AEGEEans and friends learning about fundraising with AEGEE-Barcelona

Next week from September 27th until October 5th AEGEE-Barcelona will be hosting Fundraising European School for 18 participants – the best way to say goodbye to summer holidays and stay motivated in AEGEE. And hopefully it will still be sunny and warm!

AEGEE-Barcelona is a large antenna of around 80 members and depending with the level of activity and the academic period, there are usually 10 or 15 people present in the meetings. Moreover, in their Summer University they managed to gather new members who are active, motivated and are ready to rock at the Fundraising European School (FRES). The AEGEEan interviewed the organizing team behind FRES who pointed out from the start of the interview that “the strange thing about our antenna is that many of our active members and even current board members have been working or studying abroad, which made planning things and events a bit more difficult, but with several Skype meetings and fluid communication we managed to get things going”.

The AEGEEan: Barcelona is a very touristic destination, but what do you believe is special about the city?

AEGEE-Barcelona: Yes, it is indeed a very touristic destination and this has its “cons” when you organise such a big event. However, we think that what makes it special is the fact that it has such a rich architecture and cultural legacy. It is colorful and has a truly lively atmosphere. But it also has some places which are less known by the average tourist, and we would love our participants to get to know better “the other side” of the city.

The AEGEEan: Why did you apply to host the FRES?

AEGEE-Barcelona: We have applied for the FRES because we have hosted several events lately (pre-events, Summer Universities…), but these were mostly “fun” events with few learning and training content behind. We had a first attempt of making a more “serious” event, since we planned to host one of the Y Vote 2014 conventions last February, but unfortunately we did not get the Youth in Action funds. Now, the possibility of organising the FRES came up by some of our most active members, and we decided to take a step forward and host a training event that would give an added value to our antenna and can be beneficial for the Network as well. Besides, we have some experience with fundraising but we would like to go more into deep and see which strategies and good practices we can adopt, so the members of AEGEE-Barcelona can also benefit from it.

The AEGEEan: What experience does your antenna have in hosting events?

AEGEE-Barcelona: We have organised every year a Summer University, usually in cooperation with other antennae, and our antenna has usually hosted pre-events for the Autumn Agora in Zaragoza 2013, and also the one in Alicante in Spring 2011.

The AEGEEAn: Are you currently organizing other events as well?

AEGEE-Barcelona: Not so far. We finished our Travel Summer University  this summer with AEGEE-Valladolid and now it will be up to the upcoming board to think whether we will organise a pre-event either for the EPM in Burgos or the Agora in Asturias, as well as thinking of further local events or maybe a Local/Regional Training Course.

The AEGEEan:  What plans do you have for FRES?

AEGEE-Barcelona: Well, we will be mainly taking care of the logistics and the social programme, but what we can advance is that we will be lodged in a hostel right in the city center of Barcelona, and that we plan a very diverse social programme. We will of course get to know the city, included a city tour by bike and places that are mainly spotted only by locals. We will also have a ‘spooky’ city tour by night where AEGEEans will get to know one of our most famous -and scary- local legends. Also the food will be good, of course – hopefully you will manage to taste our widely-famous paella!

The AEGEEan: Will you have any funding for the event?

AEGEE-Barcelona: We are keeping our fingers crossed for that, since due to the economic crisis and especially the budgetary cuts it is not easy to receive financial funding, but we are trying our best. Our main sources will come from in-kind fundraising though, which our local is making a big effort for and we are starting to get the fruits.

The AEGEEan: How will you cooperate with the AEGEE-Academy?

AEGEE-Barcelona: We are already cooperating with the Academy – and we are continuously asked for feedback when it comes to trainer’s selection and the trainings. We are mailing each other quite often, so the communication so far has been fluent, and it is very cool that they are involving us in the training aspects as well instead of only leaving us the local organisation’s aspects. It’s been good so far, we had previously a get-to-know meeting with the Training Manager, Lyda Michopoulou, and we have been doing our best to meet the trainers’ needs. I now some of the trainers coming from the Academy and I am totally convinced that they will share a very valuable knowledge with our participants.

The AEGEEan: The event is just here, how is everything going with the organization?

AEGEE-Barcelona: Well, these days left are being especially tough because we are trying our best for this event to be perfect, to fit participants’ and trainers’ needs and, at the same time, providing a rich social program. It is sometimes not easy to organise this kind of events in Barcelona, which is a bit more expensive than the average… Luckily we have a very strong and motivated team of organisers who are giving their best for this event to be successful, they are taking care of every single detail, and we also have some “newbies” who are learning first-hand how such an event is organised. I think for all of us it is (and it is going to be) a very enriching experience, for each one of us individually and for the local, since it has been a long time since AEGEE-Barcelona has not organised an event like FRES.

The AEGEEan: Where are the participants from? You are have members who aren’t AEGEEans, right?

AEGEE-Barcelona: We luckily have a wide variety of nationalities, and especially, as you have pointed, we have many members who are not AEGEEans. The Academy has now opened their trainings to non-AEGEE members so we have participants from plenty of other organisations, ranging from BEST, IAAS or FDE. Some of our trainers are also from outside AEGEE. We are very positive about it, since sometimes it is good to be out from the “AEGEE bubble” and strengthen relations with other organisations.

The AEGEEan: What will the participants do during the program?

AEGEE-Barcelona: Well, the trainings program is still a secret for participants! But the Academy will of course deal with FR basics, with persuasive communication, public speaking and much more. When it comes to social program, it has not been easy to arrange, since the trainings require lots of hours. But I am pretty sure that the participants will enjoy the Horror City Tour at the Gothic Quartier, biking around the city, and discover a bit of Barcelona.

The AEGEEan: Any interesting matters you can reveal to us about the event? 

AEGEE-Barcelona: A light joke: in AEGEE-Barcelona we are getting quite crazy lately regarding the organisation of the event and words that contain the letters “FRES” have been coming quite many times into our minds lately. We even called our Whatsapp group as “OktoberFRESt”…

Moreover, this is very special for us because, in fact, the Academy was founded in Agora Barcelona 1999, so exactly 15 years ago. Could it be any better way to celebrate it than having it in here?

Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-Zaragoza