There has recently been an encouraging level of debate in the sector's press about challenge events in the UK. As this debate goes on, I must correct the perception that the Institute does not approve of such events and state that they are excellent fundraisers.
However, the Code of Fundraising Practice did identify the Three Peaks challenge event and did not encourage the running of this during the summer months or with large volumes of people. I have been taken to task by the National Trust for Scotland, which was upset that it was not included in the press releases, yet one third of the Three Peaks event takes place on its patch. I apologise unreservedly.
My parents regaled me with tales and pictures from their recent National Trust for Scotland cruise and, as I sipped my father's National Trust for Scotland malt whisky, I was reminded of its excellent and innovative fundraising.
My embarrassment is compounded because I have put a great deal of time into trying to ensure that the fundraising community across the whole of the UK works together and for the good of fundraising collectively and locally. Having one Institute to remove unnecessary tiers of administration and cost, while maintaining strong representative voices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, strikes me as the ideal way to proceed.
Other than two dedicated part-time staff in Wales and Scotland, we are totally reliant on volunteers. It is their dedication and commitment that gives us the strength of our representational voice. This was illustrated recently when I got a series of calls from Bryan Walliker, the chair of the Institute's Northern Ireland group. As regional fundraising development manager for Diabetes UK he has enough on his plate, yet he was in the thick of radio interviews to represent and defend our profession.
It is worth looking at what is happening and taking place in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland over the next few months. All of these events are planned for the benefit of all fundraisers. You do not have to be a member to attend, but you do have to be prepared to have the benefits of membership explained, and how we always need more fundraisers to give us as strong a voice as possible.
In Wales there is a chance, on 17 September, to hear from the Charity Commission about the implications of the charities review that is taking place. Planning is also well advanced for the annual conference on 5 December.
Details of both events are available from Dot Griew via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Ireland's main conference has already taken place, but it also runs a series of very successful and well-attended monthly events. On 10 September the subject is management in the non-profit voluntary sector.
There is a one-day seminar on 15 October on motivational speaking,while in November, the NI Lottery Heritage Fund's Kevin Baird will talk about applying to lottery grant making bodies. If you would like further details of any of these, then click on the Northern Ireland map on the website's home page.
In Scotland there is a huge amount going on. Indeed too much to mention all of it, but there are meetings all over Scotland, as well as a growing number of special interest groups, who meet regularly and have excellent email networks. As with Wales, preparations are well advanced for the annual conference, which takes place in Dunblane on 27-28 October. I've seen the advance programme and it is quite simply brilliant. Further details are available from Scotland@
One of the real highlights in Scotland, however, is the Management Programme.
This is unique to Scotland and is designed for middle and senior staff working in the voluntary sector with a responsibility for fundraising and who wish to develop their strategic planning and management skills.
It runs as a series of masterclasses, each designed to cover an aspect of the fundraising role within the organisation. They can be taken as a whole to gain Module 2 of the Certificate in Fundraising Management or as stand-alone training days.
Get involved. What better way to get rid of the post-holiday blues and charge the batteries for the winter?