Planning a creative conference to fundraise for charity in under five weeks with no budget and a small squad of volunteers is not for the faint of heart. At various points of the planning stage I questioned our collective sanity, both privately and publicly. Now that it has been a month since Creating for Good hosted our first full day of creative workshops in London and I’ve had some time to internally process lessons learned from the experience I thought I’d share what wisdom I’ve gleaned along with some fun behind the scenes accounts of the madness that ensued.
Pictured above: (left) Jess & Ina finalizing conference logistics in my messy office, (middle) just one of the many bunches of flowers delivered and donated by London Flower School, (right) when I lost the will to live two days prior to the event.
What happens when you put about 8 ambitious women in one room fueled by brunch and coffee? Answer: you start convincing each other of the possibility that Emma Watson would be interested in being your conference keynote speaker. [I’ll wait for you to finish laughing] This is what happens whenever the CFG team convenes to brainstorm – we reach for the stars.
The programme for the conference was just as ambitious. We wanted to offer high quality, intimate workshops taught by professionals that would provide practical learning and a chance for attendees to connect within their creative community; the price of the tickets to the event would reflect that along with extras such as a beautiful lunch by Dani from The Social Kitchen and an insightful panel discussion from those in the industry whom we admire and are inspired by. All of the proceeds would go to benefit Women for Women International. In that ambition I’m happy to report we managed to pull off – CFG raised enough money to essentially fund 21 women to go through a 1 year skills-based training program in war torn countries.
If there’s anything I learned from the last four months of being a part of Creating for Good, it’s that enthusiasm is infectious [I think Jess noted that in our recent podcast interview on Hashtag Authentic with Sara Tasker] especially when it is directed at a cause you truly believe in. At times when my confidence waned at the feasibility of everything, I only had to think of the generous outpouring of support from people like Britt Fabello and Daria Shew who proactively got in touch wanting to donate their time, skills and services (as well as Julieta Lucca who made & donated all the cakes for our 1st event). It’s a reminder that we might not have the financing but we have heart & creative ideas and really often times that is all it takes to make good things happen.
It took us a few days to recover from conference planning fatigue but the post event glow we all proudly wore continued for far longer. There’s a saying that what you put out, you get back. In this instance I cannot help but feel the team has gained so much more than what we contributed. We are now feeling even more emboldened with possibilities of simultaneously doing good and strengthening our community along with our creative souls (I know it’s so cheesy but 100% true).
We have been fielding some amazing proposals and dreaming up even more fantastical events of which I anticipate plans will be finalized over the next few weeks. If you want to get updates on Creating for Good events sign up for our newsletter here. And who knows, maybe Emma Watson will ask to speak at our next event 😉