What to watch for at #MDS11

The (virtual) Millennial Donor Summit is tomorrow and there is soooo much to look forward to.  Here’s what my radar will be hunting for…

Can virtual conferences really ‘work’?

I’m excited to truly test the ‘virtual conference’ concept.  I know it’s been attempted before in a variety of ways but from my sneak peak of the exhibit hall, session rooms, panel discussions, video chats and the awesome booth I get to set up (complete with banners, videos, contests, brochures and more), this might be the greatest professional development experience ever.

Why? Not only will I  be engaging with hundreds of professionals from around the country in a personal and technology-driven environment, but I’ll save thousands of dollars on travel, food and lodging; I don’t have to fight people for outlets or charging stations; I can attend from anywhere, wearing anything and the fact that I get access to the sessions I decide against for up to a year afterwards.

Learning abound

I love conferences because they include two of my favorite things. Learning and meeting new people.  As much as I hope to offer the attendees from my humbled ‘official blogger’ position (alongside esteemed nonprofit bloggers Beth Kanter, Katya Andreson, Kivi Leroux Miller and Amy Sample Ward) I hope to learn a TON from the presentations and follow up conversations.  Conferences are a chance to strap a rocket-pack to your professional development, network and resource file – and MDS11 should be no different.

Emerging thought leaders

When people get together, thought leaders are developed.  Don’t get me wrong, I still truly value the expertise of fundraising education pillars Adrian Sargeant, Ken Burnett, Simone Joyeaux and others (see @marcapitman‘s recent #fundcoaches Twitter stream with @thattomahern).  But social media gives everyone megaphones and I always love to see who steps up at conferences and challenges the status quo (how dare they!), creates discussion and fosters true engagement.

True value of Millennials

In fundraising nerd-speak, we talk about ‘Donor Lifetime Value’ (DLV) as the total value a donor brings to an organization during their lifetime.  It allows us to justify the $50 we spend to raise $25 from them in the first year – knowing that our investment will pay off as they continue to support the organization.  We also use DLV and ‘stewardship’ as a way to justify investing time and money into building relationships with those who may not currently have cash to share or liquidity in their assets.  The usual argument is that investing in millennials now will pay off 10+ fold down the road. I even made this argument last week.  However, with their interest and ability in mobilizing and doing good, dance marathons and lemonade stands can raise millions in one day.  Who says millennials aren’t serious donors now?

For (hopefully) answers to these questions and more, follow me on Twitter and the hashtag #MDS11.  Better yet, it’s not to late to register.  (or not).

2 thoughts on “What to watch for at #MDS11

  1. I’ll take your word on the set up; the ease of navigation was the one thing that most concerned me about attending #MDS11. Of course, I’m incredibly excited about the topics, people and 4 of the 5 official bloggers😉

    “See” you tomorrow!

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