This week, I attended the annual AFP International Fundraising Conference in Boston. As an exhibitor at AFPFC 2016, I had the unique opportunity to talk with so many great conference attendees who are doing their part to make the world a better place. And, although my colleague and I were there for business purposes, we always take pride in knowing that we are helping to provide fundraisers around the world with some of the tools they need to advance their mission.
Every year, we learn so much from the AFPFC participants and this year was no different. Here are some of the things we took away from this year’s conference.
- Tech, tech and more tech. Every year we see exponential growth in the number of nonprofit technology providers exhibiting at the Marketplace. Walking around the expo, I was very impressed to see even more booths showcasing things like marketing services, website design, mobile fundraising, CRM software and more. As providers of nonprofit technology ourselves, we had many booth visitors looking for ways to make managing donors easier by moving from Excel spreadsheets to CRM technology. More and more fundraisers are beginning to see the benefits of utilizing technology to make their fundraising more successful and better manage and cultivate their relationships with donors. In addition, we were overwhelmed with the number of fellow exhibitors who approached us about becoming integration partners. We know that we work better as a team, so if we can join forces with other technology partners to provide even more tools to make our customers’ fundraising easier, we are happy to do it! New and emerging technology has made it easier for us to partner with other organizations to provide expanded functionality.
- Social media. As a communications specialist, I am always looking for new ways to interact with and communicate with our audience. Each year at AFP, social media becomes even more prevalent and active. This year, we interacted with attendees and exhibitors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even a special AFP app developed specifically for the conference. There was a constant stream of tweets, pictures, posts and likes about the conference – and there still are! We have seen social media increase camaraderie and help nonprofits spread their messages and better reach donors. I had a great time engaging and being inspired on social media and seeing how it can be used in philanthropy!
- Emphasis on diversity. We had the chance to talk with people from all over the world who stopped by our booth! From Brazil to Australia, Japan to the UK, fundraisers from across the globe attended AFPFC to learn more about fundraising and the nonprofit industry. Participants also got to hear from General Session Speakers Kofi Annan of the UN and Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace who spoke of global visions and fighting injustice. It is so encouraging to see the push toward inclusion and diversity in the nonprofit sector!