8 Nonprofit Conferences You Need to Attend This Year

5 min
speaker on stage doing a presentation at the nonprofit conference the Collaborative 2019
profile picture of Classy blog contributor Will Schmidt
Will Schmidt

Every year there are countless nonprofit conferences happening all across America. You can’t attend them all, as much fun as that would be, so it’s important to choose the right nonprofit conferences that provide actionable insights, cutting-edge best practices, and opportunities for professional development.

Nonprofit conferences can also be expensive, which further underscores the need to pick an option that won’t break the bank. To help narrow down your search, we rounded up eight nonprofit conferences that will benefit you and your team, no matter your role.

7 Nonprofit Conferences to Attend In 2020

1) The 2020 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference

Date: February 26 to 28 in Austin, TX

Peer-to-peer fundraising has the power to exponentially increase your nonprofit’s reach, funds, and overall return on investment (ROI). The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum was created to give the nonprofit professionals managing peer-to-peer campaigns and programs the insights necessary to start, sustain, or grow their impact.

What to Expect

Attendees get access to over 50 sessions that teach about an important facet of peer-to-peer fundraising like building trust with donors, leveling up events, or activating your community to fundraise on your behalf. The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum also hosts deep dives into areas like large and small programs, DIY fundraising, cycling and endurance events, and hospitals.

Also, make sure you take advantage of the speed networking, team-building forums, and explorations into future technology to round out your conference-going experience.

Free Download: Understanding the True Financial Return of Peer-to-Peer

2) 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference

Date: March 24 to 26 in Baltimore, MD

The annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC) is hosted by NTEN as a way to help nonprofit professionals understand the benefits technology have to offer them. Over 2,000 attendees gather each year to get new insights and hone strategies that will help them fulfill their missions, create impactful change, and better serve their communities.

What to Expect

All of the sessions, about 200 of them, are thoughtfully curated across areas like:

There’s also an on-site career center to help with resumes, take professional headshots, facilitate speed mentoring, and provide opportunities to dine out with other attendees. And for those who are really excited about the conference, there’s an option to secure entry to a pre-conference day on March 23 where you can dive deep into Drupal, WordPress, ActBlue, and IT security.

3) International Fundraising Conference

Date: March 29 to 31 in Baltimore, MD

Hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and designed specifically for fundraising experts and professionals, the International Fundraising Conference brings together more than 4,000 attendees to discuss, teach, and learn about new strategies for social innovation and community impact. While the official dates are March 29 to March 30, the conference will host to additional days on March 27 and 28 for those who want to attend the pre-conference workshops.

What to Expect

In total, the conference offers more than 100 sessions and two high-profile keynotes—José Andrés and Zainab Salbi—over four days that cover various aspects of the social sector. The main focus is on fundraising and will be thoroughly explored in the content tracks about securing gifts, volunteer engagement, and donor research. However, you’ll also get robust programming in areas like leadership and management tactics, ethics, accountability, and professionalism. Also, word on the street is that their After-Dark Party is the social event of the year.

4) The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit

Date: September 29 to October 1 in Austin, TX

The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit (NIO) is designed for those who want to grow their skills in online fundraising and marketing. And where most nonprofit conferences host an open call for speakers to submit an application for consideration, The NIO Summit instead hand-picks experts to teach attendees how to make a bigger impact with their online fundraising growth.

What to Expect

It’s only a two-day conference, but those two days are filled to bursting with new strategies, best practices, and tactics for your nonprofit to grow its online fundraising operations and revenue. You’ll participate in hands-on training sessions with some of the best digital marketing thought leaders, learn how to build a culture of continuous learning, preview new technologies, and network with likeminded people.

5) AFP Conference

Date: October 18 to 20 in Las Vegas, NV

Every year over 6,500 corporate finance professionals attend the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) annual conference to get their hands on over 125 educational sessions that inspire, teach, and help transform both their career and nonprofit. In total there are eight content tracks that cover treasury management, financial planning and analysis, payments, risk management, capital markets and investments, global treasury and finance, corporate finance, pension and benefits, and career development.

What to Expect

One of the biggest value-adds for attendees at the AFP Conference, aside from the sessions, is networking. In total, there are over 10 events dedicated entirely to ensuring that you head home with valuable new contacts who can help maximize your professional development. There are also plenty of other opportunities to level up your career, like earning your Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) and participating in extended sessions with select speakers.

6) Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

Date: October 29 to 31 in Chicago, IL

Telling your nonprofit’s story is a necessity, but it can be difficult to put it all down on paper. Thankfully, the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference exists to help you perfect that story, distribute it across various promotion channels, and connect with donors. You’ll learn how to tap into donors’ emotions, leverage digital media to tell your story, and present your narrative to crowds both big and small.

What to Expect

Because storytelling is such a universal element of fundraising for nonprofits, event attendees come from both small and large organizations alike, and across multiple cause categories. Together, everyone learns how to learn the fundamentals of storytelling in order to tell a powerful tale. Beyond that, you’ll learn how to find new donors through your stories, how to inspire them to action, and how to retain their support.

Perfect Your Storytelling With This Free Guide

7) Dreamforce

Date: November 9 to 12 in San Francisco, CA

It doesn’t matter if you’re an organization of five or 500: Dreamforce is for all walks of social sector life. Hosted by Salesforce, there are over 2,000 sessions and thousands of live solutions on display for you to engage with. Everything is designed to provide attendees with the knowledge, connections, and memories that will serve them throughout their careers.

What to Expect

The event takes place in downtown San Francisco and functions as a one-stop shop for success. There will be breakout sessions that provide a chance to meet with Salesforce product teams, opportunities to learn from expert Salesforce users, and strategies for growth and management. Attendees will also get help with sales, marketing, and customer service, and best practices for using the CRM.

8) The Collaborative: Virtual Sessions

Date: June 9 to 12 online

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we took our annual, in-person Collaborative event and pivoted to a fully virtual conference. Our theme for the Collaborative: Virtual Sessions is “adapt and overcome,” in line with one of our core values here at Classy.

We’ll cover topics like fundraising and marketing, organizational priorities and finances, current technology, leadership in times of crisis, and resilience. Additionally, everything will be tailored to fit the state of current events in our world in the hopes that it helps your nonprofit navigate the current operating environment. You’ll walk away with tangible tips on how to sustainably grow their organization and adapt to changing circumstances.

Access All the Session Recordings for Free

It doesn’t matter what your level of experience is, or what specific function you have at your organization. Nonprofit conferences are crucial if you want to stay at the top of your game. The important part is to choose an option that delivers the strongest ROI for you, your organization, and your nonprofit’s future.


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