Is Fundraising Convention just for fundraisers?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Fundraising Convention, the Institute of Fundraising’s annual conference, is just for fundraisers because – well, the clue is in the name… but you’d be wrong.

This year marks my fourth Fundraising Convention and yet, I’m not a fundraiser. So why do I go?

I have four reasons:

  • To improve my fundraising knowledge
  • To challenge my own thinking
  • To network
  • To leave inspired by passionate speakers and amazing campaigns

Most fundraisers don’t work in silos. They work together with the communications and digital teams to ensure that their fundraising campaigns have inspiring copy, compelling images, reach the right people and are easy for people to donate or get involved. Whilst we all have our own specialisms, it’s important to build knowledge and skills in other disciplines so that we can work together more effectively and efficiently.  That’s why I attend Convention – so that I can improve and build on my knowledge and understanding of fundraising.

At last year’s Convention there was a brilliant Women Leaders in Fundraising panel discussion, which gave me lots of food for thought. This year one of the key themes is Diversity (and rightly so) and I’m looking forward to the BAME fundraisers in the UK – what’s race got to do with it? session as well as Pride in fundraising. I want to challenge my own assumptions and my own thinking.

Convention offers so many opportunities to network, which as a trustee of Small Charities Coalition, a Third Sector columnist and a freelancer is fantastic. There’s the delegate drinks on the Tuesday evening, for one, which is always an excellent opportunity to meet your peers. And don’t forget the lunch and coffee breaks! And if you need some tips on how to network, read this fab article on CharityComms.

Last year I spent most of my time in the Digital Stream sessions – another reason why non-fundraisers should attend Convention – and I left feeling inspired by the amazing speakers.

This year, I’ve picked out these sessions that I’m really excited about:

And here’s a whole bunch of other comms sessions, hand picked by CharityComms and the IoF. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about being a young trustee, come along to my session with Leon Ward and the Charity Commission.

I’ll once again be blogging the highlights. If you want to see what my highlights were from last year, you’ll find them here.

So if I’ve managed to convince you that Fundraising Convention is not just for fundraisers, book your ticket here.

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.

The best group you’ll ever join

I’d like to introduce you to the best group on Facebook for people who work in the charity sector in PR or Comms (although just ‘charity’ will do really as we talk about a whole host of topics). The Third Sector PR and Communications Network was set up by Rob Dyson of Whizz-Kidz and the group has grown to over 2,100 members.

Third Sector PR and Comms Facebook group

Members can post questions, ask for advice, share relevant content or even post jobs. Recently we had a great debate about Binky Felstead being paid by Barnardo’s to promote their retail shops.

The best thing about the group is that you can post a question and get answers in minutes. It’s also a great way to network and get some peer to peer support. So if you’d like to join, send a request! Please take a look at the pinned post and send me a private message if it’s not clear from your Facebook profile that you work in the sector. This is to avoid spammers.