Once again the premier event for professional fundraisers – the AFP International Fundraising Conference – provided a superb venue for several career-enhancing activities. After being part of four full days jam-packed with so many opportunities I will use this forum to share my personal insights.

1. Networking Reigns Supreme

Whether it is sitting next to fellow fundraisers in the packed education sessions or just waiting in line for those “scrumptious” noon time sandwiches you could see and feel the complete sharing of ideas, thoughts, dreams and problem solutions.

This networking extends beyond the in the field fundraisers to all of the wonderful consultants and vendors who serve the needs of the fundraisers daily. This is the rare chance to share ideas and to form alliances of varies degrees in a face-to-face forum.

Over the three plus decades I have been attending, it is easy to trace back where certain alliances and partnerships were formed or at least the idea germinated at this event.

2. Education Topped the Must-Do List

The education sessions were foremost on every attendee’s mind. This was readily apparent as they raced off to the sessions in order to just get a seat before the fire marshals shut the doors!

Each year the quality of the education improves and the awareness of just what a difference attending numerous education sessions at a conference like this can make rises. One of the education sessions even highlighted recent research stating that every such education experience like this leads to an additional $37,000 being raised each year!

Our friend Amy Eisenstein shared these takeaways from the education sessions, which further highlight some of the best ones.

3. A Truly Special Way for Bloomerang to Give Back

The tradition continued for Bloomerang to use our ability to host a large booth in the exhibition hall as a way to give back to the local community where the conference is being held.

Here is the social media post and picture describing this wonderful way to be a good neighbor in each city we go to:

“If you’ve ever wondered why our trade show booths don’t look as fancy as some others, there are a few reasons.

We like to purchase practical furniture for each show, then donate it to local charities. This helps us cut down on costs associated with expensive rental companies, allowing us to invest as much money as possible back towards our product and ultimately our customers. We also love supporting organizations in need.

One of our favorite events to do this at is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference. This year, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and the Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC) in Boston, MA received our chairs, tables and futons.”

afp-booth-donation

I love that we can make an impact in such a manner! Perhaps this can be an inspiration for other vendors and consultants at future Nonprofit Conferences.

So as you can see, this AFP International Conference was not one to be missed. Perhaps we will see you next spring in San Francisco!

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.