What I’m looking forward to at AFP 2011

In just a few days, 4000 fundraising professionals will descend upon Chicago for the 48th International Conference on Fundraising. It’s arguably the largest single gathering of self-proclaimed fundraising nerds around and yes, I’m excited to join them. Besides the education sessions themselves, here’s what I’m looking forward to…

The Technology

AFP released a strong mobile version of the conference site.  Make sure you bookmark it & have it ready.  Looks good – but the true test will be the usage at the event itself.  Additionally, the #afpmeet hashtag on Twitter has been quite a bit more active pre-event than last year.  This bodes well for those of us live tweeting, blogging and trying to attend 3 sessions at once by following the tweet stream.  If you’re not yet on Twitter – make sure you attend Gail Perry’s Buzz #3 at 3:30 on Sunday – in 30 minutes you’ll be up and running. Let the sharing begin!

The Conversations

Last year there was a heated debate about the leadership shift that resulted in true heckling from both sides. It was an entirely different March Madness.  The younger folks thought the older generation needed to ‘get out of the way’ and retire (Yes, they yelled that – rude.). While the more seasoned pros thought the newbies needed to ‘do their time like everyone else’ (also was yelled – also rude.).  It was obviously a sensitive topic as both sides felt threatened and quickly went on the defensive.  While many think we’ve talked about this issue enough – I haven’t seen any real solutions.  Both sides need to value each other and come to the table to discuss where their strengths are and how they can not only survive, but excel, together – because that’s what it’s going to take.

Official & Unofficial Tweet-Ups

Last year there were maybe 12 of us that were relatively active on Twitter and would bump into each other, recommend sessions/speakers and tweet highlights live.  I’m already seeing more of a buzz – so far there’s a Tweetup Sunday 3/20 at 3 pm during affinity networking sessions-look for Tweetup sign.  I’m sure there will be more.

The People

There are a number of people that I’m looking forward to meeting or catching up with. Here’s a short list…

  • Jay Frost (@GordonJayFrost) – a leading expert in the international fundraising scene, I love Jay’s use of social media shedding light on fundraising issues, trends and global philanthropic cultures.
  • Peter Drury (@seattledrury) – One of those northwesterners who’s likely already looking forward to Vancouver in 2012 – but he tweets a lot…about fundraising…and it’s all good…and I like that.
  • Barb Talisman – (@BTalisman) – Barb was all over Baltimore last year tweeting away and rockin’ her awesome Cinch Casts – I’m sure she’ll be at it again in Chicago.  Since then, I’ve followed her blog and the more I read, the more I like (hint – she’s highlighting great sessions BEFORE they happen). Quick and useful info – just how it should be.
  • Michael Rosen (@MLInnovations) – I’ve just recently begun following Michael and his efforts and love his collection in the Nonprofit Bookstore. He’s also presenting Donor-Centered Marketing Tips to Boost Planned Giving Results (PG-3), Monday at 2:45PM.
  • Derrick Feldman & Achieve (@achieve_consult) –  Achieve has made huge strides in a short time by offering tons of helpful info.  Additionally, many consultants and organizations don’t practice what they preach.  These folks lead by example. Their use of social media, web and a mix of other tools is constantly impressive. They also doing research with Johnson, Grossnickle  and Associates on Millennial Donors – great stuff.
  • Hartsook Companies (@hartsooktips)- Another fantastic firm with true professionals that aren’t afraid to think BIG and push the limits of philanthropy.  Counseling on campaigns of all types and sizes, they’ve done so much for the field and will continue to do so.
  • 250+ Canadians – Invading Chicago, eh?  Looking forward to the abundance of attendees from the north – always pleasant and easily the wildest bunch in town!
  • General Speakers – Last year, Desmond Tutu left incredible shoes to fill, we’ll see if Clinton, Latifah and Mycoskie can meet the bar.

And most of all?

I can’t wait to meet YOU! Stop me (or anyone for that matter) and say hello! The conversations are the best part. Looking for someone in particular? AFP has shared the attendee list (Excel download) for your viewing pleasure.

See you soon!

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