Fundraising conferences want the best speakers, the latest and most topical content, real case studies, insightful commentary, sharing results. Right?
If you answered yes to that question then why the hell do we care about whether the person facilitating the session works directly for a charity, or works indirectly for a charity (consultant/agency)?
Quite frankly we shouldn't and we need to stop our obsession with this.
My colleague Sean Triner wrote a piece earlier this week about the same issue. I won't steal his thunder too much, check out what he has to say.
I was speaking to a colleague a little while back who told me about a certain conference that had a mandate to have a certain % of their speakers (in fact almost exclusively) from charities.
This doesn't help anyone. Least of all the delegates. As I mentioned in the first line of this blog, surely we want the best, of everything? If we agree that's the case then it's irrelevant which organization the person at the front of the room is paid by.
Of course consultants have a vested interest in speaking. Noone will deny that. But again, if they present loads of really useful, practical case studies, share results and provide tons of brilliant ideas then that's the point. If they don't, then they don't get invited back. Simple. Same goes for charity folks.
I've been fortunate recently to help out the gang at AFP as part of the education committee for Congress 2010. By the way it's shaping up to be a terrific event.
As part of the education committee we're looking for the best of the best. From locally here in Ontario, throughout Canada and from around the world.
It's not a debate about 'charity v consultant'. Hence why Congress is one the leading fundraising get together's in the world.
Check out Sean's article as he looks in depth at the inherent problems with our obsession with consultants speaking.
But please. Please stop complaining about this. Put your hand up and contribute at conferences and understand the reasons why focusing on the best is more critical than focusing on charity speakers.