Reflections on the CASE Europe Annual Conference
by Heather Campbell, Head of Regular Giving, Imperial College London.
With less than two months to go until the CASE Europe Annual Conference, I’ve been reflecting on my first annual conference 12 years ago. I can remember leaving feeling completely inspired, overwhelmed and absolutely shattered following a week of intensive fundraising training.
What stands out to me now, all these years later, are the professional relationships I made through the annual conference and other CASE Europe conferences. In many cases, the colleagues I met through CASE haven’t just become my professional contacts who have guided me through my career, they’ve also become my friends.
Once again, through CASE, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to develop new professional relationships as co-chair of the fundraising track for the 2017 CASE Europe Annual Conference. 12 years ago, I didn’t give much thought as to how CASE Europe pulled together such fabulous speakers and how the programme coincidentally addressed many of the current issues I was facing at the time as a young fundraiser. However, over the years, through my involvement with CASE Europe, I realised there is a whole army of generous volunteers who are willing to share their time, expertise and experiences.
Working alongside the dedicated team at CASE Europe, the annual conference planning committee work to plan relevant sessions and search to find the most engaging speakers to help inspire and motivate you in your profession. We are committed to making this year’s conference even better than the last.
This year, you can experience a whole range of seminars from running alumni weekends, to dealing with new fundraising legislation to communicating with academics to building a diverse and inclusive student community. As the planning committee is made up of experts within the areas of Alumni Relations, Fundraising and Communications and Marketing, you can expect to hear first-hand, practical advice from fellow professionals working in these fields. I have no doubt you will leave the conference with a notebook full of new ideas and helpful insights to take back to your institution.
Whether it is your first conference or you’ve been to too many to count, I would encourage you to, of course, attend the sessions within your specific discipline, but I would also urge you to attend a session outside your discipline and hear some of the fantastic work happening in other areas. Personally, I often find sessions outside the fundraising discipline provide me with great insight in to what issues other colleagues are facing and I generally learn something new and interesting.
I would also encourage you to network! I can remember being very nervous at my first conference. I was literally surrounded by some of the most knowledgeable and influential people within the sector. However, I learned the great thing about the sector is they are an incredibly friendly bunch. At the first tea break, I met some fellow fundraisers and we were able to swap stories and share ideas. Over lunch, I met colleagues in Alumni Relations who were willing to share their experience. And by the evening, I was socialising with a wide range of people from different backgrounds and disciplines.
Please don’t be afraid to go up and introduce yourself to new face. The conference is a brilliant opportunity to meet someone new and build your professional network.
I hope you will consider attending the annual conference as it’s a fabulous opportunity to hear from professionals working in your disciple, gain new skills, connect with other professionals and expand your knowledge.
If you see me around the conference, please do come over and say hello!
Heather Campbell is the co-chair of the Fundraising track at this years CASE Europe Annual Conference. She is also Head of Regular Giving at Imperial College London.