Although I didn’t realize this in the early years, attending AFP International’s annual conference, AFP ICON, has become a springtime tradition for me. Each year, as I think about what I want to attend, what takes priority and how I want to learn and grow as an individual working in the world of social good, I think of ICON. I think of several days dedicated to learning new things, understanding unfolding trends and—this is the best part—sitting with really smart people who are so willing to share their insights. People who care deeply about making an impact in the world. I come back enriched, more knowledgeable and filled with the energy of the community.
For me, ICON is also a time to give back and engage in the work of the association as a volunteer, led by AFP leaders around the globe. Although this work takes place year-round, being in the same room as fellow AFP volunteers—whether we are talking about the Women’s Impact Initiative, finance or learning from our international colleagues—adds richness to the experience. Volunteerism is what brought me to AFP in the first place in 2006, when I was asked to help AFP Lowcountry develop a repeatable model for its summer conference. My own volunteer experience, locally in Charleston, with the international board and beyond, has deepened that connection.
I’m pleased to share that Blackbaud is again offering an incentive for attendees to make a donation to the AFP Foundation during the conference through the “Be the Cause” campaign by providing a gift for each donation made. We’ll announce more details on this during the conference.
This year, I’ll be joined at AFP ICON by a group of Blackbaud colleagues and friends, some of whom will be sharing their own expertise. I’m particularly proud that experts from the Blackbaud Institute, which drives research and insight to accelerate philanthropic impact, will be presenting three sessions:
- The Next Generation of Giving
Sunday, March 31 from 9:00-10:15 AM
Ashley Thompson, Managing Director, Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact
- Do This, Not That: Proven Best Practices for Today’s Fundraiser
Monday, April 1 from 8:00-9:15 AM
Chuck Longfield, Senior Advisor, Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact
Roger Craver, Editor, The Agitator
Everything We Know About Fundraising Is (Mostly) Wrong
Monday, April 1 from 1:15-2:30 PM
Steve MacLaughlin, Vice President, Data & Analytics; Senior Advisor, Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact
I’m also excited for the session on crowdfunding, which will be presented by my colleagues in Blackbaud’s Consumer Solutions business. Brad Little was a leader at Facebook in the UK before joining Blackbaud last year and knows the crowdfunding and social media landscape, while Robyn Mendez has been working in the peer-to-peer space for quite some time and has spoken at many conferences about this topic. It’s sure to be a can’t-miss session!
- Crowdfunding: How the Rules of Fundraising Have Changed
Tuesday, April 2 from 10:15-11:30 AM
Brad Little, Managing Director, Consumer Solutions US, Blackbaud
Robyn Mendez, Principal Product Marketing Manager, Blackbaud
I look forward to seeing everyone at AFP ICON in a few weeks. Please make sure to stop by the Blackbaud booth to say hello to me and to my colleagues!