Tuesday, 3 June 2014

My personal picks for the 2014 National Convention

I blogged a while ago about what the National Convention means to me. In a nutshell, what can I learn that’s new. This year I’m focusing on the Personal Effectiveness and Bigger Picture streams, although I might stray :-)

So, what are the sessions I’m particularly looking forward to?

My first pick on day one – Monday 7 July – is Talking talent – the key to success.

Liz Tait and Sarah Lane presenting an interactive session on talent management. What’s not to love? I make no secret of my admiration for Liz, and Sarah co-ran what was, for me, the best session of the whole Convention in 2013.

Liz Tait has developed hugely successful – and motivated – teams over the years. The fundraising team at Battersea is one to be admired, watched and feared (in the best way possible). Sarah’s joint session last year on personal resilience was, simply, brilliant. Incredibly useful, personal, and full of take-aways I am still using.

If anything can stop me going to watch the Tour de France it’s this session.

And following on from this, how can I resist learning how to Become a Derren Brown of Fundraising.

I am truly intrigued by this session. Although I have visions of becoming a master manipulator of everyone I meet and taking over the whole fundraising world (*stifles an evil laugh here*), I really do want to know what this session is all about. It’s a wild card – but I’m bound to learn something. Which is why I’ll be queuing outside the room early to get a seat.

If I get invited to the National Awards on the Monday night (massive hint), I’ll have to choose Tuesday carefully. Something that won’t rock my inevitable sore head. (If I’m not, then I’ll be filled to the brim of fundraising beans).

Either way, I’m a bit torn for the 11am slot on day two. Two good sessions here pitted against each other. Number one is How PR can transform your results: Bestpractice case studies from the commercial world.

Hearing from outside the sector is always useful. We can be quite mired in a ‘them and us’ mindset, and even if the budgets involved are way beyond our reach this is no reason to ignore the case studies and the learnings.

The second session is an old favourite, Mr Bernard Ross. This session is about Emotional Intelligence in Fundraising: how to improve results by developing EI as a coreskill. Nobody does this sort of thing better than Bernard. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. We fundraisers are a passionate bunch and stating that emotionally intelligent individuals are more likely to succeed professionally and personally has to be a reason to go to this session.

I suspect it might come down to a coin-toss as to which I attend.

From 3pm I’ll be part of the Convention Career Advice Clinic. So do book in with me if you think I’ve anything to offer you (I promise I’ll try to be interesting, useful and maybe even a little bit inspiring).

Wednesday sees day three and the sadness that is the last day. What will I be going to? First stop is Eight Great Global Arts Fundraising Ideas. An area of fundraising historically underrepresented at the Convention. An area about which I, to my shame, know little about. And as it’s all about learning new things, this is where I’ll be headed at 3pm.

And to finish the Convention I’m going to a session that might infuriate me as much as inspire me: David vs Goliath. Having recently had a discussion with someone from a well-known large charity after they stated “there is nothing we can learn from small charities,” I’m hoping there will be time for questions and debate in this session. After all, that’s always a good way to end three days of fundraising immersion.

There are, of course, many many more fantastic sessions (I might even blog about these), but these are my personal ‘must-attend’ picks. I’ll be at others. I might even see some of you at them. Make sure you say hi!

Danielle Atkinson

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