alo365's blog

Sharing thoughts & experiences

IoF National Convention 2011

This was my fourth year attending the convention, and I think it was the best year yet! It was amazing and I loved every minute! The convention kicked off on Sunday afternoon; setting up the stand and then off for drinks at the Windsor with a handful of fellow fundraisers.

Catching up with a few of the usual faces, I finally got to meet a number of twitterers in person, like @LucyInnovation@PreselySylwia, @Keanearrow, @Seidld, @RoxyMartinique, @NickinOxford and @AJLeon. Not to mention a number of folks who are not on Twitter, well not as yet anyway. It was great chatting to so many passionate, enthusiastic and inspirational fundraisers.

I found the last three days fantastic. Attended 6 sessions this year, around direct marketing and digital fundraising.  AJ’s session was extremely inspirational, being able to achieve such amazing results; with the use of digital fundraising, a few engaged supporters & an extremely influential blogger. As well as Lucy, speaking about innovation and her thoughts on how to think out side the boxes and pushing boundaries – you never quite know what you can create!

The blogging area was fantastic, even though I must admit, I did not spend a very long time there. Brilliant place to chill out and catch up with fellow delegates. Colorful bean bags, laptops and an internet connection – what more could you want when you have a few free moments. This year there was a much greater social media presence which was great, and brought the convention to life. Special thanks to Voice, Sylwia, Nick, Martyn and Steve who were tweeting, blogging and recording their hearts out.

There were a few subjects that seem to be in many conversations and sessions over the last few days:

  • Embrace failure and learn from it.
  • Innovation and pushing boundaries.
  • Provide supporters with choices.

Social media and technology have brought us many things, but it also means that change happens so quickly. The need to stay one step ahead and constantly be aware, that what worked a few months ago may not work now. Fundraising is getting tougher and the need for innovation is vital to every organisations long-term sustainability. I believe that there will be great things ahead; as more people focus on sharing and communications – we need to grab supporters attention, engage and involve them in the decision making process.

I can’t wait for next year, as each IoF National Convention seems to offer something new! Who know’s, we may just be in another venue that has a better wireless connection or presenting a new medium of fundraising.


A few lovely people that I have met, thanks to Twitter!


Why am I on Twitter?

I get asked this question so often…

I am on Twitter for a number of reasons. Instead of listing them out, which would be a tad boring & factual, I thought that I would share a bit about a few people that I have met in 2010 as a direct result of being on Twitter.

The first person that I ever met through Twitter was Rachel Beer @rachelbeer. It was lovely to finally meet the person behind the avatar. Our meeting was very brief, so I do hope the next time we meet we get to have a proper chat. She is just as lovely in person as she is on Twitter. Always willing to share her thoughts & feedback, and also helped me out with my cousins Xmas gifts this year! Bringing the NFP Tweetup to life, she certainly knows her stuff and is a true social media guru.

Paul De Gregorio @Pauldegregorio was the next person that I met up with several months ago, at his offices in Old Street. I was blown away by our conversation and his love of the sector. He is filled with so many ideas that I cannot wait to chat further about. A man who is extremely focused, with vast experience in telephone fundraising. On a new venture, that I wish him all the very best on. I am thrilled to be working with him on a project in the New Year!

Craig Linton @Frdetective was another person that I am extremely happy to have met. I had been following him on twitter for a few months, we had chatted (online) about fundraising, he had kindly given me some info & ideas on legacies. A few weeks later, he said to me that he had gotten the job as the New Head of Fundraising at the GLFB (a charity client that I had been working with for several years!) It shows you what a small world it really is… Within the next couple weeks, we had arranged a meeting (to chat about the current campaign), went out for a drink after and following this – I had found my first volunteering opportunity! I worked at the GLFB one day a week for three months, and I loved every minute! It made my decision to start my Msc in Charity Fundraising & Marketing something that I worked even harder towards. I share Craig’s vision on fundraising and what he wants to achieve at the GLFB. This man is truly inspirational and is out to make a difference in every charity that he works for. He is so enthusiastic & passionate about what he does – it was a privilege to work with him!

Anna Walsh @annarwalsh Now here is one extremely insightful, hard working & shrewd lady! 100% on the ball and passionate about fundraising & communication… I actually first met Anna a few years ago at her leaving party at Sense, through one of the guys that I used to work with. However, only pleasantries, and I have a feeling that I might have been gate crashing, but hey! (Hope that you didn’t mind Anna). Anyway, we connected through Twitter a couple of years later and she has been an absolute gem! I am so thrilled to have met up with her again. She is another person who I am very happy to have worked with, and hope to again in the future.

Nausheen Qureshi @POPNQ is a force to be reckoned with! I am not sure how she does it really (a question that I have actually asked her)… She has founded a charity, a skin care line & who knows what else will be next. Constantly working & on the go with new events, initiatives & ideas to raise money for Play Our Part – a charity who helps to support people who are affected by HIV/AIDS living in Africa. And also happens to have a fabulous accent to match her personality.

John Lepp @Johnlepp I believe that most people know and have chatted to this man. He is one that will probably take me awhile to meet up with in person, but one that I am more than happy to Skype & chat on twitter with! He is another person who I find extremely insightful and creative, with a vast knowledge of fundraising & helping charities to communicate more effectively with their supporters. An agent of good which I hope to work with in the not too distant future.

Recently I have started chatting to a very lovely lady who is extremely inspirational! Not sure if you know Hazel @CHD_UK. She is currently teaching in Spain & studying Child Psychology. Now here is a lady that I hope to meet up with when she comes back to the UK in September. A selfless, kind & hardworking individual who is helping to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects, as well as living with one herself.

Okay, so there you have it – here are just some of the lovely people that I have met thanks to being on Twitter. As I’m sure that you can tell, I am very much pro Twitter and always will be.

I look forward to connecting & meeting up with many more twitteries in 2011.

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