An opportunity for first time speakers

16 February 2024
Standard Content

Gary Kernahan, Executive Director at Think, has spent many years volunteering for the Scottish Fundraising Conference and Awards Committee. In this blog, Gary discusses the opportunity for first time speakers at the Conference and why you should consider sharing your learnings with the fundraising community.

I was delighted in 2022 and 2023 to serve as the Co-Chair of the Scottish Fundraising Conference and Awards. When I look back at the events our volunteer Committee delivered for the sector, one of the proudest achievements for me was the amount of first-time speakers we welcomed.

The 2022 event was the first meaningful gathering of fundraisers post-COVID, and it featured 77 speakers, 50 (65%) of whom were speaking for the first time. In 2023 we continued to provide a platform for first time speakers, and out of the 82 speakers at the Conference, 49 (60%) spoke for the first time.

The Conference offers a great space for sharing, and learning, but speaking in front of your peers can be daunting. I personally used to be terrified of public speaking, (when I was a student I would actively avoid picking subjects that included presentation as part of them), and was initially filled with dread when asked by a colleague to co-present at Fundraising Convention with her.

Doing the scary things help us grow and develop. Speaking at Conferences is great for your personal and professional development, it helps to establish you in your field, and it shows you can communicate clearly and confidently.

Scotland is a unique country. We want to continue to build a programme that is representative of our fundraising community. Applications from everyone and anyone are welcome.

To help our speakers, we've partnered with the Elischer Foundation to deliver training for them, and have a Committee member dedicated to speaker liaison. We understanding planning now for a session to be delivered in September might be tricky, but if you have an idea get in touch and one of our team can help you shape it.

The Conference calls for papers is open now. We are looking for people to delivery one-hour sessions, plenary presentations and two-hour masterclasses.

To anyone thinking of applying to speak at the Scottish conference, do it. And remember everyone has a story to tell, and no one is better at telling your story than you.

The deadline for the Scottish Fundraising Conference call for papers is midday on Wednesday, 13 March 2024. Submit your ideas here.

Gary Kernahan
Gary Kernahan
Executive Director at Think, Scottish Fundraising Conference and Awards committee member, Trustee for the Chartered Institute
Members Only Content