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2nd - 4th July 2018

The Barbican

What's in it for freelancers and consultants?

: Sarah Eite

When I decided to enter the brave new world of freelance fundraising consultancy, I made a commitment to myself to continue to invest in my own professional and personal development. The reality of juggling numerous clients, projects and deadlines sometimes means that this is easier said than done. But for me, it’s critical to stay connected with the latest developments in our sector.

No longer in-house at a charity, I’ve had to work much harder to do this. As well as volunteering on the Fundraising Convention board, I’m a member of the Institute of Fundraising, avid follower of ‘all things fundraising’ across social media, and have a great network of fundraising professionals that I meet and work with on a regular basis. But I need to do more than that, because investing in my continued learning makes me better at my job.

When I discuss Fundraising Convention with fellow fundraising consultants or those in senior fundraising roles, some are immediately dismissive. They tell me that they haven’t attended “for years” because the content is “too basic” and/or “there’s nothing new to learn”. In a sector that’s facing new challenges almost daily, how can there be nothing new to learn?

If you’re a doubter, my advice is to come along to this year’s Convention and see for yourself how we’re continually upping our game, working hard as a Convention Board to bring an innovative and informative conference together. Hand-picking experts and case studies from within and outside of the sector, our aim is to inspire, educate, and challenge delegates. So, what can experienced freelancers and fundraising consultants expect to get out of this year’s Convention? Here’s my take…


Hear the very latest thinking from external stakeholders

We’ve asked Mike Barry (Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer) to return to Convention this year to share his latest thoughts on sustainability. HSBC, Yorkshire Building SocietyMorrisons, and Deloitte bring further commercial perspectives on partnerships, and the Trusts track features a Meet the Funder session that’s not to be missed.

Challenge and debate the big issues

Fundraising is moving at a faster pace than ever before, and it isn’t okay to say “we’ve always done it like this”. Whether it’s ethics in fundraisingdiversity, or the future of corporate partnerships, Convention offers the opportunity to explore and discuss the hottest topics facing our profession.

Step outside of your area of expertise

Learnings and success stories from income streams outside of your own specialism can be hugely valuable. That’s why I’ll be heading off-piste from the Philanthropy and Partnerships tracks to join what’s set to be a fascinating session on building big digital movements, and finding out why legacy fundraising is 'the new cool kid on the block'.

Connect with peers

One of the many reasons I love working in the third sector is the support we give each other as professionals. We’ve seen this in the fundraising community more than ever in recent weeks. Freelancing can feel quite solitary at times and Convention provides the opportunity to meet others in similar roles, to share experiences and explore opportunities for collaborative working. I find this invaluable.

Be inspired

Most of all, Fundraising Convention never fails to inspire me and refresh my passion for what I do. Last year, Cleve Jones brought the entire audience to their feet and I have no doubt that this year’s plenary speakers will do the same.

My closing questions to all freelance fundraisers and fundraising consultants are these:

• When was the last time you made the time to step away from your day job to reflect, grow and learn?

• Where else can you immerse yourself for three days in debating the latest trends in fundraising, focusing on your personal effectiveness and exploring the bigger picture?

• Are you sure there’s nothing new for you to learn?

I hope to see you there!

Sarah Eite, Fundraising Consultant at Eite Consulting, and Fundraising Convention board member

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