“Curated” conferences are different … & maybe a better bang for your buck, if you’re at a certain point in your career

You already knew this, right? “Curated” conferences are trending.

Ireland has its Ask Direct Summer School; this year, 2018, inviting fundraisers to the Emerald Isle for a third edition. Traveler’s hint: Bring an umbrella; they don’t call it the Emerald Isle for no reason.

(BTW: Even if you’re not an Irish charity, the Summer School speakers’ roster is stellar … and Dublin, going as far back as 140 AD, is a walkable, vibrant, deeply entertaining city; re-energized by Ireland’s Eurozone membership. Summer School, I’ve found, is a great place to meet others who operate successful “small” and “medium-sized” fundraising operations. It’s held at Trinity College, home to the medieval masterpiece, the Book of Kells.

BloomCon is open to every charity … not just Bloomerang’s rapidly-growing customer base of users. Conference personality: incredibly friendly. BloomCon became so popular so quickly that in 2018 the Bloomies doubled-down. Now they offer two sites: in Baltimore, MD; the other BloomCon in Phoenix, AZ. Simone and I will speak in Baltimore.

Canadians can flock to the 2nd-ever Western Canada Fundraising Conference in Vancouver this May. Like BloomCon and Summer School, it’s an artisanal conference, a labor of love, billed as “astonishingly affordable.” David Kravinchuk, “chief advice dispenser” at Fundraising Pharmacy, is the co-founder. Simone and me = both speaking.

Also in Canada this year: on June 14, there’s the #DonorLove Rendezvous “on the prairie.” I’ll speak. Canada kind of “owns” the #donorlove revolution (a.k.a., applied donor-centricity, ala Penny Burk and Adrian Sargeant.) #DonorLove started a couple of years ago with a “meeting of the minds” breakfast in the Great White North (I’m told). Rory Green, Maeve Strathy, Jen Love and John Lepp conspired over poutine to answer this Big Societal Industry-Wide Question (BSIWQ): “What comes next, to improve giving to charity?” Beth Ann Locke played a big role, too.

And then there’s the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference (NPSC).

Every industry has its annual “cattle call” conference … where vendors pony up serious bucks for booth space and a shot at masses of well-qualified eyeballs. If you haven’t been, you should attend at least one.

NPSC isn’t like that.

Nonprofit Storytelling Conference: “It takes a village”

The Nonprofit Storytelling Conference (NPSC) is idiosyncratic, quixotic, the work of one family (the Davenports) and many co-conspirators (no one gets paid to speak). And it’s meant to be fun, not just work: Movie Night with free popcorn is an NPSC tradition.

NPSC is the opposite of plain vanilla. It’s an experience that gets more intense every year.

It’s where you make lifelong professional friendships (I have; lots). And it’s where you’re free to discuss your special fundraising challenges with any presenter, at a standard feature called STORYLABS (that’s me trying to be useful in San Diego, in 2017; second from the right).

NPSC even has a busy afterlife.

NPSC attendees can join a closed Facebook group. There, fundraisers share their peculiar, specific problems … and a universe of practitioners and experts chime in with ideas and opinions, year-round.

The latest NPSC Facebook topic, for example: “Should you stop sending major donors your normal direct mail appeals?” A dozen people responded inside 24 hours with their own practices and experiences.

NPSC’s claim: “The #1 conference on how to use storytelling to raise more money in less time.”

Which is 100% accurate, I’d say. Storytelling is COMPLEX … and well, well, well worth a dedicated conference. NPSC delivers … BIG time, every time.

BTW: You can save $500 if you decide soon to attend. The “Super Early-Bird” Conference Rate ends March 30, 2018.

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