Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting more from conferences than really bad sandwiches...

For some, fundraising conferences mean horrible sandwiches and really bad (almost airline like bad) coffee..

I know that's what it often means to me!

But seriously..

I often wonder what delegates goals are when they attend such conferences. Is it to look at what others are doing and rip it off? Is it to satisfy you or your board that you are delivering 'industry standard' or better results? Is it to meet some fellow fundraisers?

Or is it just to get out of the office for a couple of days? That's the cynic in me coming out now..

Let's face it. Conferences are expensive. And I'm not talking about the registration and travel costs. But YOUR time! Often we forget to factor that in when we work out the real costs of training and development.

So my point is - make the most of your time at any conference or training you attend. You owe it to your employer and more importantly, your beneficiaries.

I'm really (no seriously, REALLY) excited about the upcoming AFP Congress in Toronto in two weeks time.

For a number of reasons. It's my first Congress since moving to Toronto. I'm told it's a great conference (by lots of people who attend LOTS of conferences). I'm speaking - which I love doing.

But most of all, there are close to 1,000 delegates attending. And if I can't walk away from three days of meeting other fundraisers, attending sessions, listening (an undervalued skill as a fundraiser) and the occasional social event with a minimum of three brilliant ideas then I don't think my time (and Pareto Fundraising's investment) has been well spent.

So that's my challenge to you. Three ideas and three concrete actions from the next training event you attend.

Go away from there and make real change. Do I sound a wee bit like the Democratic party now? :)



Kimberley from Canada said...

Dear Jonathon,

Good For You! I have gone on more than one rant about passive participation at conferences. I agree that we must take control of our experience, value it and demand what we need from it.

Show up alert, sit at the front and participate in the session and dare I say...challenge the presenters. (You can handle being challenged can't you?)

AFP Congress is a great one and I must contradict you at this point. It has fantastic food!
See you there.

Jonathon Grapsas said...


Challening is good, very healthy.

As for the sandwiches, Ill find out in a few days! :)