A Recap of the AFP International Conference
Heather Stoskopf, ERAs Senior Network, Inc.
It was quite an honor to be one of three Southeastern WI Chapter AFP members to receive a scholarship to the AFP International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco this April! I was amazed by how much information was fit into three days of sessions. During the conference, we were able to attend 11 breakout sessions, 2 general sessions featuring amazing keynote speakers Shiza Shahid - Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, and Cleve Jones - Human Rights and AIDS Activist, a first-timers orientation, affinity networking sessions, a Night at LinkedIn and more. We were basically on the go from sun-up to sun-down, but that’s what I’d expect at a conference of this magnitude.
One tool that was incredibly helpful prior to attending the conference was the AFP app which I downloaded to my iPhone. On the app, I was able to create my own schedule based on the sessions I wanted to attend, connect with others attending the conference through inbox messages and a fun social feed, access handouts and more. Having my schedule on the app was great because I could just look down at my phone and know where I needed to get to next instead of rifling through papers.
The best part of the conference was meeting my favorite fundraising guru, Gail Perry! I saw her present at the 2016 Fundraising Day Wisconsin conference and instantly connected to her language and donor stewardship style. I was able to have a conversation with Ms. Perry about some ideas I was implementing at my agency and she offered some advice as well!
Being an international conference, I met people from Canada, Ethiopia, Japan, Australia, and all over the United States. Many of these contacts have stayed in touch, and hopefully I’ll see some of them at next year’s conference – which I signed up for right when I returned from this one! If you get the opportunity to attend the AFP International Fundraising Conference, I definitely recommend it. Not only was I able to access top-notch educational sessions and come away with tangible next steps, but for three days, I was able to immerse myself in the philanthropic culture, which reignited my passion for my cause.
Lastly, besides this conference recap, I will be creating a short webinar on the key takeaways I learned at the conference which I will share with our chapter. I am very grateful for this opportunity from the Southeastern WI Chapter of AFP - thank you so much!
Left photo: Heather and, fellow AFP Southeastern Wisconsin Member, Carolyn Hahn
Right photo: Heather and Gail Perry