Wednesday, April 13, 2011


After eleven years of attending networking receptions at fundraising conferences on three different continents, I am writing to quickly congratulate the Canadian Association of Gift Planners for their successful opening reception.

Three challenges were overcome in an incredibly innovative and fun way.

The first challenge: Meeting board members.
The committee came up with a really fun sticker game. All board members has a special colour lanyard and stickers. The goal for delegates - get all nine stickers on your name tag. At the end of the conference leave your nametage behind with all NINE stickers and it will be entered into a draw for a FREE registration at the next conference.

This activity helped all board members meet the members of their association and board members were perceived as accessible, geographically diverse and really fun. I met some great people.

The second challenge: Getting registrants to talk to exhibitors.
The solution: Exhibitor Bingo. All exhibitors had the word Thank You in a different language. The delegates job was to visit all exhibitors, talk to them about the word Thank You and get them to sign my bingo sheet. Then at the end of the conference I hand in my bingo sheet for a draw for what? You guessed it, registration at the conference next year.

The third challenge: welcoming newcomers.
As a first time CAGP Conference attendee I had a green sticker on my nametag. Veterans seeing this sticker go out of their way to make sure I feel welcome. There was a small downside is that some as summed I'm new to fundraising and planned giving. The CFRE ribbon worked to clarify that a little, but still I left the reception feeling like I belonged.

So, YES I want a free registration, YES I want something to talk to board members about, YES I want to have something to talk to exhibitors about and YES I want to feel welcomed.

Thank you CAGP for a great first impression of your conference. Others can learn a great deal from your example. Looking forward to an early night and a great day of learning tomorrow.

Have you experienced creative and innovative ways to overcome the conference challenges I've mentioned above? Please share your ideas in a comment.

Thanks for spending time here.

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