How to position the 'ask' and attend Fundraising Convention

: Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity, explains how you can convince your boss to let you attend this year's Fundraising Convention.

Imagine this: you’re having a conversation in your office with a colleague (You’ve probably just finished talking about Game of Thrones or Brexit, both are equally important). 

“Have you seen the Fundraising Convention programme this year?” you say.“No I haven’t, is it good?” comes the reply.

“Oh it’s amazing this year. The Monday is really relevant to me and you should think about the Tuesday. We should also show it to Tim, John and Debbie as they’d be really interested too” you enthuse.

“What about our training budgets. There’s never any money and our boss doesn’t sign anything off. What shall we do?”.

If this sounds familiar to you, then you really need to think about how you will position the ask to you boss and provide a compelling case that the budget is an investment in you and the team. We’re fundraisers! We make compelling cases all the time. As someone from a small organisation with very limited resources and based outside of London, I really value these days, and opportunities where me and my team and cram a lot in and get great value for money.

Meeting your objectives

Everyone will have objectives, and the SMARTer the better. Showing how Fundraising Convention will meet some or all of your objectives is key to proving it’s worth. With so much great content, so many great speakers, and so many networking opportunities in one place. You can really make good use of the cost of a ticket. Do you need to think differently this year? Does your boss want you to focus on collaboration to stretch what you can do as an organisation? "No we’re not merging" would be a great way to learn how the Dementia Revolution have successfully proven that collaboration can bring fundraising and PR success.

Improving yourself

Are there key areas of your learning and development plan that you need to take forward. It might be how you tell stories and the best use of them in fundraising, or how you present yourself and your cause to funders, stakeholders or others. Fundraising Convention has sessions on these with some of the best speakers in the sector. Lucy Gower will be taking us through the 'the importance and power of story-telling', and Simon Scriver tackles 'better public speaking for good'. A great way to think about how you can improve yourself in some key areas of fundraising. 

Keep supporters happy

Maybe a big part of your role is ensuring supporters have the best experience. It’s a big challenge especially as recruitment of supporters is becoming harder and harder. Save the Children and the British Red Cross are teaming up to tell you about how they have worked to improve the supporter experience, how to develop and implement a strategy and the benefits of an engaged audience. 

Learning from failure

In a new session to this year’s Fundraising Convention, we bring you: I wish I hadn’t done that! It’s true that learning from failure is crucial to developing and growing as a person and as an organisation. A great way to do this is to learn from someone else’s mistakes. These will be highlighted in this session that should be fun with crucial learnings.

There’s so many networking opportunities and inspirational moments at Fundraising Convention. I have taken a lot away in the past and have made connections from years ago that are still going strong. You can present a case to your boss from both an organisational and personal point of view. Just spend some time getting it right and it will be money your organisation spends very wisely. You are the key to an organisations success, and you need to be invested in. Go and make the case now!

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