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What I learned from this year’s National Fundraising ConventionAmber Creagh

by Amber Creagh, Account Manager


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What I learned from this year’s National Fundraising Convention

It's been a busy start to the summer here at HOME, with colleagues attending IFC Asia and then, just a week later, the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention (#IoFFC).

I've been with HOME for just over a year now, and that time has flown by. The company is keen that we always build on our learning and really supports our development in lots of ways. Having the opportunity to go to Convention again was something that I’d been looking forward to. I did attend last year but everything was very new then, I’d just started working in fundraising and was finding my feet. This year felt very different, I’ve been promoted and certainly learned a lot about myself and the job in the last 12 months!

Going along this year wasn’t at all daunting as I knew what to expect. I think it’s just the scale of Convention really; there’s so much that you can access. Such a broad session programme means that you can choose to learn about many different areas of fundraising, as well as meet other fundraisers and learn from their experiences. I usually come back from conferences even more invigorated about the importance of fundraising and my role working with some amazing causes. I’m happy to say that this was no exception.

This year, the first session I went along to was Lucy Gower’s ‘Inspiring others through story’ and I really benefitted from that. She spoke about her experiences when she worked on the switchboard for the NSPCC, there she learnt how important it is to know who you are talking to and to make the way you speak emotive for them.

Her message spoke to me in the sense that our fundraisers are out there every day telling a story to people on behalf of our charities. At HOME, we are very aware of the power that good storytelling holds and how stories can inspire members of the public to donate to the charities we represent.

There were so many great speakers, but I think one that stood out for me was Matthew Sherrington. In his workshop, ‘Goose or rabbit? Leadership lessons from animals’ he told us to 'Eat your frogs first'! By this, he meant that if you have something scary, time-consuming or boring to do in any day, do it first... it’s all downhill from there.

During Convention there were lots of really clear messages about how hard the sector is working and how proud we are of our successes. But I think that my three main take home messages were:

  • Fundraising is changing with the world. There is no use being stubborn or stuck in your ways in a constantly developing field, we need to learn from what we’ve done, adapt it and keep moving forward.
  • Eat your frogs first! I found this to be solid advice that is easy to put into action and can really change your working day.
  • It's important to get to know yourself and to bring your personality into your working life. This is something that HOME has always said since day one – I was encouraged to bring my real self to work rather than leave my personality outside the door. This is really important for us as fundraisers as the role can be so demanding, it can be difficult to find the right balance. This reminded me of the importance of taking time to step back and really think about who you are.

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