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Squeezing, Networking and Learning: Thoughts from the 2013 North Carolina Philanthropy Conference

orangePealSmallWith a theme of “A New Twist” and an energized conference committee, the 2013 North Carolina Philanthropy Conference burst onto the local scene last week with great fanfare and stout. The early morning session kicked off the jam-packed day with Karla Williams, Kelley Stewart and Dan Dunlop providing their thoughts on fundraising in the current environment. This trio of seasoned professionals began a daylong discourse about the fundamental themes of modern-day fundraising: data analytics, social media, and board engagement.

Attendees were able to “squeeze” a lot of information and training into one day. Four different periods of breakout sessions were offered throughout the day. Topics included board development, metrics, major gifts, planned giving, diversity, social media, volunteer management, communications and special events. Three Master Classes were also presented as a special option for more advanced fundraising professionals.

The lunchtime panel with Andi Stevenson, Gail Perry, Robert Wahlers and Karla Williams brought some hearty discussion around donor satisfaction, incentive compensation and a famous TEDx video by Dan Pallotta. (You can view that video HERE.) One glaring statistic stood out in this session:

The average tenure of a fundraiser is 16 months.

You can read more about this topic in our Innovation Series post about Talent Acquisition & Retention HERE. One of the more talked-about activities of the day came in the form of a live survey. During the morning and lunch plenary sessions, attendees were able to vote by phone on different questions related to fundraising.

In between sessions, the conference provided time for over 400 fundraising professionals to network with each other and build connections with new colleagues. It is one of the many benefits to attending these types of conferences. For those who stayed to the end, Eric Rowles of Leading to Change opened the dance floor for a memorable talk about generational differences in fundraising.

Patton McDowell and Associates is proud to be a sponsor of the 2013 North Carolina Philanthropy Conference. PMA offers a special “thank you” to each and every person involved in the preparation, the sponsorships, the on-site tactics and the follow-up involved in such a huge event. Mark your calendars for August 2014 for the next conference in Raleigh, NC. See you there!