Why You Should Go To That Fundraising Conference!

Break the bank!

Break the bank!

It’s fall (or whenever) and you’ve got those back-to-school ants in your panties. You hear about a sexy fundraising conference – yay! But then reality sets in when you consider the following.

  • They’re a lot of money! And you’ll probably have to pay for travel too, since it’s unlikely your city has its own development conference.
  • Your boss says disturbing things like: “If I give you the time off, you better come back with useful information to share with the whole team.”
  • Worse, your boss says: “You’ll have to take vacation days if you’re going to miss work.”
  • Even worse, your boss says: “The professional development budget is $47. For the whole department.”

Here’s why you should ignore all that, sell your scooter to a hot Italian neighbour, and pay your own way.

First, you’ll get to know that hot Italian neighbour a lot better – Ciao Francesco!

Second, and Most Importantly, you will get the opportunity to re-charge, re-group and fall in love with your profession all over again.

That’s no small feat as fundraising can really wear you down over time. There’s more than one reason why fundraisers change jobs so often, but a key factor is the core frustration with a job that few people want to do.

We shrug it off most of the time of course (because we do love it), but it is HARD work! I once met a former child soldier who now works in the non-profit sector. He told me the hardest thing for him was – wait for it! – fundraising! Seriously, just you go read that sentence again and let the meaning sink in.

Saving this kind of dough is out of reach for some people, but if you can swing it and send yourself for some professional development, you’ll be able to learn new approaches and information with a group of colleagues who know exactly what you’re going through. I come back from these events floating on moonbeams, re-assured of what it takes to do this job and re-assured that I’m doing it right.

You may even be able to guilt your boss into paying for some of the costs once she hears you’re paying out of pocket. And as for reporting back to the team on what you learned, there’s a blog post for that.

Inspired to shake out the piggy bank? Here are some fantastic conferences in no particular order.

  1. Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Congress in Toronto (November)
  2. AFP International. A moving target, it changes locations among major Canadian and US cities. (spring)
  3. International Fundraising Congress in The Netherlands. A high registration fee, but it has an amazing array of international experts. (fall)
  4. Festival del Fundraising in Northern Italy. Sessions are either in English or translated. (spring) Ciao Francesco!
  5. AFP Vancouver. They’re re-launching a local conference in fall 2015 with a one-day summit.

See you there!

Siobhan : )


About Siobhan Aspinall

About Siobhan Aspinall: I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), passionate about the environment, social causes and surfing. I have been fundraising in Vancouver, Canada for over 20 years and love working with people who have a fear of fundraising. Call me for help developing a first-time fundraising plan, starting up a major gifts program, writing a case for support, or anything else that's keeping you awake at night! Please find me on linkedin and tell me what you'd like to see in future posts! : ) Photo Credit (sanddollar header): Minette Layne via Compfight cc
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