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Relationship Business: My AFP Conference experience..

This year’s AFP International Conference in San Francisco was one of the most personally and professionally rewarding that I’ve been to in several years.

As a fundraising professional, you can often get good content from philanthropy experts online with just a few clicks.  This content is usually free and easily available, but there is nothing like actually meeting with the experts and hearing them in person.
We’re in the relationship business, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with people in San Francisco from literally around the world. Before I went, I made a list of people I wanted to make sure to meet. I’m happy to say that I met with everyone on my list. I was also fortunate to became acquainted with many others who weren’t on my list…but they are now!
Kent with Marcy _right_ yellow hat_ and Lori Jacobwith after Marcy_s presentation in San Francisco
Snapped a photo with Marcy Heim and Lori Jacobwith after her presentation – Marcy is in the yellow hat!
A few sessions I attended really stood out. One was led by Marcy Heim. She was on my list of people I really wanted to meet, and her workshop on

“How to have Donor-Centered Conversations” was especially meaningful. I consider donor-centered fundraising an area of personal specialty, but I came away from her session with several things that I can add to my own practice. Her work brings vision to the theoretical side and provides tools on how to apply, in practical ways, what she has discovered in her years as a fundraiser.

Another big name on my list was Adrian Sargeant from Plymouth University. I attended a session of his on event-based fundraising, which I also happened to speak about at the same conference. I was fascinated to see that our two sessions, which focused on different dimensions of the same topic, overlapped without any conflict. He and his team are researching how to use events to actually raise money, rather than using events to simply churn people. I left his session with excitement and appreciation for what his team is doing!

These were just a couple of the people I was able to meet with during my time at the conference. I encourage you to read books, articles or blog posts they’ve written and see how their wisdom might apply to what you do in your work.

Remember, we’re in the relationship business first and foremost! I was reminded of that in a meaningful way during this conference.

Have a great week,

P.S. I’ve submitted several speaking proposals for next year’s AFP Conference. Hope you can join us April 15-17 in New Orleans!
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