Volunteering at National Convention 2013

I greatly value learning and development. I’ve attended a number of fundraising training courses and conferences since achieving the Certificate in Fundraising Management with the Open University, back in 2008. Most of these have been with the Institute of Fundraising, Directory of Social Change, and Action Planning, and have included courses on Capital Appeals fundraising, Individual Donor strategies, Social Media and Fundraising, Faith sector events; and almost all have been in London. Sadly, my busy-ness over the past 12-18 months has meant that I’ve neglected personal development somewhat.

It’s about three years since I promised myself that I would attend the Institute of Fundraising’s flagship annual conference, National Convention. Cost and timing have been prohibitive factors since then. So when I saw an advert last month recruiting volunteers to help run National Convention I jumped at the chance. This presented an opportunity to network with fundraisers, sit in on at least one or two (as I understand it) of the sessions, help the Institute to deliver a successful event that will hopefully galvanise, inspire, equip and envision hundreds of fundraisers from across the UK, and generally experience the vibe of it all.

And I was thrilled to receive an email at the end of last week confirming that my volunteer application has been successful! I’m going to be part of the team making it happen!

At this point I’m looking forward to a very focussed burst of teamwork, meeting new people, solving the kind of logistical problems that such events throw up, learning more about event management, and expanding my own experience and knowledge. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog and tweet about nearer the time, as time allows.

In the meantime, if you’re going I look forward to seeing you there. Drop me a line or connect in one of the many, usual ways; and if you’ve been to National Convention before, share your own tips and advice for making the most of it, or your memories and stories of past-times.


To finish, here’s my volunteer application just to give a feel for my hopes and expectations.


“I’m a freelance fundraiser based in Nottingham, specialising in Trusts, Lottery and statutory grants in the East Midlands. A member of the Institute since 2007, I mostly work with small charities, adding short-term capacity and skills as they seek grant funding.

National Convention has been on my ‘professional development plan’ for the past 3 years, but the costs of travel, accommodation and attendance have always been beyond the reach of my modest training budget.

By volunteering I would benefit from networking opportunities on a scale not available in the East Midlands, as well as the chance to attend perhaps one or two sessions. This would greatly increase my exposure to different fundraising disciplines whilst giving me first hand experience of event management and the chance to work in a team of like-minded individuals.

I know that being around more than 2,000 fundraisers at National Convention would be an exciting experience, and one that would deliver great benefits to me in my fundraising career, which will also benefit the clients that I work with in the coming year.

In return, my own confident, hard-working and approachable manner, complemented by strong organisational and teamwork skills, can make a positive contribution to the enjoyment of everyone who attends the event.”

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