What I'm looking forward to at this year’s Convention

29/03/2024 | by Jade Secker, Convention Board member

The most anticipated event in the fundraising calendar is fast approaching. That’s right, it’s nearly time for the Chartered Institute's Fundraising Convention 2024. Building on the success of previous conventions, this year promises to be even more inspiring and empowering.

As a volunteer Board member, I have the pleasure of working with a dedicated team to plan and curate a diverse and enriching schedule of speakers, sessions, networking opportunities and fringe activities. There really is something for everyone to enjoy and gain valuable knowledge from across our 2-day event at the QEII Centre in London, whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out on your journey as a career fundraiser. This is one of the many things that makes Convention so special; its ability to unite and connect people in the sector who are all at different points in their careers and from such a broad range of organisational causes and sizes, but all with one mission: to make a difference.

We all know times are incredibly tough at the moment which of course places an immense amount of pressure on fundraisers to continually come up with new, innovative campaigns that will generate the support needed to keep their organisations’ services afloat. With Convention’s theme for 2024 being “Learning and Thriving Together,” I am looking forward to being a part of a space where fundraisers can openly acknowledge the challenges that a job in the charity world can bring, but also recognises and truly celebrates the opportunities, successes, and togetherness of our wonderful sector.

Fundraising Convention showcases some of the best examples in storytelling, innovation, and campaigning across all fundraising disciplines and it’s once again a privilege to be a part of the planning for this years’ event. I always find it so difficult to choose which sessions to attend and, with the full programme now confirmed, I know this year is going to be no different. The enthusiasm, diverse knowledge, specialisms, and skill that our range of speakers bring to Convention is second to none and there will be a whole host of insights, successes, and trends for us as fellow fundraisers to take away and embed within our own organisations. In fact, whilst I am always sad when the 2-day event comes to an end, one of the things I most look forward to is knowing I will be leaving convention with a notepad brimming with exciting ideas and data insights that I cannot wait to further explore when I get back to the office.

We also have a great range of tracks on offer again this year including our Legacy and in Memory track, kindly sponsored by National Free Wills Network, and of course our ever-popular Public Fundraising and Mass Engagement track is also back for 2024, generously sponsored by Woods Valldata. The full track list, along with an overview of what you can expect from each one can be found here. This year I am thrilled to be working on the Career Development, Leadership and Wellbeing track with my fellow Board members Joy and James, and we have an amazing array of content planned. One of our sessions is a fascinating panel discussion on trauma-informed approaches to fundraising which will be using a trauma-informed lens to look at how we best support ourselves, our colleagues and our supporters. Another session that is top of my list to attend is hosted by transformative life coach, Matt Midler, who will be taking to the stage to demystify coaching to help attendees improve wellbeing and performance as well as retention within fundraising teams. As part of this, he will be running a live coaching session with one of our delegates which will bring a fresh and exciting element to the day and provide an amazing opportunity for one of our attendees.

But beyond the schedule, what truly sets Convention apart is the sense of community and camaraderie it fosters. It's an amazing opportunity to connect with fellow professionals, share experiences, and draw inspiration from each other's journeys from across such a diverse range of organisations. There will be a whole host of networking opportunities available throughout the event which I will definitely be adding to my schedule of must-do’s; from visiting some of this years’ amazing exhibitors and being able to see demos of their new and innovative products, through to attending some of the fringe activities running across both days of the event including wellbeing activities and CV workshops.

New to convention this year? Don’t worry! One of my favourite things about Convention is how welcoming all of the volunteers, staff team and delegates are; the event even has a dedicated space for newbies to meet other like-minded professionals attending for the first time. Our seasoned delegates are always on hand to answer any questions and give you some top convention tips too!

Finally, I am probably most excited about the return of our National Fundraising Awards which recognise and reward best practice in the sector and provide a platform to showcase some incredible fundraisers and their amazing successes. The Awards will be taking place on the evening of Wednesday 3 July at the QEII Centre where we'll gather to celebrate excellence, innovation, and the remarkable impact of fundraising efforts from people like YOU.

And so, as July fast approaches and the anticipation mounts for the 2024 Fundraising Convention, I am reminded of the immense privilege it is to be part of such a vibrant and dynamic community. With each passing year Convention continues to evolve, offering a platform for learning, growth, and connection unlike any other across the sector. As we navigate the challenges of our time, I am inspired by the resilience and dedication of our fellow fundraisers, united by a shared mission to make a difference. Together, the event encourages us to embrace the spirit of "Learning and Thriving Together," celebrating our successes, acknowledging our challenges, and forging ahead with new connections, purpose, and determination.

I can’t wait to see you there!