I was both shocked and inspired by the debate when I convened a panel discussion about Women in Fundraising at this year’s Fundraising Convention.
In today’s communication fuelled world, most of us are happy to share our lives on social media. Even my 72-year-old father, new to the world of social media, happily posts photos of his latest golfing successes on Facebook. But are we using these platforms in the right way to develop and enhance our careers?
As a recent convert to the charity sector, I have been intrigued to observe the differences this sector brings in comparison to the commercial companies I have previously worked for – the abundance of cake, endless jargon and the inspirational can-do mentality from the people around me. However, one of the biggest surprises I’ve found is the predominance of women who work in this sector.
As a sole fundraiser, meeting other fundraisers and sharing commonalities and challenges is so important. And as an arts and culture fundraiser, adapting fundraising techniques and showcasing creative success is equally crucial.
Fundraising Convention was memorable for so many reasons with a real buzz of excitement after a couple of very challenging years. We could have had relentless self-pitying GDPR moans and groans but we didn’t. That isn’t what Convention is about. It is about reflecting, learning, improving and embracing change and this year we had this by the bucket load.
I’ve come away from the three intense days at Fundraising Convention bursting with new ideas, inspired to invigorate processes and products in my own organisation, and with new contacts to help progress those ideas and my career.
On the leadership panel at this year’s Fundraising Convention, I was introduced as the token white middle-aged middle-class, straight, able-bodied bloke, and asked how I dealt with that.
When I received a call from the IoF West Midlands Committee sharing the news that my bursary application for Fundraising Convention had been successful, I was more than a little elated. It’s been two years since I've attended Convention and with the sector continually changing, and many personal and professional growth opportunities in my role at The Haven Wolverhampton during this time too, I was eager to get down to London and learn.
Three people made more than 3,000 of us stop to look at ourselves very differently last week. Between them, the plenary speakers at Fundraising Convention compelled us to consider our creativity, our cultural understanding and our mission for diversity. It’s what brought us to the Barbican Hall each day; that opportunity to truly reflect and be moved to create change.
Lean In Circles are small groups which meet regularly to learn and grow together. They are dedicated to helping women step outside of their comfort zones and achieve their ambitions.