By Anya Pearson

The benefits of participating in the Campaigning Forum event far outweigh the time and costs involved. Return participants know that, you know that – and your boss is about to be convinced, too.

I’ve been reading all the fabulous testimonials and impacts from the past six years of the Campaigning Forum and found some really strong benefits of participating. Here is what I’ve found.

1. Participating in the Campaigning Forum event helps your organisation achieve its goals

Your organisational priorities matter. Come with a list of things you need to learn, and the organisers, format and fellow participants will help you figure out who at the conference can help you.

Your organisation needs to…How the Campaigning Forum helps
Keep up to date with the latest digital campaigning trendsLet’s face it: the world moves fast, and it’s too easy to get left behind. At the Campaigning Forum, experienced participants know where campaigning and digital is at – and where it’s going next.
Solve existing problems creativelyThis is the one time of the year when you can deeply reflect on the work you’re doing. And if you’re stuck on something, the conference community is there to help you to solve problems and come at things creatively.
Learn about new techniques and toolsDiscover new resources and learn about what works.
Identify emerging talentECF participants are an ambitious, talented bunch. Some have said that the Campaigning Forum is great for snapping up the perfect new addition to your team.
Find out about what other organisations are doingLearn all about what other organisations are doing globally through hands-on workshops, plenaries and informal opportunities to network.
Keep staff motivated and boost their skill level through learning and development opportunitiesThe conference is so condensed, you could learn more about campaigning and digital in two days than you will learn for the rest of the year. Plus, the forum is like a recharge point for campaigners. You’ll leave feeling excited to get back to work and start testing out all your new ideas.
Connect with like-minded people from the campaigning sectorMeet super-smart people, learn from each other and make lifelong friendships.
Show off about the fantastic work you’ve been doing this yearThe forum is participant-focused: it is built around you, your interests and the work you are doing. Participants would love to hear about your achievements so others can learn from them and give feedback.
Make it easy to share conference learnings with colleagues who can’t make itBring your knowledge back to your organisation with our helpful post-conference videos and participant-summarised learning.

2. The forum is the leading conference on campaigning in a digital age

The Campaigning Forum is a global gathering of campaigning and digital thought leaders. This year’s theme, “campaigning in a world of fear mongering and fake news”, provides a springboard for vital conversations about future campaigning trends.

Whether you’re interested in building political engagement amongst supporters, digital fundraising, managing digital change or learning about new digital resources, ECF has something for you.

3. It’s like no other conference you’ve ever been to

The Campaigning Forum is different to other conferences because it’s participant-focused and peer-led. It has the perfect mix of presentations and knowledge exchange sessions.

You set your agenda and the facilitators and format helps you find others who share it. Presentations and sessions are there to provoke thought. Result: you learn more and connect with more people. This is the way events should be.

If you come prepared to give as much as you want to take, you’ll get the most out of it. If you have insightful experiences and perspectives, do consider presenting them.

4. It’s full of carefully curated networking opportunities

Many major NGOs participate in the Campaigning Forum, as well as a diverse group of campaigners, fundraisers, volunteer managers, media officers, policy experts, digital experts and innovators. This makes it a unique opportunity for changemakers to make meaningful connections and learn from each other.

Having so many intelligent, passionate people in one place makes for a buzzing atmosphere with great energy. There are plenty of low-pressure, natural networking opportunities – no stuffy wine receptions for us.

There is a lovely sense of community. It’s an inclusive space where lifelong friendships are forged.

5. The Campaigning Forum is great value for money

There’s a varied and packed programme, with huge amounts condensed into the schedule.

In addition to breakout sessions and workshops, each registration fee includes:

  • Lunch and breakfast on both days and dinner on day one.
  • Coffee and tea breaks with biscuits.
  • Free wifi.
  • A quiet room to relax and reflect without technology
  • Post-conference video resources.

When you’re planning for your conference budget, you should also plan for:

  • Accommodation for one or two nights. You can choose if you wish to stay on site.
  • Travel to and from Oxford.

Time to apply!

Apply to join the upcoming Campaigning Forum now.

That is hopefully enough information to make your decision, but if you’ve got another question, don’t hesitate to get in touch with organiser Duane Raymond ([email protected]). We’re looking forward to welcoming you to this year’s conference!

Anya Pearson is an associate at Contentious. She also moonlights as commissioning editor for the Political Quarterly blog, and is a guitarist who tours the UK and Europe in a feminist punk band. Follow Anya on Twitter at @AnyaRPearson