CONFERENCE PREVIEW: A World of Information on-stand

John Plummer

As well as stimulating debate,the CAF conference allows organisations to display their products and initiatives to the charity sector.

Delegates at this year's event will be able to visit 24 stands displaying everything from financial products to flourescent armbands.

Many familiar names in the voluntary sector use the conference as an opportunity to pass on information to charities. The Giving Campaign will be unveiling its new fundraising guide for trustees, which provides simple advice on raising funds with specific guidance on tax. "We felt the guide was necessary as many fundraisers aren't fully aware of tax-efficient giving," says Peter Gilheany, communications manager at the Giving Campaign.

NCVO is offering delegates a £10 discount on its latest Voluntary Agencies Directory, which lists contact details of thousands of not-for-profit organisations.

The Institute of Fundraising and Lottery distributors the Community Fund and the New Opportunities Fund, which are due to merge, will all be in attendance.

The conference is a fruitful source of ideas for promotional initiatives.

PEP Ltd, which sells and hires portable display equipment, will be demonstrating its latest products. So too will High Profile, which sells promotional plastic products such as frisbees and slapwraps (flourescent armbands displaying charity names).

Finance is always at the heart of the event, particularly this year with so much emphasis on how charities should respond to the tough economic climate. Experts from banks and financial institutions, including NatWest, Deutsche Asset Management and Newton Investment Management will no doubt have plenty of suggestions on where to invest your charity's money.

Chartered accountants Buzzacott, which specialises in the voluntary sector, will be explaining its latest Gifts software package, which guides charities through the grant-making process.

Besides browsing the stands, visitors have the opportunity to indulge in more active conference participation by taking part in two free workshops on payroll-giving and grant-making.

Jane Brading, an administrator at international affairs research charity Saferworld and a delegate at the 2002 conference, described last year's payroll-giving workshop as invaluable.

"I really didn't understand payroll-giving before," she says. "The workshop gave me an overview, plus there were people there who could answer my specific questions. Our charity doesn't usually have the resources to send people to a paid seminar so it was extremely useful."

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