We’re one month out from NTEN’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Washington, DC. The official hashtag, #14NTC, is starting to buzz on Twitter, and I’m getting hyped about connecting with nonprofit leaders from around the globe!

Last year was my inaugural year attending NTC, and within a few hours of landing in snowy Minneapolis, I was meeting hundreds of nptechies at the pre-conference party, #NTCBeer. Before the first plenary session, I knew this wasn’t my grandmother’s conference. This was a gathering of people at the forefront of nonprofit technology. This was about an authentic community that lasts far beyond the confines of a conference. This was about real connection and real learning inspiring real change.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Here are 10 reasons NTC is the place to be March 13-15th:

1. The Community

When you go to NTC you are joining a community of tech-conscious leaders, innovators, and community changers from around the globe. The wisdom shared among peers is worth the cost of admission alone. The NTEN team does a remarkable job of facilitating an environment ripe for connection with no limit to how much you can learn from peers. Visit http://myntc.nten.org/home to see who is coming!

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 photo c/o JD Lasica

2. The Keynotes

If the community alone were not enough, the line-up of thought leaders is a mecca of nonprofit experience. Last year, Dan Palotta and Beth Kanter put dynamite on the way I think about charity and about failure. The plenary lineup NTEN has put together this year includes topics like “The Future of Nonprofit Technology,” and “Where does Tech Belong and Whose in Charge.” Here is a full line-up of Plenary Sessions and Speakers.

3. The Science Fair

The Science Fair is more than baking soda volcanoes; it’s the chance to learn about the latest technology for nonprofits in a marketplace style atmosphere. Coupled with the opening reception, this is a first-hand opportunity to demo tools and talk with nonprofit technology partners. Dennis McCarthy gave us a sneak peak of the 2013 online benchmark report last year, who will make an appearance this year?  View the complete lineup of Science Fair activities.

4. The Breakout Sessions

NTC includes a lineup of over 100 sessions from experts in nptech ranging from topics like social media, big data, mobile fundraising, cloud computing, and more. These interactive small group sessions are an opportunity to engage with peers and get actionable takeaways from leaders like Nancy Schwartz, Sarah Durham, Richard Dietz and many more. Last year Blackbaud’s own Frank Barry, led a panel called “Does Social Media Make Cents.” Here is a full line-up of this year’s Breakout Sessions.

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5. #NTCBeer

NTEN doesn’t water it down, they use the right amount of hops. The pre-conference party is called #NTCbeer and is exactly what the name says – the opportunity to catch up with friends old and new over a brew and talk nptech. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien discussed their epic stories in the pubs of Oxford and I envision the same level of world changing ideas happening within the conversations at #NTCBeer.

ntcbeer14 10 Reasons to be at NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14NTC)

6. Social Media

Before I went to NTC last year I was a social media novice. Facebook was the platform I shared pictures of my kids for Aunt Margie to “Like”. Twitter was a mysterious platform I always forgot my password to. But NTC inspired me to consider how social media can create real change and cultivate engagement – and I haven’t looked back since. The organic outcome of NTC is the ability to connect with peers post-conference, and social media is a natural starting point for this.

Follow #14NTC to see what all the buzz is about!

7. The doGooder Awards

The doGooder awards sponsored by see3 and YouTube presented at NTC celebrates the best in cause video over the course of the year. Last year I was blown away by how the winners used video to tell their stories, raise awareness, and inspire social action for their cause. I can’t wait to see what this year brings after last year’s hilarious Best Nonprofit Video Winner: Rain Forest Alliance’s “Follow the Frog Video”

8. Year-Long Learning

The beauty of NTC being in March is that you have the rest of the year to take action on fundraising and technology ideas evoked by NTC. John Haydon recently implored us to worry about year-end fundraising now, not later, and NTC is the perfect environment for knowledge sharing. Be inspired by this community, and take ideas back to your organization with time to implement them before the year-end fundraising push!

9. A Growing Community

The NTEN Community and Leadership provide a welcoming atmosphere for first-timers and veterans alike.  If this will be your first time at NTC, don’t worry – it’s cool to be a first timer.  Just be sure to join NTEN CEO Amy Sample Ward and Membership Director Megan Keane for a webinar on February 26 to learn how to get the most from your first NTC experience!

10.  It’s Super Affordable [especially if you register this week]

The Regular Registration deadline has been extended to February 14th, so be sure to register by the end of this week to save $200.

I hope to see you March 13th-15th in Washington, DC at this year’s NTC!

Have you been to NTC? What did you love most? Share about it in the comments below!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Beahm is Marketing Manager at Blackbaud, has a passion for nonprofits and loves content marketing, He focuses on ways to equip smaller, growing nonprofits for success. In his spare time, Michael is husband, father of two boys, and a coffee-holic. Connect with him on twitter @mabeahm

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