The Venice of Texas, they say … This year, AFP ICON is headed to San Antonio, Texas. It will be packed with great sessions, but these are my Top 5 Can’t Miss. (Oh, and the opening Welcome Reception and Networking is sponsored by Community Brands – don’t skip that either!)

1. The Brain TRUST: Working Productively with Your President/Executive Director and Board  

Sunday, March 31, 9 –10:15 a.m.

Tim Kubatzky, Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, The University of Texas at Austin 

This session addresses a challenge our customers face every day. Tim has some great insights to share, and I know he’ll run a great Q&A with opportunities to address specific problems, so come prepared! This talk will teach attendees how to build strong, productive relationships within the leadership team that are based on a shared vision and aligned priorities. Come away with ideas to implement at both the strategic and tactical levels.

2. Five Trends Shaping the Future of Events 

Sunday, March 31, 3:15 – 3:45 p.m.

Carrie Johnson, PCMA 

PCMA and Marriott International conducted the future of events research and uncovered some intriguing trends. Focused on five key areas: emotional intelligence, orchestrated serendipity, multi-modal design, making a meaningful impact, and leveraging your surroundings, the study reveals how they will usher in a new era of experiences. This will be a collaborative session, allowing participants to work through each trend and determine steps they can take to enhance their events.

3. Don’t Be a Drag – Just Be a Queen: How to Rule with LGBTQ Donors  

Monday, April 1, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. 

Mack Campbell, CFRE, After School All Stars, Los Angeles, California (a.k.a Marsha Dimes) 

This will be my fifteenth AFP, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so out of the box! Dallas’ fundraising drag queen, Marsha Dimes (yes, you read that right), is making her debut at AFP ICON to share ways to engage with LGBTQ donors. Marsha will be using humor and lots of makeup to talk through the topic. I’m excited to see so many inclusive-based fundraising topics in this year’s schedule and applaud Marsha and AFP for their creative approach. Who says fundraising is boring!?

4. Gateway to Healing: Exploring How Donors Deal with Grief Through Philanthropy  

Monday, April 1, 8 – 9:15 a.m.

Denise Fernandes, Alexis Gaiptman, and Nancy Horvath 

Having recently lost a close family member, the topic of grief has been top of mind. My family’s philanthropic experiences after the loss were a powerful way to find hope that the loss wasn’t all in vain. It’s common that traumatic experiences or the loss of a loved one lead people to form philanthropic groups or organizations. It’s a way to bring together people who have similar experiences, the desire for change, and a way to grieve. This workshop will look at how donors deal with grief through philanthropy in a variety of ways.

5. Your Big 3 Missed Opportunities in Event Fundraising. Close. Those. Gaps.  

Sunday, March 31, 12 – 12:30 p.m.

Dianne Kleber, GiveSmart by Community Brands 

And, of course, I’m biased, but you really want to join Dianne for this session. In fundraising, we tend to focus on all the great stuff we *can* do – but what might we be missing? Dianne has deep experience and I guarantee you’ll walk away with actionable insights to immediately make a difference in meeting your objectives.

Our Community Brands team will be at Booth #635 (look for the big tree!) featuring GiveSmart, MIP Fund Accounting, NetForum, Millennium, Fundraising 50, and Abila Fundraising Online. We look forward to seeing you there!