In a couple days, thousands of the world’s best fundraisers will descend on on sunny San Diego for the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference. Here are my priorities. Share yours in the comments and I’ll see you there!
10. Pack your jorts
Yes, we’ll be trapped in the convention center but there are several chances to see the sun. For those coming from recent snow and all of Canada…weather should be sunny and 65-70 degrees!
9. Follow the hashtags
You may not know it but the conference conversation has already started on Twitter. Follow #afpicon, #afpmeet and #afpeeps to engage with attendees and those watching from home.
8. Download the handouts
AFP’s conference site has links to downloadable handouts and much, much more. It’s the online hub for the tools and resources you’ll need this week.
7. Find the Top Gun sites
That’s right Maverick, Top Gun was filmed in San Diego. This site highlights your stops including Kansas City Barbeque (next to the Manchester Grand Hyatt), Charlie’s house, flight school and more.
6. Get to lunch early
Over the last few years, the lunch has been hit or miss on lines. Best to swing by early, grab a plate and join a table of strangers. Rude if you do that at home. Here it’s encouraged.
5. Hit the AFP After Dark party
As it turns out, fundraisers can dance. Monday night 9-11pm at the Hilton Bayfront. Disco attire optional. I hear Andrew Watt received break-dancing lessons for Christmas.
Don’t get the real conference fever. It’s a medical fact that many people work long hours up until leaving for a conference, go long days at a conference, then get sick and miss work to recover afterwards (ok, ‘fact’ is a loose term – but anecdotally it’s true). Don’t be afraid to power nap in the afternoon or take a walk around the convention center to get some air. Sometimes a cold bottle of water and a breeze is all you need to power up. If you need to charge your device, head to the THE NEST (see #2).
3. Visit the exhibitors
There are a BUNCH of newbies this year in the marketplace and all sorts of things to learn, see and WIN. (psst – I’m ruining my own chances by sharing this, but here’s the list of giveaways). Carve out some quality time to see what’s there. If you zoom through it looking for tootsie rolls and jolly ranchers like I used to do, you’re missing out.
2. Stop by The Nest
Yours truly, along with several other “AFPeeps” will be doing 17 mini-workshops on all sorts of social media tips, tricks and strategies. Here’s the full schedule – all take place in the Marketplace in between normal workshop hours.
You have a choice. Hide in the back corner of sessions, choose to work in your hotel room instead of socialize and build relationships, only go to sessions that you already know about – and you’ll leave with a couple new contacts and a bit of affirmation in what you do. Or, you can engage with everyone you see, collect business cards, go to sessions that will challenge you, take every breakfast, lunch and dinner as an opportunity to connect with new people, listen and learn – and you’ll leave with tons of new friends, a new perspective on the important work you do and a fantastic energy boost.
BONUS: Download the AFP Conference App! I just did last night and freaggin’ love it.
See you there!