In early December I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the CASE annual conference on Regular Giving. I have been to a CASE conference before – the Spring Institute which was earlier (umm, in spring) this year.
So, on Tuesday night myself and a colleague got a slow train to Manchester to the Marriott Victoria and Albert hotel, arriving about 8pm on Tuesday – too late for dinner, but early enough to catch some of the speakers and attendees in the bar.
The first surprise of the conference was when we turned up to check in – due to the number of rooms and what-not, my colleague and I were going to be in suites. Wow. Sadly, as is typical with CASE things, the schedule is so packed you barely get any free time at all (and what free time I did get in my room was spent searching my tremendous room for something I had just put down and forgotten where in the enormity of it all) – but I made sure I turned on my living room TV once and sat down on the sofa so I could say that I had done it. I doubt I will ever be in a suite again!
The CASE Regular Giving conference starts with an opening plenary on the Wednesday morning (after registration) at just after 10 with the last session finishing at 6pm – it’s a pretty full day, Thursday kicks off at 8:15 with breakfast roundtable discussions and then finishes at 5pm. Sessions are a mix of plenaries that everyone attends, or workshops where the programme splits in two – fundamentals and innovations (I think this is similar to the CASE Development Services conference too). There were also two showcase sessions (one each day) with a choice of two, allowing some of the suppliers/sponsors to give a 45 minute talk. It was great to take a colleague along because it meant we could attend the full programme between us. There had been a pre-conference on the Tuesday with two streams – one about crowdfunding and one about setting up a Regular Giving programme, but we did not attend.
I will follow-up in a later blog post with what I learned and what sessions I attended (as I did at Spring Institute), but I had been really looking forward to seeing Adrian Salmon from Leeds (his blog is here and twitter feed here) he was doing a number of sessions and I also wanted to chat to him in general. Sam Davies who was at SI was also going to be there, delivering one of the last elective sessions. Sadly Bob Burdenski was unable to be there; his plane was cancelled due to the bad weather in America – a real shame.
In fact, there ended up being a big group of delegates from my Spring Institute – it was great to catch up with everyone and see how people had grown in experience, confidence and knowledge. Extremely heartening for the future.