The value of attending a conference

Attending an informational conference can help your nonprofit grow. Furthering your education and being aware of new technology and industry trends is beneficial for you and those who are contributing to the success of your organization. Know the benefits associated with signing up for and attending conferences, and develop a budget for sending board members and employees to this type of event.

Check out these benefits and tips for nonprofit conferences! And for a complete list of upcoming conferences, check out this list from DonationForce.

Learning and sharing newly acquired knowledge and skills
If you send a few employees to a conference about new online fundraising tools or marketing techniques, they can relay valuable information back to the rest of your nonprofit. This is a great way to develop strong communication among your employees, volunteers, donors, board members, and other members of your nonprofit community.

In addition, Inc. Magazine noted that when an attendee is responsible for coming back home and sharing the information he or she learned throughout the duration of the conference, the individual will likely be more engaged at the various sessions

Networking opportunities
With a wide array of professionals who are familiar with the nonprofit sector, those who attend can gain a wealth of knowledge and connect with others who can help propel your cause. Networking is one of the particularly beneficial elements of sending individuals to a nonprofit conference.

In addition to meeting people who serve as a resource for your nonprofit's future endeavors, you may become acquainted with individuals who could serve as a great candidates for future job or board member openings.

Shepa Learning Company, a networking advisor, recommended reaching out and starting conversations with people you do not know. Ask how they are enjoying the conference and develop new relationships.

Many conferences will publish a list of conference attendees a few weeks prior to the start of the conference. If you want to be extra prepared for networking, sift through this list and highlight the individuals you definitely want to speak to during the conference. Try to allot a certain amount of time for each person so that you have time to talk to everyone on your list!

Budgeting for an educational conference
While attending a conference can provide your nonprofit with valuable experience and knowledge, it is important to consider how much money you will be able to allocate for conference attendance.

There are a few ways that you can save money when deciding to sign up for a conference. For example, sending fewer people and asking them to share what they learned can save you money while still helping the entire nonprofit benefit from the event's information.

Finding conferences within driving distance and packing food to take along for the trip can help alleviate costs. In some instances, conferences will also offer discounts if:

  • You are a member of a certain organization,
  • Have attended the event in the past,
  • Or sign up by a certain date.

Ask the event coordinators of conferences about available potential discounts available.

Nonprofit conferences in 2016 
There are several events that your charity can benefit from that all cater to unique wants, needs and resources, and EveryAction noted a variety of impressive events that will be available throughout 2016. In March, your nonprofit can attend the Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness in Tucson, Arizona or  the AFP International Fundraising Conference in Baltimore. Decide on a radius that you are willing to travel and pick a conference that fits your budget and needs. 

Conferences give your nonprofit the opportunity to learn and grow. Consider attending an event this spring. 

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