3rd – 5th July 2017
The Barbican

The fundraising sector’s sense of community seems greater than ever before – let’s keep inspiring

: Liz Tait

Liz Tait, Chair of the Fundraising Convention Board, discusses how sharing new ideas has inspired innovation across the sector, which is vital to engaging donors and supporting beneficiaries.

It's been pretty amazing to see how the fundraising sector has responded and adapted to the enormous challenges that we've faced over the last two years. It's been tough old times - but our sense of community seems to me to be greater than ever before. Over the last year I've loved watching the Fundraising Chat Facebook group flourish with fundraisers from all corners of the sector supporting each other (thank you Lucy & Lesley) and seeing the Institute bring us together to respond effectively to the new world in which we're working (thank you Peter and team).

The rate of innovation in fundraising is like nothing I've seen before in my career. I think it's fair to say that we're all looking for new opportunities, new channels and new propositions to help build our fundraising in the future. We've been forced out of our 'comfy corner' of over reliance on what is tried and tested to drive growth (although I'm not sure fundraising could ever have been described as comfy...)

At Battersea like many other charities, we're taking risks with more creative approaches and being bolder than ever before. And hand on heart I'm not sure we would have innovated so fast if it hadn't been for the events of 2015.

So with a focus on innovation and a 'fail fast' approach built into our new fundraising strategy, last year at Battersea we sent our talented Innovation Champions from across our fundraising department to Fundraising Convention - to seek ideas, insight and inspiration. The team covered almost every session and the learnings were fed directly back into our Innovation Forum. And we plan to do exactly the same this year as we know that Convention is bursting with fantastic content and fresh thinking developed by some of the best fundraisers in the business.

For me personally, one of the best days of 2016 was on Tuesday 5th July - starting the day with an inspirational plenary from Tanni Grey Thompson and finishing with the very moving performance of Cathy Come Home - and packed full of brilliant sessions and networking in between. I bounced home that evening full of beans and a with a renewed sense of purpose about the difference fundraising can and does make in the world.  It's sometimes easy to forget that when our world has been somewhat overtaken by discussions about compliance and data protection. But fundraising itself - and connecting our supporters with the beneficiaries that need their help - is and remains a joyful experience and a hugely rewarding profession. 

This year’s Fundraising Convention is once again fast approaching and I for one can't wait for the first week in July. I cherish the rare time away from the day job to think, listen, question, reflect and connect. And I fully expect the Convention to once again be sprinkled with a dose of inspiration and to come away energised and focused on how I can become a better fundraiser.

So in advance, thank you to the Convention Board and team at the IoF for all their efforts in pulling together the stellar programme that we have lined up.

Please don't miss out and join the fundraising community at the biggest and best fundraising conference in the country (and if you'd like to share any brilliant ideas with my Innovation Champions whilst you're there that would be brilliant too!)

Take a look at Liz's Convention session: Women leaders in fundraising

Liz Tait, Chair of the Fundraising Convention Board and Director of Fundraising, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Book your place at Fundraising Convention 2017

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