Chapter Leadership Brief 5.23.19

Getting Ready for Fundraising Day in New York

By Gary Laermer, AFP-NYC President

On Friday, June 14th you’ll have the chance to gather with nearly 2,000 of your fellow fundraising professionals at the largest philanthropy conference in New York. This convening is a great day of learning, idea sharing, and fellowship amongst peers. In order to maximize the time I have to learn and network with other participants, I always try to take a few minutes to prepare for my participation in conferences. Here are the steps I follow to get the most of a day-long learning experience.

Review the agenda and pick the sessions that resonate with you and will provide the best learning opportunity.  Consider both the topic and presenter. Ask others in your office if they have been in a session with the presenter before. Avoid making last minute session choices. If your organization is covering the cost of your attendance, be sure to select sessions worthy of their investment. If others from your organization are attending, don’t all go to the same session. Splitting up for sessions will maximize how much you will be able to learn and bring back to your shop.

Attend with a goal in mind for the number of new contacts to make. Try for five and collect their business cards and emails.  Connect with others who can be resources, friends, or mentors. Don’t just lunch and stay with those individuals you already know – truly make the effort to build new connections.

Fundraising Day in New York has a dedicated hashtag #FRDNY2019. During the event, make sure you’re tagging your tweets and Instagram posts. You can also monitor the hashtag throughout the day to see what people are talking about. You could even pick up great LinkedIn contacts by staying abreast of what’s happening on social throughout the day.

This last tip might be the most difficult to implement in attending an all-day conference, but is critical. Try not to spend most of the day responding to emails. Help those who are trying to contact you understand you’re not just away from your office, but that you’re learning, expanding your skills, and connecting with others who will help you be an even better fundraiser. Be sure to set your out of office message. Don’t just say you’re out of the office with limited access to email, as most do. Try, “I’m out of the office today advancing my skills and will return Monday, June 17 even better prepared to achieve great success. I’ll be sure to respond to your email by the end-of-business on Monday. Thank you.”

Lastly, have fun. It should be a great day!! An extraordinary committee of volunteers has worked tirelessly to provide a meaningful experience. See you on June 14th at the Marriott Marquis.

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