Tuesday, July 10

Updates from 2007 Bridge Conference

I don't purport to be a journalist. I will leave the real reporting on fundraising to people like Abny Santicola, Stephanie Strom, Paul Clolery, Peter Panepento, and Ian Wilheim.

In fact, I wouldn't even say I qualify as a pundit either since I post under the anonymous online persona of "a fundraiser." The closest description that fits is that of a cultural observer for the nonprofit fundraising community. Who am I kidding? I'm a blogger.

With two days down at the 2007 Bridge Conference, I'm amazed (as always) by the number of quality cases studies shared by a variety of nonprofit groups. Rarely do the presentations offer concrete tactical suggestions, but almost all provide at least one fresh idea to approach the threats, opportunities, and challenges facing the industry today.

More than once today I heard a speaker mention his or her delight that so many colleagues are willing to share the details of both their successes AND failures. Several popular sessions today were packed wall-to-wall. Mal Warwick's "Copy Clinic" session was insane - with over a dozen people turned away after standing room filled up. The Resource Alliance put on some "world class" sessions.

While there is a repetitive nature to so many PowerPoint presentations, my real complaint of the day had to be the evaluation forms. Attendees are asked to answer questions with a 1 to 5 rating without any idea of which is considered the top grade. The form also asks open ended questions like "How much do you anticipate that this session will help you achieve your goals in your work?" and then offers limiting choices such as: "agree" or "disagree." I can't help but think the evaluations will provide little or no value.

Day Three offers many interesting sessions including: Holly Hall from NTEN, Harvey McKinnon on monthly giving, Nick Allen, Beth Kanter from Beth's Blog, and Laura Quinn from Catalist.

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