Each month, subscribers of GuideStar's free e-newsletter are invited to share their responses to the Question of the Month. February's newsletter asked readers what topic they would find most useful at a nonprofit conference. Answers fell into three categories:
Fundraising is on the mind of virtually every nonprofit organization in the United States today. Our readers indicated that everything from fundraising at the beginning of an organization's lifecycle to regulations surrounding on-line fundraising to raising funds internationally would all be extremely helpful topics at nonprofit conferences. One excellent resource for fundraising information is the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The AFP holds a national conference annually and numerous regional workshops throughout the year.
Legal issues ranked second among the responses. As one reader pointed out, "If you have a small nonprofit, more than likely, the organization will not be able to afford or have access to legal counsel." Our readers indicated that they are looking for information on legal issues that range from designated donor funds to international growth. For conferences dealing with legal issues, you might want to check out the IRS Calendar of Events.
Technology issues finished third among the responses. Wally Elton, national director of conservation interns of the Student Conservation Association, Inc., suggested "guidelines on appropriate use of email as an internal communication tool ... how to deal with email overload" as a topic. You can find a list of conferences dealing with technology and other issues at The Chronicle of Philanthropy. They post a searchable calendar of events that includes conferences and workshops that may not have appeared in their printed newspaper.
GuideStar offers two resources that will help you locate a conference in your area on the topic of your choice. Our Conference Calendar allows you to search for conferences by either state or keyword. Also check out GuideStar on the Go, a list of the cities and conferences that GuideStar staff members will be attending in coming weeks and months.