The Top 5 Sessions You Can’t Miss at AFP International 2014

With all of the top fundraising professionals in one place, the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference on Fundraising (AFPIcon) is sure to bring some of the top information and presentations to the table. And this year AFPIcon takes place from March 23 through March 25 in San Antonio, Texas.

You can’t go wrong with the hand-picked lineup of speakers. But with the sheer amount of presentations and overlapping times, you’ll be forced to make some decisions. That’s why we did some pre-AFPIcon research. These are our top five picks that you don’t want to miss at AFPIcon this year.

1. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Tammy Radencic, Nancy Palo
1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Sunday, March 23

So many organizations, so little money to go around. At least that’s how some donors feel, which means they’ll have to make a decision. So how will you make sure that when push comes to shove, they pick your organization?

In a world where word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective tactics (who wouldn’t trust their friends?), peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is an opportunity your organization can’t afford to lose. That’s why it’s either time to start a new campaign or enhance the one that you’ve already started.

With 17 years of combined P2P fundraising experience, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear Nancy Palo and Tammy Radencic speak. Palo is the Senior Strategy Consultant for Blackbaud and Radencic manages Blackbaud’s first-year initiative to help nonprofits succeed at online fundraising. This duo knows what they’re doing when it comes to the P2P fundraising movement.

2. Show the Love: Thoughtful Engagement to Retain Supporters

Frank Barry, Rachel Muir, Pamela Grow, Shanon Doolittle
3:00 PM to 3:45 PM
Sunday, March 23

A majority of donors don’t come back after the first year. Unfortunately, you read that correctly. Which is why it’s vital to make sure they keep coming back. Think of all the missed opportunities your organization has probably already encountered. A one-time donation and then… nothing. If you’re tired of missing out on these opportunities, this session is for you.

The time is now to form meaningful relationships with donors so they’re hooked for the future. And this session is a stepping stone to get you there. With an all-star lineup of presenters like Frank Berry (Blackbaud), Rachel Muir (Pursuant), Pamela Grow (Simple Development Systems) and Shanon Doolittle (DoGooder), it’s sure to be a can’t-miss presentation.

3. Tough Talk for You and Your Board

Simone Joyaux
1:45 PM to 3:30 PM
Monday, March 24

The future is unknown. But the future of your board doesn’t have to be. Nonprofit governance can (and probably will) change at any time. So will your board be ready?

Sometimes the most difficult conversations are the most vital. Do you have what it takes to challenge yourself and your board? Simone Joyaux is going to help you get through the tough talks. She’s been described as, “one of the most thoughtful, inspirational, and provocative leaders in the philanthropic sector worldwide.” And this time, she’s here to lead you through the tough, but necessary, talk with your board.

4. Loverizing: The Lucrative Difference a Few Well-Chosen Words Will Make in Your Donor Communications

Tom Ahern
11:00 AM to 12:15 PM
Tuesday, March 25

One of the biggest struggles for nonprofit organizations is getting the right communication to come across and resonate with donors and volunteers. That’s why Tom Ahern wants to help you “loverize” your words. A few well-chosen words can make a world of difference in the grand scheme of communication.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Angel Aloma, executive director of billion-dollar charity Food for the Poor, attested to Ahern’s presentation.

“I want to reiterate that much of what we are doing now in regards to donor-centricity was inspired by your [Ahern’s] wonderful presentation. I am convinced that the reason why we have grown in the last years of tough economic conditions in the country is because of that wonderful switch that you inspired.”

5. Social Media for Social Change

Beth Kanter, Carolyn Miles, Ben Rattray, Ritu Sharma, Darian Rodriguez Heyman
1:45 PM to 3:45 PM
Tuesday, March 25

It’s a topic on the minds of most nonprofits, but unfortunately we push it to the backburner—social media. And taking it a step further, how we can use social media to spark social change.

This session is unique because it’s a general session where you have the opportunity to ask some of the nonprofit sector’s leading social media experts some of your burning questions. Plus you’ll get to hear from each speaker individually and listen in on the panel session.


Check out the complete list of sessions before the conference. Which sessions are you most looking forward to at the AFP International Conference?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

March 19, 2014

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