Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big Changes in the Windy City

Fundraising no longer comes in cycles or campaigns so much. There’s no down time. If one campaign is over, then a new one is just about to begin. Which means you have limited time for things like continuing education.

I know all of you still find the time for professional advancement, and that’s indicative of your dedication to the profession. But your limited time means that your continuing education opportunities have to be top-notch. It has to cover the issues that are important to you and provide not only the latest, most innovative techniques, but also broad themes and inspiration you can take back for yourself, your staff and your donors.

The AFP International Conference is the largest gathering of fundraising professionals in the world, and has to represent the full spectrum of the profession while still being all about you and your particular needs. To that end, we’ve made a lot of changes this year to the conference—and all of them based on your feedback and comments.

We’ve created a more compact conference, with no more sessions on Wednesday and much more programming throughout the day on Sunday. Our general sessions are shorter and streamlined, focusing on broad themes and featuring multi-media presentations throughout, culminating with our big speakers such as President Clinton, Queen Latifah and Blake Mycoskie. Our educational sessions have been themed and refocused to emphasize the changes in the profession while still acknowledging time-tested and proven techniques.

We’ve also made it easier to connect with your colleagues at the conference and keep track of everything that is happening. Our new conference mobile website (which will debut in early March) allows attendees to access everything they need to optimize their AFP 2011 Conference experience, right on their smartphone! You can search the conference schedule and create a personalized daily schedule, look for specific speakers and exhibitors, read our conference daily digests and get the important links to additional conference information and materials.

In addition, there’s also afpnet.org/Chicago, our conference website, which will have all the updates regarding changes at the conference, as well as photos from the various events and a running feed from our conference Twitter hashtag, #afpmeet. Anytime you tweet while at the conference, or anything conference-related, be sure to include that hashtag in your message, and everyone following #afpmeet can keep in touch! We’ll also have Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube pages going on so you won’t miss anything that’s happening at the conference.

As our conference theme indicates this year, fundraising is all about perspectives. We want to provide you with as many different perspectives as possible, while still keeping your perspective at the forefront. We think the changes to the conference do just that, and we hope to see you in Chicago for what should be one of the most exciting and dynamic continuing education opportunities ever—the AFP International Conference on Fundraising!

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