I’m counting down the days to AFP ICON in Baltimore. It helps that they have a counter on their website. My colleague Kelley Stewart calls me a “conference junkie” and she’s right. I’m thrilled to get spend 3 days getting inspired by the brilliant thought leaders in our space. Jon Duschinsky and Tony Elischer’s jaw dropping multimedia sensation “The Philanthropy Kaleidoscope” at last year’s AFP was unforgettable. It raised my expectations for this year’s event which were quickly met with the star-studded keynote line up of Seth Godin, Whoopi Goldberg and Isabel Allende.
On top of those heavy weights who else is on my must see list? In alphabetical order they are…
1. Tom Ahern
I am a mega fan of Tom Ahern and preach his gospel everywhere I go. His session on Loverizing Your Donor last year was so packed it may have violated fire marshall codes but never fear, because this year Tom is leading 4 sessions: Writing a Fabulous Case for Support, I Wish I’d Thought of That – AFP & SOFII, Loverizing: The Lucrative Difference a Few Well-Chosen Words Will Make in Your Donor Communications and Developing a Marketing and Communications Plan.
2. NPExperts: Frank Barry (Blackbaud), Shanon Doolittle (Shanon Doolittle + Co.) & Karen Osborne (The Osborne Group)
Last year I had the honor of doing a panel with Frank and Shanon and seeing Karen in action as well. Join them for “The Future of Fundraising NP Experts panel” this is a not to be missed session!
3. Penelope Burk
I never miss a Penelope Burk session and I’m especially excited to get to see this new topic “Under the Radar…How to Unleash Young Donor’s Philanthropy” Sunday morning at 10 am.
4. Ken Burnett
If you have not already read Ken’s The Zen of Fundraising, get a copy! Ken’s site sofii.org is a treasure trove of great appeals worth bookmarking. Monday afternoon at 3:00 pm Ken will be presenting “Storytelling Can Change the World. Really, It Can. Here’s How.”
5. Shanon Doolittle
Shanon’s title “donor happiness coach” says it all. Shanon is a ray of sunshine in the often stressful world of fundraising. If you want to recharge your fundraising batteries check out her session “Love Your Job, Love Your Life: 10 Rules for a Thriving Fundraising Career” with the fabulous Beth Ann Locke.
6. Tad Druart
I had the gift of working with Tad at Convio for several years and I’m excited about the research from Abila that he’ll be sharing in his session, “What Really Matters? 2015 Donor Engagement Study - Aligning Nonprofit Strategy with Donor Preferences”.
7. Lori Jacobwith
I am a storytelling junkie and Lori Jacobwith is a master storyteller. Her session title: “Advanced Level Storytelling: How to Combine Your People Stories and Your Money Story” had me at hello! Who doesn’t need to combine their people stories and their money stories?
8. Simone Joyaux
We can look forward to 3 sessions from Simone and my can’t miss pick is going to be “It's Easier Than Frozen Pizza: Teaching Your Board Members to Ask”. I don’t know any organization that doesn’t struggle with getting board members to fundraise and Simone is a pro, so I predict this one will be standing room only!
9. Dennis McCarthy
Last year Dennis and Mark Rovner from Sea Change Strategies knocked it out of the park with their Next Generation of American Giving report release session and this year we can look forward to “The Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: Examining Diversity in Giving”.
10. Rachel Muir
Come to my session “The Donor Experience” on Tuesday at 2:00! You’ll see the donor experience from a whole new light and walk away with tools you can start using immediately.
11. Bernard Ross
I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Bernard Ross but the rave reviews have me looking forward to his session “Behavioural Economics: Everything You Know About Donor Decision Making is Wrong” on Monday at 10 am.
12. Adrian Sargeant
You can’t attend AFP ICON and miss a chance to see the legendary Adrian Sargeant ! Luckily since he is presenting three session you have lots of opportunity. I’m thrilled for all of them, especially Sunday’s “Building Donor Loyalty: What's New?” and Tuesday’s “Massive Fundraising”.
I hope to see you in Baltimore at my session or at the Pursuant booth, #703. Come say hi! If you want more recommendations on sessions check out Nonprofit Hub’s Nonprofit Hub’s top 5 picks . Tweet about AFP ICON using: #afpfc, #afpeeps, #afpmeet
The preceding is a guest post by Rachel Muir, CFRE & Vice President of Training at Pursuant where she transforms individuals into confident, successful fundraisers through classroom, custom and online training. When she was 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. Several years later she had raised over 10 million dollars and was featured on Oprah, CNN, and the Today show. Follow Rachel on Twitter here and Pursuant on Twitter here.