #IoFDigital

Takeaways from the Institute of Fundraising’s Technology conference

Last week I was very lucky to attend the Institute of Fundraising’s Technology conference as a guest of The Access Group.

IoF Technology Conference

IoF Technology Conference

It was a jam packed conference with excellent sessions including a keynote from Dan Sutch from Nominet on What does social tech innovation look like?

If you know me at all, you will know that I love to Storify so here it is:
View the story “The Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference” on Storify

My Top Takeaways were:

1. Creativity and risk taking, entrepreneurship and willingness are what we need to redesign how we use technology for good. Cancer Research UK’s Cell Slider is a great example of this in action.

2. Anticipated value of mobile transaction in 2013 is $600 billion yet how many charity websites do you know who can’t take a mobile payment? The time to optimise your website for mobile is now!

3. The mobile environment is difficult, ever changing and crowded but charities can not afford to ignore it – 25% of Save the Children’s donations are made through mobile.

4. Google Adwords should be part of an integrated marketing campaign. It’s about quality, not quantity. Get the basics right – structure, relevance and targeting – as it will drive more relevant traffic to your website and drive the costs down.

5. Be Digital First, focus on visual storytelling and engagement and maximise the potential of technology.

Your Tweets can help win £250 for Charity

The Access Group and thankQ are sponsoring tweets at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Special Interest Group (IoFTechSIG) conference on Friday 17 May.

From 10 am, every time you tweet using the hashtag #ioftech they will give 50p to charity, up to £250.
Any tweet including the hashtag #ioftech counts toward the target, even if you are not at the conference.

So join in the conversation and help raise some money for your favourite charity, which you can nominate by tweeting:

‘@name-of-the-charity’ gets my vote @theaccessgroup / @thankQ_HQ #ioftech

Every charity nominated will go into a draw and the winning charity will be announced at the end of the conference.