The Art of Conferencing: What we’ve learned one year on

As the year draws to a close and we continue to celebrate Text Giving’s first birthday, we’re also taking the time to reflect on a full year of attending charity conferences. We’ve been to a real range of events over the past 12 months – from regional to national, digitally-focused to more general, and even the physical to the virtual (more about that later). We’ve also learnt a lot… here, we share our experiences.

The first and perhaps most obvious thing that we’ve learnt is that meeting people really is priceless. We have so valued the opportunity to speak to charities face-to-face at these conferences – whether that’s getting the chance to speak to new groups of people who we’ve never spoken to before, or greeting those who are already a part of our Donr community but are based in a different city to us.

Another lesson learned here is to always listen above talking – because, quite simply, it’s the UK’s 200,000 charities who know the sector, and the challenges and issues being faced, the best! How can we improve our platform to be the most helpful it can possibly be for charities without listening to our crowd?

This year, we’ve ensured a consistent back and forth with charities who have suggested improvements to our dashboard – and features such as the Campaign Descriptions tool and our Donorfy integration came directly from requests made by our community.

Donr's stand at the IoF Fundraising Convention 2019
Donr’s stand at the IoF Fundraising Convention 2019

Another thing we learnt across this period is just how great of an indicator of growth these conferences have been for us. At our first conference in February, we were recognised by a handful of people, but spend the majority of our time explaining who we are and what we do. But by September, the majority of people arriving at our stand had already come across Donr beforehand!

To us, that reinforced how much we’ve grown in such a short span of time. But don’t get us wrong – we still love new charities visiting our stand and explaining all we have to offer to them, too!

A more trivial thing we learned? Plastic merch = a conference no no! After taking Donr pens to our first convention, we quickly realised that the number of plastic freebies handed out at these events are more than your entire office could hope to use in a year. So, a member of our team came up with “Grow with Donr” seeds. Sustainable and smart!

Donr Seeds helped us to provide a more sustainable source of conference takeaway
Donr Seeds helped us to provide a more sustainable source of conference takeaway

Finally, we learned about the true variation on offer from a full year of conferences. No conference was the same and each offered their own unique takeaway – whether that be the incredible speakers, the yummy food or the excellent use of space for exhibitors and our stands.

Most recently, we took part in Fundraising Everywhere, the 12-hour long virtual conference, that was hosted right here on our doorstep (go North East!). This conference was particularly unique, in that fundraisers from across the globe were able to join together to share their expertise – helping the world of charity feel much closer together.

We even contributed a downloadable session, “Text Giving: A Digital Bootcamp”, which was included in the attendee delegate bag. Even better – all content from the conference is still accessible, as tickets can still be bought for the 2019 session at fundraisingeverywhere.com. We’re so excited to see what 2020 brings for Fundraising Everywhere.

Here’s to another full year of conferencing!

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