If you’re a Fundraiser considering conferences to attend this year, I’d strongly recommend the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Convention in Vancouver from 1-3 April 2012. The AFP is the US equivalent of the Institute of Fundraising, and the Convention draws together Fundraisers from across North America and increasingly the UK and Europe.
I attended the convention in 2008 in San Diego and loved it. The Education Seminars offered a great range of sessions on trends in philanthropy, donor behaviours, online fundraising, major gifts best practice, legacy marketing and fundraising strategy. The sessions were well presented and the content was excellent.
Having attended the convention and worked with a number of US consultants and funders, I find that the strongly embedded culture of philanthropy in the US continues to drive innovation in major gifts best practice and new philanthropic models such as social investment. Equally, the convention gives UK Fundraisers the opportunity to reflect on areas where our sector is arguably stronger, such as mobilising support from mass participation events and direct marketing.
Convention costs are roughly comparable to the UK IoF convention, and I certainly felt the increased costs of travel and accommodation were well worth it for the ideas and stimulus I took from the event. The US enthusiasm for fundraising is infectious, and it was refreshing to be in an environment where our profession is respected, valued and celebrated – which is isn’t always the case in the UK.
If you’re interested in the Convention details are at http://conference.afpnet.org and when I’ve booked in the past booking the Convention organisers have viewed IoF membership as valid for the professional discount rate. If you’d like to chat about the Convention further, do get in touch below or on C_MILES@sky.com