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:
- Content chaos – practical steps you need to take to clean up your digital content – with Kristie Winsen from Tearfund and Nicola O’Connor from Autistica
- Building big digital movements – Paul de Gregorio, Open (who I’m a big fan of) and Kenneth Pennington, Fundraising and Media Consultant, Bernie Saunders Campaign
- Digital transformation in practice – Tom Barker, National Trust and Simon Honnor, NSPCC
- Being brave on social media – Melissa Thermidor (who spoke last year and was ace), NHS Blood and Transplant and Rebecca Sterry, Autistica
- 10 ways to become digital for less than a tenner – Mandy Johnson, CEO of Small Charities Coalition
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.