My husband doesn't think I should post this. He thinks I might get into trouble. So guess what I'm going to do...
I'm a pretty transparent person. No secrets really (well none I would share!) I've decided that maybe it is time for me to start presenting at conferences. A friend charmingly persuaded me into this transition at IFC this past year. That was a good thing and I'd like to do it again.
I have finally figured out how this works. If you are an actual fundraising professional with a job that you get paid to go too and you think speaking at a conference might be a fun thing to do - listen up.
1. You have to find out about session submission deadlines. These are anywhere from 8 - 18 months ahead of the actual conference.
2. You have to figure out what you want to say that could add value.
3. You have to maneuver your way through a series of online forms that don't actually work. (this wasn't just one conference btw)
4. Once you have figured out that the online forms don't work you have to rewrite your submission in WORD (or you could start in word and save it! which might have been a good idea) Then find the right email address to send your submission too.
5. You have to wait for four to six months to find out if that block of time that you set aside is going to be needed.
6. You have to lie awake at night trying to figure out if the outline you submitted could actually turn a real conference session.
I spent my weekend doing these things for a few conferences next year.
During my research I noticed a puzzling trend. The majority of presenters at the three largest conferences I looked at are consultants. What is happening? Where have the charity fundraisers gone?
I know that the presenters aren't suppose to use the conferences to solicit clients...but let's be honest here guys. No matter how soft the sell...it is a sell. AND let's face it, it is the business of a consultant to be at the conference. This is a good thing - we get to know them before we hire them.
I wonder though, does a fundraiser like me have and hope breaking into a marketplace that requires so much effort to get in the program? Consultants do this for a living some even with personal assistants, I squeeze it in on a Sunday afternoon.
If invited (Admittedly less likely after this blog) I'll go enthusiastically of course- in part to to demonstrate that people can still share at conferences as a voluntary altruistic gesture to make the sector stronger.
Thank you for spending time here. Comments, especially from consultants :-) are welcome.
PS I do actually like most consultants, some of them are even my friends (or were)