Anniversary meetings

Local charity networking group celebrates first year.

Charity Meetup Birmingham, the networking group supporting people working in the third sector, celebrates its first birthday this month.

The group has welcomed over 200 people since its launch event in May 2020, who have all benefited from expert speakers and the opportunity to discuss topical themes and issues with others based in charities and similar organisations.

The Charity Meetups are designed to make it easy, affordable and enjoyable for people working in (or with) not-for-profits to gain and share skills, foster and grow connections and develop collaborations. The monthly events are organised and hosted by Vicky Kangurs, freelance marketer at Tabby Tiger, and Hope Drew, Head of Media at Colonel Duck.

Vicky (left) said: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved since we began last year. We originally planned to launch at a venue in the City Centre but, like so many other events, we had to pivot quickly to meet online instead. Despite not being able to hold the Meetups in person, we decided to go ahead with our plans. I’m pleased we created this new networking group for the region because supporting people is one of our aims, and it was needed last year more than ever with such challenging times.”

Hope added: “It’s brilliant to see charities benefit from the Meetups, whether that’s finding advice and support from one another or gaining knowledge from experts to be able to be innovative and address challenges. As we look forward into a second year, I’m excited to grow and develop the network, so we can connect and support more charities in and around Birmingham.”

The group meets every second Tuesday each month via Zoom. As well as facilitated networking, there are typically three speakers on the agenda covering a wellbeing session, an expert talk and a sector showcase where someone from a charity shares their experiences.

Each meeting has a theme which is determined by the current landscape or areas the group ask for support with. Between events, there are further opportunities for networking through the active Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Charity Meetup Birmingham builds on the success of the London and Aylesbury groups, which were founded in 2015 by Dawn Newton, Director of Morello Marketing.

Dawn had become frustrated by networking events she had attended previously. She said: “I have been to a lot of networking meetings, but often found they were too strict and business-like or too casual and nice to do, but not a productive use of time.”

Dawn then set about developing the Charity Meetup to facilitate relationship building, skill-sharing and allow people to give and receive support. Dawn continued: “I wanted the Charity Meetup to be warm and welcoming but structured in a way where everyone benefited from coming along.”

Charlotte Schofield, Director of Fundraising at University Hospitals Birmingham Charity, attends the Birmingham group regularly along with members of her team. Charlotte said: “Charity Meetup has been a lifeline during COVID as it has allowed me to build relationships but also retain communication with my follow fundraisers and colleagues within the charity sector. I have loved all of the meetings and have found them incredibly beneficial and can’t wait to actually meet people face to face in the future.”

Charity Meetup Birmingham’s birthday celebration event takes place on Tuesday 11 May 2021, from 10am until 12pm and the theme is ‘better your brand for recognition and loyalty.’

Speakers include:

· Inspirational speaker Martin Warrillow

· Tahera Mayat, Social Media Manager and Facilitator of #CharityHour on Twitter

· Rebecca Porta, Chief Executive at Bowel Research UK

· David Crichton, Creative Director and Brand Consultant at IE Design

Tickets and more information is available here.