I am currently wrestling with our 2009 operating budget and we are faced with some difficult choices. One of them will be what to do about the "professional development" line.
Ongoing education is absolutely essential in this business. Our worlds are changing quickly and to stay competitive we need to keep up to date. This brings us to number three in my post about what I learned in 2008 Yes it is true that attending IFC (do I need to link there again....oh okay) opened my eyes to a new world of learning. The very sad reality is that I don't think our budget can support my going again in 2009. I now have to think creatively about how we can get the training we need for less money. Jonathon Grapsas blogged about this concern just last week. My response to Jonathon is that those providing education have no choice but to innovate. Nothing can replace personal interactions at conferences it is true. However, sacrificing drinks at the bar with famous fundraising gurus, doesn't mean that we need to sacrifice staying up to date. Two great examples of this are:
1. The online Affinity Resources webinar The three of us, for one low registration fee, hunkered in my office, had lunch and listened to Bernard Ross and Richard McPherson share wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and even debate a little bit about the pros and cons of online versus face to face donor relationships.
After the seminar we finished our lunch, talked about what we learned and how to apply it, then went back to work. (I'd like to know how many people did the same thing around the world so if you are from Affinity and know please post a comment.)
2. An amazing new online international conference! The Resource Alliance breaks new ground once again. Check out their global connections newsletter which talks about this first ever online International Conference. Of course the theme is digital media for this year but I expect like everything else they do the Resource Alliance will continue to expand this great new idea.
Of course nothing can replace the face to face, business card exchanging, back and forth conference experience. Which is why you should all plan on attending this great seminar.
Ongoing education is more important than ever. How will you make sure you stay up to date and in budget in 2009?
Thank you for spending time here.