When I stepped up to the podium and took my place at the microphone, it was surreal but comfortingly familiar. It was the first time I’d attended, let alone hosted, an in-person event in more than two years. The last time the world was on the cusp of calamitous change. It was March 2020, the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne had just been cancelled and there was a nervous energy in the room as fundraisers shared learnings about event fundraising, soon to be decimated by an unwelcome visitor. After the conference had finished, we slipped through the boarding gate, not fully comprehending that it would soon slam shut.
Cut to May 2022 and I board a plane for that same city, the one that endured the most hardship. I’ve never been happier to hear the cries of a baby across the aisle. I don’t care that Virgin charges me $4 for a tiny can of Coke (no sugar!). It’s a pleasure to collect my baggage. Should I catch a cab or order an Uber? Thrilling! Checking in to a hotel. Sensational! Taking photos of hotel room to make partner jealous. The best!
To say events are important at F&P is an understatement. We felt the pandemic pain. We did the pandemic pivot. Honestly, I enjoyed it. It was a challenge to go virtual. It was a learning experience, which is the essence of our brand. We learned so we could help you learn. And we learned from you, who did such remarkable work adapting your events and campaigns.
To see your faces at EventRaise + Digi.Raise (yes, we rolled two events into one – a pandemic-induced adjustment to our offering) was special. Gone was the nervous energy from EventRaise 2020, replaced by exhilaration. Or as a colleague simply said: “People are so happy.”
On the way home things felt familiar but not comfortably so. The bag drop was broken. Queues were long. Flights were cancelled and delayed. On the plane, as the lights went down, a toddler gasped. “What’s the matter, baby?” her father asked. “It’s scary,” she replied, over and over and over (young children inherently know the power of repetition). I hope that is the most scared she ever feels.
CLARE JOYCE, Content Director
PS. Enjoy the mag. As someone who started a publishing career in the halcyon days of magazines, print will always have a special place in my heart. I’m happy to (correctly) adapt the oft-misquoted Mark Twain: the report of its death was an exaggeration.