Making the leap from delegate to conference speaker

Scottish Fundraising Conference 2017

Guest Bloggers | 6 January 2017

I am a Scottish Fundraising Conference superfan. There you go, I admit it. As long as I’ve been a fundraiser the conference has always been a date in my diary to look forward to. A couple of days away from my desk with a chance to refocus, gain new ideas and reaffirm that what I’ve been doing is on the right track.

Last year I took the leap from delegate to event speaker. What an emotional rollercoaster that was.

Upon receiving the email inviting me to apply to be a 2016 speaker, my honest initial response was “Oh god. No, no, no... Agh!” Public speaking in the form of raffles, big cheques and school assemblies. Easy peasy. But how would I deal with presenting to my peers, sector leaders and experts in fundraising whom I admire and respect?

Then came the realisation that this wasn’t something to be scared of. It was an excellent opportunity to share successful fundraising practise whilst also developing my presentation skills.

Back in 2015 I led a fundraising trek to Mount Kilimanjaro, where an incredible £193,000 (net) was generated in aid of MND Scotland. This proved to be the charity’s most profitable event ever and created a team of supporters for life. Surely my fellow fundraisers would be interested in hearing about this?

Preparing for the session didn’t take up too much of my time, and it was actually a lot of fun reliving the experience all over again from start to finish. I decided to use an online application called Prezi to put together my presentation, rather than the traditional PowerPoint. I felt it offered a much more engaging way to display my materials and I was able to create a mountain theme too, which was a perfect fit for my topic!

On the day my nerves had turned into excitement and I couldn’t wait to share our success story. My concerns of nobody turning up were soon dispelled when the room slowly became more and more full. The one hour slot flew by with lots of encouraging smiles, laughs, questions and applause to follow.

It was a thumbs up from my colleague in the front row.

I breathed a sigh of relief and with an overwhelming sense of achievement walked out to lunch with a wee grin on my face.

Being an IoF conference speaker has given me a whole new confidence in my professional ability and public speaking skills - and has widened my network greatly. For me, it was the most beneficial and rewarding conference to date. It presented me with a valuable opportunity to showcase my work on a recognised platform and I believe it has enhanced my reputability in the sector.

It was an honour to be part of a conference that has an ethos of collaboration with an aim to be the best we can be. For anyone who is considering putting forward an application to speak at the 2017 conference – go for it! Be proud of the great work you are doing in Scotland and shout about it.

Aside from the guaranteed satisfaction and new connections you will make from being a speaker, you never know what other opportunities it will bring – and the free conference pass is a bonus too!


Lisa Glenday, Scotland Charity Manager, Really Wild Challenges

After 5 years working as a Community & Events Fundraiser Lisa’s love for charity, fundraising and travel has recently led her to a new adventure as Scotland Charity Manager at Really Wild Challenges. In her spare time she is Trustee of local charity Perth Autism Support and is training for a trek to Machu Picchu later in 2017. Lisa’s session about overseas challenges was rated second highest at the 2016 Scottish Conference. You can view her presentation here.


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