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A year in the life of Rawlinsons Charity Conference

12 months to go
Decision made: we will hold another charity conference next year – and we’ve even set a date.   Hope people can come!

6 months to go
I really must spend some time looking at the content for this year.

5 months to go
I really, really, must spend some time looking at the content for this year!

4 months to go
We’ve been brainstorming ideas for content and speakers.   Lots of emails and phone conversations later, the programme starts to take shape.

Great meeting with Leonie McCarthy from PCVS – I’m exhausted at the end of it – so many splendid ideas.   We agree to work closely together and use the conference as the launch of The Peterborough Community Wellbeing Partnership and to feedback the results of their survey into the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Peterborough.

3 months to go
Leonie puts me in touch with the Cabinet Office, and they confirm that Michael O’Toole, Crown Commissioner for the VCSE, will be able to come and speak.   That’s great news and it will certainly add an extra dimension to the day, as hopefully we look beyond ourselves, and be inspired to do even greater things.

We also meet with Adrian Chapman, Assistant Director at Peterborough City Council.   Another launch is suggested – we’d better get the champagne out!    Adrian is looking at getting The Peterborough Compact signed at the event, demonstrating the Council’s commitment to working alongside the charity sector.    Note to self: ‘must work out what a Compact is before the event!’

11 weeks to go
OK, starting to panic now.   There’s lots to do.   Some final confirmations of speakers and session titles haven’t arrived yet, and the invites need to go out. Leonie mentions in an email something about tap dancing.    Hmmm, I must remember that………

10 weeks to go
The final programme and invites go out, and a few minutes later, the replies start coming in – phew, after all that planning, thankfully someone is coming!

9 weeks to go
The bookings keep coming in – hooray!

4 weeks to go
Oops, diary is getting full, and I really must write my presentations.   Michael O’Toole wins the prize for being the most organised: his presentation is already in!

3 weeks to go
Presentations drafted.   Jokes written – I wonder if anyone other than me think they’re funny?  Probably not, but I’m used to that now.

2 weeks to go
The tweeting is gathering a pace – not sure if anyone is reading them, but it seems to be generating some interest, as the bookings still keep coming in.   We start to wonder if the room is big enough, and where all the sandwiches are going to go.

But, starting to panic a bit, as we haven’t got all the presentations in yet, and we’ve got a deadline for the printers.

1 week to go
Deliberate mistake on one of the presentations spotted just before the handouts go off to the printers.   Well, one of the deliberate mistakes anyway, hope there isn’t too many more. Doh!

The Charity Commission have just issued another statement which would be really good to mention – oh well, its missed the handouts.

The panic excitement sets in.   We have a great programme.   We have some great speakers.   We have nearly 200 delegates coming.   Amazing!    Hopefully this event will prove to be another stepping stone in the life of charities in and around our city.   They do a great job, but we must not stay as we are: we must always try to improve what we do and adapt what we do, to ensure we all continue to meet the needs of our city.

1 day to go
All is calm.   Final minor adjustments to the presentation.   Just checked that they all work.    Automatic timings seem to have appeared on the slides of Adrian Chapman’s presentation, which suggests that he is only going to speak for 32 seconds!    Now, shall I leave them in and see how he reacts on the day??  OK, I suppose we ought to take them out!