The National Fundraising Awards will be announced in a month’s time, highlighting examples of the best fundraising campaigns, individuals and organisations. For many it is a high point of the fundraising year, whether or not you have been shortlisted for a year. It is an inspiring and enjoyable evening, and awards tables are open for anyone to book.
All shortlisted organisations and individuals are invited to attend, and as you’ll see from the video above, being recognised by your peers is often an emotional experience.
The event takes place on the evening of 1 July, at the end of the first day of the Institute of Fundraising’s Fundraising Convention 2019. Indeed, with the latter held at the Barbican in London, the Awards venue of The Brewery is conveniently about three minutes walk around the corner.
You don’t, however, have to be a delegate at Convention to attend.
Companies can take part and show their support by booking a table – and inviting up to 10 colleagues or charity clients or contacts.
The venue is a Grade II listed building occupying the site of the former Whitbread brewery in East London. Established in 1750 by Samuel Whitbread, the building attracted many royal visitors, including George III, Queen Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
It ceased operations as a brewery in 1976 and was converted into a conference and banqueting centre.
My first visit there was as a child, visiting the Overlord Embroidery, a 20th century version of the Bayeux Tapestry (or more correctly, Embroidery). Appropriately, given today’s date, it tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 34 hand-stitched panels with a total length of 83 metres. The embroidery is now on permanent display in Portsmouth.
Every year the awards are presented by a well-known actor, comedian or celebrity who ensures the evening is full of fun – and that the awards are kept to time! Past hosts have included Ruby Wax, Natasha Kaplinski, Miles Jupp, Shappi Khorsandi and, last year, Stephen K Amos.
This year the host is Francesca Martinez, the comedian, writer and speaker. Self-styled “wobbly comedian” – she has mild cerebral palsy – she has an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University ‘for making Britain a more compassionate and fairer society’, and a second honorary doctorate from Bradford University ‘for her contributions to equality, inclusive thought and social commentary’. In 2008 she became the first Olympic Torch-Bearer to pull out of the London relay in protest at China’s treatment of Tibet.
Being part of the awards
The awards are sponsored by various organisations that work with and support fundraisers. In addition many purchase a table to be part of the event. The 10 spaces on each table are usually filled with staff and invited guests – often enabling charity clients, volunteers and other charity contacts to attend.
As well as the three-course meal, attendees at the awards also get to network before and after the event.
Sales of the tables also help ensure that the Institute can afford to run the events process and hold the annual event.
I’ve been fortunate to have been invited as a guest to the events in the past, and as chair of the judging panel I get to attend too. If your company works with charities and wants to be part of this prestigious event, then I do urge you to consider being part of the event by booking a table and helping the Institute continue to find and showcase the best in fundraising.
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