There are hundreds of different nonprofit conferences out there that cover topics ranging from marketing to fundraising to planned giving.
Once you’ve decided which conference you and your team should attend next year, you’ll need to get off on the right foot.
While you could just walk into the venue, take a seat, and spend the day silently listening to session after session, there are much better ways to make use of your conference time.
Here are the six ways you can be successful before, during, and after your next nonprofit conference.
Engage on social media
Many conferences have dedicated Facebook pages or Twitter handles with corresponding hashtags that you can follow to stay up to date on conference news and happenings.
Following these social media accounts is also a great way to meet other people who will attend the conference. You can get advice from conference veterans and discuss which sessions will be the most helpful.
Research the conference
This may seem like a no-brainer, but in the excitement of preparing for a conference, it often gets overlooked.
Nearly every conference host will post information about the different sessions and various speakers that will be at the conference. Some events publish a list of confirmed attendees on their website. Before you pack your bags and check-in to your hotel, go through these lists and determine who you want to meet and talk to.
Planning beforehand will help you make the most of your time at the conference and might result in new professional relationships.
During sessions, networking opportunities, and other activities, make sure that you’re alert and engaged. By the last day of the conference, it might be easy to tune out the session speakers and skip the networking events. Don’t!
These opportunities are crucial for your conference success. Being engaged at a conference means:
- Showing up early to sessions.
- Asking questions and talking with the speakers.
- Posting, liking, and commenting on conference social media news.
Whether you’re attending a large conference about fundraising or a smaller event about data, you can benefit from paying attention and staying engaged.
Know your limit
While you’ll want to take advantage of every available resource at a conference, you have to know your limits.
If you start to feel burned out, take some time away and relax. Go see the city the conference is being held in.
You’ll be able to come back to the sessions well-rested and ready to start again!
If a conference has a survey requesting feedback from attendees, fill it out and let them know what you liked and didn’t like about the conference. If you plan on attending in future years, this step is especially important since the changes will affect you.
If a session about donor acquisition resonated with you, let the conference host know! If you didn’t learn much from a particular special event about corporate philanthropy, add that feedback as well. All comments are helpful in creating a better conference experience for everyone.
If you particularly enjoyed the conference, start getting ready for next year! Most conferences are held annually, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to continue to learn about the nonprofit world.
Additionally, consider volunteering for a conference. Conference hosts are always looking for a little extra help and would greatly appreciate the extra assistance. Not only will you get to see behind-the-scenes, but you might also receive VIP passes to exclusive events as a “thank-you.”
Nonprofit conferences are a great way for you and your nonprofit team to benefit from different perspectives and emerging ideas in your field. Make sure that you prepare and make the most out of your conference experience!
Courtesy of IMPACTism