What Convention means to me

Convention audience

Guest Bloggers | 4 October 2017

The IoF Fundraising Convention is a crucial time in the year for Tom Dixon, who is Head of Philanthropy at Scope. Here, he explains why he finds it is a time for motivation, re-calibration and being inspired by others.

It’s number one on my calendar of must attend events and I’ve never failed to have a seminal, light bulb moment. Take this year, when Cleve Jones, one of the outstanding plenary speakers, took us on a journey through his life and left us with a rallying cry that had us all on our feet. Really brilliant.

July 2018 may seem a long way off now, but we are looking for anyone and everyone to submit their ideas for sessions. It is a real honour to be a presenter at Fundraising Convention, so submissions need thought and effort.

As a Convention Board member (we are the 20 odd volunteers from around the sector who review all of the applications and build the programme), we are looking for some key things:

Stand out

As fundraisers we know we have to stand out in a crowded market place. Your submissions need to be well thought through and have key points picked out. Containing evidence of success or failure and learnings ensures we know exactly what you were trying to achieve.


We are looking for a diverse range of speakers, topics and subjects. If you are a fundraiser, think about who you could present with. In the past there have been some amazing sessions from charities presenting with trust funders or corporate partners. Also, volunteers, beneficiaries or trustees can really add to the learning of the delegates.


Everyone loves innovation, but we want to ensure that topics, and presentations are relevant to the audience. We have small and large charities attending from different parts of the country, and we’d encourage everyone to think about the relevance of their work to those attending. Having said that bringing new ideas or ways of working that have worked or not can be useful for all.


Get your passion for your topic and for fundraising across in your submission. We want the very best line up possible, and energy and passion goes a long way.


We’ve seen some brilliant and different ways to deliver sessions over the last couple of years. From panels to a campfire session, think about interactivity and how delegates can share, discuss and participate. For group sessions, be realistic about timing – an hour flies by when you are in the thick of it so don’t try and do too much.

Above all, have a go. Get a submission in, and remember that to stand out, it needs thought, a great subject, energy and passion. Good luck, the closing date is 5pm Friday 6th October!

Tom Dixon, Head of Philanthropy, Scope and Fundraising Convention Board member



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