Charity Conference success

By Nick Batten on 26 February, 2019


Bath recently played host to the inaugural Business Exchange South West Charity Conference. 

In partnership with Milsted Langdon LLP, Fidelius Group, Stone King LLP, and the investment arm of Novia Financial – Copia Capital Management, over 90 delegates from local firms and third sector organisations came together to discuss new ways of helping charities survive and thrive. 

Attendees included Haynes International Motor Museum, Cancer Research, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Ethiopiaid, Age UK B&NES, Bath Preservation Trust, Artists Together, Wildscreen and National Osteoporosis Society.

The conference opened with a speech from event organiser Anita Jaynes on the importance of corporate social responsibility and the positive impact it can have on a business from engaging employees to winning new clients. 

Anita discussed how the Third Sector in the South West is a growing one and how through her work she identified a need for a bringing together of minds from both charity and the business world. The theme of the conference was the future of the third sector looking at fundraising, investment strategies, alternative funding streams, charities in the digital age and millennial engagement.

Andrew Taylor, founder of Running High events and organiser of the Bath Half Marathon, the South West’s largest one day fundraising event, took to the stage to discuss the impact of the Bath Half in terms of fundraising. The Bath Half has one of the most developed charity schemes of any participation event in the UK, with over 130 official charity partners pre-purchasing a third of the race entries and raising around £2.5m pounds each year, in total over £25m since 2000.

Andrew said, “Since 2000 we have seen increases each year in the number of charities taking part in our event, the number of entries pre-sold to charities and the amount raised per runner. The Bath Half has the third highest average page value for any road race in the UK after the London Marathon and London Royal Parks Half Marathon. 

“We very much see our race charities as partners. We call them ‘The Beating Heart of the Bath Half.”

Henry Cobbe, Chief Investment Officer, at Copia Capital Management, the investment arm of well-known Bath firm Novia Financial held a complementary session giving delegates food for thought on how an investment strategy could boost the funds generated through fundraising activities.

Wealth management and employee benefits firm, Fidelius Group, headed up the Alternative Funding Streams session. 

Jim Grant, CEO of Fidelius welcomed Nick Mayo, CEO of Genesis Trust on stage with him to discuss their partnership and how Fidelius donates company time and resources to the cause – not just cash donations. 

Fidelius gives each employee two days a year to donate time to a cause of their choice. At the conference the company encouraged other firms to do the same saying, “It’s good for business.” 

Jim Grant said,“Given the general appreciation of the challenges faced by the charities sector, it was refreshing that this conference highlighted the considerable opportunities that exist for both individuals and companies to provide support. I hope that sharing our experience of partnering with The Genesis Trust will have planted a few seeds to encourage an alternative perspective. It was a privilege to engage and collaborate with a wide range of experts involved in this sector and to improve my understanding. I look forward to the next event.”       

Gill Freeman, Head of Charity and Not for Profit at accountancy firm Milsted Langdon LLP partnered with cancer charity Penny Brohn UK to look at the benefits of investing in a digital and social media strategy to drive donor engagement and raise funds. 

Gill said, “I’ve been working with charities and Not for Profit organisations for 30 years and much has changed during that time, especially on the technological front. Digital disruption has brought amazing advantages but also its own challenges.” Laura Kerby, CEO, and Tracy Tait, Head of Communications, at Penny Brohn explained from a practical perspective how a charity can innovate and thrive in the digital age.

“It was great to see so many of our clients and contacts gaining a huge amount of value from this event. It was an ideal opportunity for our attendees to meet lots of new contacts in the third sector, to share best practice and raise standards. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference.”

Stone King LLP and The House agency partnered to show how important millennials are in the future of the giving space. Tim Rutherford, Head of Charity and Social Enterprise at Stone King LLP and Steve Fuller, Creative Director at The House delivered key facts about this audience, including:

  • By 2020, millennials will represent more than half the workforce
  • Millennials are more likely to give than other generations
  • 84% of millennial employees gave to charity and 70% donated time (1HR+)

Stone King’s Tim Rutherford said, “Stone King was delighted to participate with a number of key firms in the region to form the inaugural South West Charity Conference. We were particularly pleased to present alongside The House discussing how millennials can be engaged by the Charity and Social enterprise sector.

“The South West Charity conference was enjoyed by a diverse mix of charities ranging in different causes, providing a perfect opportunity to engage and network with one another.”

One of the key findings from the conference in the post event feedback was that more support was needed locally in terms of financial advice, fundraising, technology and donor engagement. Attendees voted for a 2020 event and The Business Exchange will now be looking at ways on building on this year’s conference to make 2020’s even better. If you’re interested in getting involved please email: