Stand Out in the Conference Crowd

Andrea Beeman, Director of Outreach and Research

Tips & Tricks to Conquer a Conference

Your boss just let you know that you’ll be one of your organization’s representatives at a large conference. SCORE! You’re excited because the location is great and you get out of the office for a few days. But before you pack your bags and hop on that airplane, stop and strategize using these tips & tricks.

Before the conference:

  • Make a game plan: Create a list of your top priorities and goals for the conference and brainstorm with your supervisor and teammates to make sure you’re making the best use of your time. Planning ahead and being strategic about your attendance is a good way to gain respect from your boss and best utilize your organization’s time and resources.
  • Utilize the attendee list: Typically, the conference will have an app or will send around a list of attendees. It is your job to use it! Is there someone you need to connect with? Are there prospects that you need to follow up with or introduce yourself to? Write down their names, and make it a priority to connect with them BEFORE the conference to arrange a time to meet. While you’re at it, create your own version of the conference schedule so that you don’t have the clutter of the panels and sessions you won’t be attending.

During the conference:

  • Take notes: There is a 100% chance that you will not remember every detail of the sessions or even what you wore during the conference. Write it down as soon as possible so that you’re able to accurately remember and share the information with others.
  • Take a break: This might sound counterintuitive, but if you attend every single early morning and late night event, chances are you’ll wear yourself out before the conference has really started. If you take some time to catch your breath, you’ll be ready to face the next networking reception feeling refreshed and on top of your game.

After the conference:

  • Follow up: For each person you connect with, you should create a logical next action step. It might be as simple as connecting on LinkedIn, sending an email with an invitation to get together, or adding their name and information to your database. Make it a priority to complete the next steps as soon as you return to the office.
  • Share with your team: Sharing the notes you took, the connections you made, and insights you gained with your team will be a valuable resource for you and your teammates. Remember, your team is your best resource!

Conferences can be of great value to your organization and your professional development. Choose to stand out among the crowd and prepare yourself for a profitable experience.

Looking for more useful tips and insights into the nonprofit fundraising world? Checkout acfitzgerald.com or subscribe to our Nonprofit Partner newsletter

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