65 Great Nonprofit Conferences in 2018

If you’re anything like me, looking over a list of this many different nonprofit conferences is stressful. After all, I get paralysis when standing in the deodorant aisle at my local pharmacy. Do I go clear or stick? Roll-on or spray? Glitter in the stick (that’s a thing, you guys!) or nah? Do I want to smell like a tropical shower or have powder-fresh pits? Choosing the wrong conference, however, can be the pits because they take up work hours, often require travel, and are always associated with hard costs. If you don’t want to travel for your knowledge, we’ve also put together a great list of top nonprofit webinars for you too.

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Here are 5 ways to choose the best conference for you:

1. Conference focus

If you’re a social media strategist and attending a conference focused exclusively on the nonprofit auditing process, you’re probably in the wrong place. Conferences are a great, focused environment, to learn from experts and other professionals in your field, so make sure you pay attention to any niche or focus that the conference may have. Pro tip: The title of the conference is often telling. If that fails to answer your burning questions, check out the conference description.

2. Networking opportunities

One of the best things about conferences is the ability to connect with peers, experts, or even potential funders. After all, nothing is quite as valuable as face time. Make sure the conference you’re attending has both ample networking opportunities as well as attendees committed to taking advantage of those opportunities — there’s nothing worse than working the cheese and crudités tray by yourself.

3. Audience size

I know you’re waiting for me to tell you that size matters, but in this case, it doesn’t. It’s really what’s best for you. Depending on the topic or skillset you’re trying to learn, you may want to choose a conference with a smaller audience so that you can have a more intimate experience. Conversely, you may be looking to connect wide and far. To pick a conference that’s best in size for you, make sure you have a clear understanding of what your goals are before registering.

4. $$$

If only ALL conferences were free (sigh…). But they aren’t and therefore the total cost of travel, hotel, and registration fees are going to matter — especially to upper management. Most nonprofits set aside a chunk of money each year for staff members to attend conferences and gain new skills, but you’ll still want to go in armed with all of the hard costs. Pro tip: Some conferences offer scholarships or grants to help nonprofits offset the attendance costs.

5. Digital presence

Many conferences these days offer a digital component to their conference so that people who can’t attend can still follow along online. Check the schedule and see if the sessions you’re dying to attend are offered digitally; they’re often significantly cheaper and take up much less of your time.

Now go out there, grab your ID badge, and pick the right conference for you.

If we missed any quintessential nonprofit conferences or you would like to add your conference to the list, please add it below:

Also, just in case you are in charge of planning a conference, we love presenting and sharing our knowledge with the sector – here are the topics we like to present around.

And here’s our podcast on how to effectively attend a conference with Social Media for Nonprofits