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.

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 tips for social media

This month I was delighted to be invited to present two social media workshops. The first was at Trading Aces which was organised by Andy Brady,  head of learning and research for charities & social enterprises at Anglia Ruskin University. The second was at the Small charities communications conference in London, organised by CharityComms.

The workshops were fun, although challenging! When you only have an hour, it’s tempting to try to cram in as much as you can but I focused mainly on Facebook and Twitter and tried to give practical and actionable tips for a range of expertise levels. As an accredited trainer, I would usually spend half a day to a full day focusing on social media (and even more if I could) so having just an hour was interesting! I had some really great feedback straight after the workshops and a few emails too so I’m delighted they had a good response.

As part of the workshops I put together a Ten Top Tips for Social Media handout, which delegates could take away with them to stick up at their desk. Download your free copy by clicking on the image. I hope you find it useful!

 

10 Top Tips for social media

I’m a Squared Online Graduate!

I started my Squared Online – Google’s digital marketing course- journey in July 2014 and am very proud to say I graduated on Thursday!

If you are interested in the course, I have blogged throughout. One of the highlights of the course has been the people I have got to meet in my two project groups – really talented, clever people who were a pleasure to work with.

I have learnt a lot from the course but as it’s an online course, you do need to put in the time and effort. I’m particularly proud of my team’s Google Analytics report for the fourth project. Our group was cited as one of the best reports overall and my Conversion Report was chosen as ‘the best of’! For our last project we had to produce a Whitepaper and our group got the insurance sector. Once again ours was cited in the live graduation class as one of the best, so I’m immensely proud of my group and the hard work we put in.

Congratulations to all my fellow July cohort Squares and all the best to those still on the journey or those starting out. Give it your all!

Thoughts on Squared Online Module One

I promised to post about my Squared Online journey so here are my thoughts now that module one is complete.

The first module is all about A connected world and it forced us to think about our own digital life. If I’m honest, I found this module rather basic but I understand that the course is made up of around 300 – 400 people all with varying levels of experience and we need to start somewhere. From module two, where we are put into groups to work on our projects, it steps up in terms of level of difficulty.

At the end of module one we had to complete a project, which was to create a video to introduce ourselves to our fellow ‘Squares’. Having no prior experience of creating a video, I was considering just doing a basic webcam video. However, the whole point of me taking part in this course was to learn, so learn I did. I used Window’s Movie Maker to create my video and although the recommended time to finish the project was 2 hours, this probably took me about 6. Yes, seriously…

It’s not a great video, I admit. But I did it all by myself with no help at all and I’m really rather proud of it. If it were a picture, I would have stuck it to my fridge with a magnet.

Module two will look at how to think commercially and the project looks challenging. Bring it on!

Squared Online- a digital journey

Last night was my first Squared Online course. Squared Online is Google’s Digital Marketing course and I will be embarking on this virtual learning journey over the next six months.

These are my thoughts so far:

1. The classes are all conducted online, every Thursday night from 7 – 8pm. This is a challenge for me as I much prefer face-to-face. I found (when it was enabled), the reams of messages from fellow Squares rather distracting. Looking at them too much made me feel slightly sea sick. On the plus side, I was in my pajamas and sipping a cider – not something you can do in a face-to-face class…(at least I don’t think you can).

2. From module 2 (or maybe it’s 3…I forget) we will be put into groups ranging from 5 to 8 people and assessed as a group. Again, this is challenging for me. I’m not a perfectionist but I feel slightly uneasy about having to rely on people I don’t know to pull their weight and make as much out of the course as I plan to do.

3. I need to get over the unease of virtual classes and group work and just get on with it.

Things I’m looking forward to are:

1. Making the most of this opportunity and learning as much as I possibly can, then putting it into practice.

2. Meeting new people from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures, with different levels of experience and hopefully having lots of interesting discussions (note: discussions, not arguments).

3. Challenging myself.

4. Sharing what I’ve learnt.

I’ll be posting about my journey along the way so check back for regular updates.

Oh, and if you’re also taking part: I’m in the green group. If you are too and you’re on Twitter, let me know and I’ll add you to my list.

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.