In the run up to WingsForum 2017, we spoke to Barry Knight, Director at the Webb Memorial Trust, about the previous WingsForum conference.
You did an evaluative report on WINGSForum 2014. What do you think is the Forum’s greatest strength?
Having evaluated more than 20 large conferences in philanthropy over the past two decades, WINGSForum 2014 was right up there among the best – if not the best. What was truly remarkable was the consistent quality across the whole meeting, including the breakout sessions – which is the hardest part of any conference to get right.
What part of WF14 did you enjoy the most?
As I said, there were many great sessions, but the stand out session – not just for me but for almost everyone – was the session that put infrastructure on trial. Christopher Harris and David Cutler, taking opposite positions, were both erudite and funny in equal measure. The vote was a close run thing, but more important than the result was the challenging nature of the issues raised.
WINGSForum brings together leaders in membership associations and support organizations serving philanthropy. What is the benefit in having a niche conference that brings similar organizations together?
It’s like bringing a big family together – wonderfully diverse people in very different situations from across the world joining together as one. What everyone has in common is that everyone present is trying to strengthen philanthropy.
What issue are you most looking forward to addressing at WINGSForum 2017?
My personal favourite is the session on the ‘4Cs’. This is the evaluation system to assess key results from the work of infrastructure organisations. A group of WINGS members from many different parts of the world are developing the 4Cs together. We hope to have a tool that will become the standard for people to use across the world. The beauty of it is that it is being developed by the field for the field.
What are your suggestions on how people can prepare for and get the most from their WINGSForum 2017 experience in Mexico?
My suggestion would be to put together a session proposal and come ready to contribute. It is clear that people who get most out of WINGSForums are those that take an active part. It is a giant learnings circle where everyone has something to offer.