Confessions of a conference addict

Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized | 7 comments

It is time for me to make a public confession. Are you ready?

If I attended your conference anytime between AFP Fundraising Day 2009 and AFP Toronto Chapter Congress 2011 I did not recycle my name badge. I stole it. I’m sorry.

I love my wee collection of name badges and the story they tell. My Canadian Association of Gift Planners Conference name tag has little stickers all over it. The stickers remind me of a networking game we played that involved meeting board members. It was so smart.


At the 2009 International Fundraising Conference in Holland Howard Lake, John Lepp and I started tweeting with a conference hashtag for the first time that we were aware of. My nametag reminds me of this because I handwrote my twittername @kimberleycanada on it.

At the Bridge conference in DC I attended on behalf of Canadian Fundraiser and I have a little “press” ribbon that I am very proud of. (Identifying yourself as press is always a good thing to do by the way 😉).

The Association of Fundraising Professionals of Toronto Chapter conference name badge – my home chapter – reminds me of close friends and colleagues and how proud I am of the way that Congress has grown over the years.

The South Asian Fundraising Group Conference name badge in Jaipur India holds perhaps the most  happy memories. Warm welcoming delegates, insatiable appetites for learning and Bollywood dancing to a live band during a steamy Indian night.

Obviously it isn’t the memento of the lanyard and plastic name badges that I love so much. It is the conference experience itself. Meeting together with other fundraisers, exchanging ideas, supporting each other, learning from each other, getting better at our craft, that is what I love.  In fact, as a self-proclaimed conference addict this year I promised to give myself a bit of a break. This is a promise I cannot keep because recently I found out about an extraordinary week being planned and I simply couldn’t help myself. I had to raise my hand and ask how I could get involved.

I am proud to be a small part of The Extraordinary Donor Journey…A fundraising Odyssey of the Future. My small short term role as Global Training Ambassador is possibly the easiest one ever. All I will be doing is talking about something I believe in and providing you the opportunity to attend – any one of the four workshops at an additional discount of 10% using a special code. The code is JOURNEY12 and you can register and use it here now.

Why is it so easy for me to support this project?

So many reasons:

  • Nothing like this has happened before in Canada. On June 25, 26, 27, 28 four of the world’s best fund development speakers will be travelling across the country to offer and extraordinary learning opportunity. If you live in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto you can be part of this one week event.
  • Guy Mallabone, Simone Joyaux, Richard Radcliffe and Stephen Pidgeon WOW! You see this day is so concentrated with greatness, unlike other opportunities there won’t be a boring, dull or useless moment. Of this I am very confident.  Every moment and every dollar will offer an excellent return on investment, not just for your organization, but also your career.
  • Having attended dozens of conferences around the world much of my own fundraising success has been shaped by a variety of masterclasses and sessions facilitated by these four speakers and I want you to have the same opportunity.

You no longer have a professional development budget at work?

Bollocks! While I am truly sorry to see organizations pulling back on the professional development budget line (my own included) I believe that this is YOUR profession, YOUR career, YOUR responsibility. We must make investment in our own professional development a priority. This sector is changing, the fundraising climate is competitive, in order for you to be successful you must keep up to date. Period. Just make sure that the events you go to provide you with the learning that you need at this stage in your career.

I know that with so many workshops available it is difficult to decide. Email me and we can talk about it or read this inspiring story about one fundraising intern who found a way to get from Washington DC to an International Conference in Vancouver. If she can do it anyone can.

 Why am I using this blog for promotion of others?

I don’t see it as promoting others really. Certainly speakers of such high caliber don’t need any help from me. I see it as providing you with an opportunity you might not otherwise hear about. While I’m not involved in the development of the program, my knowledge of the speakers over the last 12 years of learning from them is that participants will walk away with a solid sense of:

  1. Understanding the donor’s journey throughout the organization from entry point to ultimately the donors end of life.
  2. Knowing how and when to ask for support.
  3. Understanding the integration of channels.
  4. When and how to move into planned giving

This blog is dedicated to practically useful tips and tricks that you can apply immediately to your work. Many conference workshops are merely entertaining or inspiring with nothing for you to take home in your toolbox. These speakers always get great evaluations because their sessions are so fun and we often don’t have to think during them. In a full week conference program that’s okay – we need those sessions to relax a bit. The extraordinary journey will be for people who want to be active participants in an intensive workshop with practically useful information that they can apply immediately – very much like I want this blog to be.

So this feels like a good fit to me and I hope you will agree. I’ll be writing more about how each of these speakers has had a profound impact on my career, but don’t wait for the next post. Register today for workshops in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto. Remember to use the discount code of JOURNEY12 for an additional 10% off registration and be sure to do it before May 25th when the early bird discount expires.

Remember: Four cities and four internationally renowned speakers in four days. Join us and be a part of this extraordinary national event. I can’t wait!

Thank you for spending time here.


PS if you feel compelled to sneak away with your nametag as well – it can be our little secret. 😉

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  2. Funny Kimberley, because like you, I have kept all of my lanyards (to the chagrin of many) from the various conferences I’ve been to through the years. I wish there was a way to collect a memento of the online ones, like IFC, that i feel like I’ve been to by participating online… I’m looking forward to this one day conference you are talking about.

  3. OMG … we should start “lanyards anonymous” … i’m embarassed to even admit how many are hanging on my desk.

    • LOL – there it is. Lanyards Anonymous it is! The pressure is on for a wicked lanyard and nametag for The Extraordinary Donor Journey.

      Thanks for you comments gentlemen. Looking forward to seeing you both in June. Kx

  4. Painfully, I engaged in the great lanyard purge of 2009 and haven’t used lanyards ever since ( a networking secret about the best place for a nametag from “Work the Pond” a great book)

    Kimberley I LOVE that as usual you have read the tea leaves of the profession and captured the spirit of this new movement – that our careers now are going to be DIY: Do It Yourself. I would NEVER have thought in my past decade of work to pay for my own professional development, that’s probably why I had a four year dead zone of almost zero official professional education. I let others block my path…

    As you say – “Bollocks!!” It’s time we stand up for our own careers and rise above the obstacles to professional development, economic and political. If we don’t, well there are plenty of zombies in any profession – who needs one more?

    Very cool that these top philanthropic educators are coming to town, I’m off and running to share the opportunity with others!! Thank you as always Kimberley for leading from the front lines and not the armchair, you are a continued inspiration ( and agitation that I’m slacking )…

    Down with lanyards! The future is in magnets!

    • 🙂 I just love your comments Paul. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing this opportunity with others who might value it.

  5. “Down with lanyards! The future is in magnets!” – cute

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