Like thousands of other fundraisers, I’ll be attending BBCON in Washington DC this week. I’m excited to present 2 sessions, work the expo, network and expand my knowledge about our amazing industry (it’s the best isn’t it?). If you are like me, you’re just now planning your schedule and deciding what sessions to check out. To help, I thought I’d share my top picks for BBCON 2016.

Wednesday, Oct 26

10:30 AM – Empowering Your Participants to Engage them for Life. If you run any kind of peer to peer event, then this is the session for you. It focuses on how to use pre and post event communications to build lifelong event supporters.

1:30 PM – Google Analytics to Make Your Organization a Fundraising Powerhouse. Not a week goes by that the clients don’t ask me about how to set up GA or plan their strategy around it. If you’re not tracking people’s interactions and behaviors on your website, then your relationship is incomplete. Go and learn all there is to get started.

3:15 PM – Mobilize Real Time Passion from Supporters with Social Listening. It’s no secret that I am a certifiable fundraising nerd and I am really excited about all the sessions around social listening. This is the next frontier in how nonprofits can truly target and communicate with their supporters and prospects in the digital world. If you’re looking for a way to jump in and learn more, add this one to your schedule.

Thursday, Oct 27

10:30 AM – The Usual Suspects: Engaging Your Fans. Shameless plug for my session on Thursday morning with Tonya Higgins from Save the Manatee. If you’ve listened to my podcast about engagement and how it’s the new acquisition, then you’re familiar with the concept of this session. Tonya and I will discuss the shift to audience engagement from acquisition and provide tips for how to build your first campaign. If you can’t make it, download the podcast episode I did with Tonya earlier this year here.

10:30 AM – Rinse & Repeat: Evolution of a Sustainer Program. I am bummed I’ll miss this session so hopefully you can go and tell me all about it! Monthly giving still continues to grow and what I love about this session is that it will focus on the growth of existing programs and how organizations should evolve, test and focus on upgrades and retention.

1:30 PM – Content Strategy and Constituent Personas. Nonprofits need to move beyond communications in 2017 and develop content that is focused on their audience and actions. This session will walk you through some of those beginner steps in developing constituent personas for a more strategic content strategy.

3:15 PM – Behind the Scenes of the Raise+Engage Podcast. Back in January, I launched a new podcast at Blackbaud with the goal of providing you with unfiltered and honest nonprofit best practices. I’m beyond excited to have 4 podcast guests join me at BBCON where we’ll revisit our favorites episodes from this year and tackle a brand new topic. Bring your questions and you just might earn a candy bar for your efforts.

Don’t forget to stop by the expo for a networking happy hour from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. It’s the perfect time to unwind and plan your night out in DC. I’ll be in the marketing and engagement booth so come on by!

Friday, Oct 28

10:30 AM – Metrics Madness: Best of the LO Benchmark Report & P2P Study Every year for forever (ok, it’s been 10), Blackbaud has been publishing the biggest benchmark report on online fundraising and marketing. During this session, you’ll learn how over 600 organizations in the US and Canada are performing in online repeat giving (it went up), email open and click through rates, sustained giving (yup, up again), first time donors, and advocacy. To give you an idea of just HOW big this report is, organizations raised over $1.76 billion dollars in over 19 Million transactions in 2015. It’s that big. And that’s not all – the presenters will dive into the latest P2P study that includes data through 2015.

1:30 PM – Game Changing Tests to Try Now! Testing is one of the most important aspects of any direct marketing fundraising campaign. But what tests are really making a difference in fundraising now? This session will present real-life examples of the tests that are actually lifting response rates, raising average gifts, improving click throughs and increasing engagement.

Let me know what sessions and events you’re planning to attend by tweeting me at @djvermenton and using the hashtag #bbcon. And if you can’t be there, no problem, we’ll be live tweeting, posting wrap-up blogs and this year, Blackbaud will be on Facebook live.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danielle Johnson-Vermenton, CFRE, is a Principal Consultant at Blackbaud and is often called to present at events like Digital Leap, AFP Planet Philanthropy and BBCON.  Prior to Blackbaud, Danielle worked in the nonprofit industry in roles such as director of individual giving at Boys & Girls Clubs, leadership giving manager at the Red Cross and director of development at HUGS for Kids. Danielle’s passion is inspiring nonprofits to have a plan for today with a grand vision for tomorrow. You can follow Danielle @DJVermenton and find her blogging on npENGAGE.

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