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By DonorSearch

With new technological advances and tools available, it’s clear that virtual alternatives to traditional events are the new future. Live-streamed broadcasts and online guest engagement have already been on the rise, due to its accessibility and convenience. Conferences are also entering the digital sphere, allowing virtual attendees to visit different “panels” online and interact with guest speakers through video conferencing tools.

Now, as a global pandemic keeps most of us at home and forces face-to-face events to be put on a pause, virtual conferences have quickly become the norm for 2020. This holds especially true for the nonprofit space, where many large networking conferences and fundraising events have to be postponed or canceled altogether.

Here at DonorSearch, we urge everyone to be safe and follow the necessary guidelines put in place by public officials. As the CDC recommends, this means staying at least 6 feet away from each other and avoiding crowded areas, which isn’t feasible at a large conference. 

However, this doesn’t mean that your organization should stop conferences altogether. To help you navigate the current challenges, we’ve put together a resource that covers the top virtual fundraising conferences you should check out. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas to attend!

The Benefits of Virtual Fundraising Conferences

Many nonprofit professionals are a little wary of virtual conferences, because they believe they’re not as enriching or valuable since they lack face-to-face interaction. However, as long as you have a webcam and a microphone, virtual events can be just as engaging. 

To get the most out of any virtual conference you attend, make sure to attend live sessions and panels. This way, you can ask questions and even talk to other digital guests directly on the conference’s platform. Interacting with others is a great way to learn what’s new in the fundraising world and what best practices you should keep in mind as you embark further in this new “normal.”

Learn more about virtual fundraising conferences!

Benefits of Virtual Conferences

Cost.

Because there’s no venue to rent or caterers to hire, the costs of hosting a virtual conference are much lower than its traditional counterpart. That’s why the tickets are typically much cheaper! On top of that, you can attend this conference from wherever you like. This means no hotel or travel costs as well!

Accessibility.

Because the entire conference is hosted online, guests can attend from the comfort of their own homes. Because of this, more people can register for the event, increasing accessibility to it. Those from all over the world can possibly attend!

Networking opportunities.

Many virtual conferences let guests engage with each other. This is a great opportunity to meet other professionals in your field through an online discussion forum or a chat.

No scheduling conflicts.

Oftentimes, large conferences are faced with time constraints and have to host multiple speakers and panels at the same time. This causes guests to have to choose which one they want to attend the most. Some virtual conferences will record each session to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything due to a scheduling conflict.

Top Virtual Conferences for Nonprofits to Look Out For

Virtual conferences are becoming more popular than ever. In times of uncertainty, it’s nice to have a digital alternative so that you can brainstorm best next steps and discuss important issues with other thought leaders in the industry.

Check out the following top virtual fundraising conferences in 2020 that you should consider:

DonorSearch’s Unbounded: Top Virtual Conference

This year, DonorSearch is hosting its first virtual fundraising conference, Unbounded.

Overview of this Virtual Conference

Here at DonorSearch, we’ve decided to host our own virtual fundraising conference to help nonprofit professionals sustain operations, especially during this uncertain time. Unbounded is an online experience that brings together nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Not only will it be engaging and valuable, but Unbounded will be hosted through an interactive platform that we can enjoy safely from our own homes.

As part of Unbounded, we’ll host sessions every weekday for its entire duration. These events range from a simple “coffee chat,” to presentations on how to fundraise during COVID-19, to happy hours where guests can discuss ideas with a panel of fundraising experts. 

DATE

Beginning Monday April 6th, you’ll see great programs each day.

PRICE

Each session is free to register, so make sure you sign up before that particular panel goes live. Even if you can’t log in that day, still consider registering, because everyone who registers also gets a recording! Learn more from our website here.

ASAE’s mm&c Virtual: Top Virtual Conference

ASAE's mm&c conference is going virtual this year! Learn more about it here.

Overview of this Virtual Conference

ASAE, the American Society of Association Leadership, has turned its usual in-person MM&C (Marketing, Membership, & Communications Conference) into a virtual alternative. 

MM&C will now be a virtual learning experience full of different speakers, panels, and even breakout sessions. Thanks to connections with a video production service, MM&C will provide a genuinely engaging and interactive experience. 

They’ll even award each attendee with 3 CAE credits if they show real-time participation, like asking a question or responding via video.

DATE

April 29, 2020

PRICE

Free! Learn more about ASAE’s MM&C here.

Washington State Nonprofit Conference: Top Virtual Conference

Washington State Nonprofit has decided to pivot their regular conference to the virtual sphere.

Overview of this Virtual Conference

Washington Nonprofits is a statewide association that caters to nonprofits through education opportunities, advocacy, and collaboration. To help ensure the Washington nonprofit community continues thriving during this time, they’ve decided to turn their 2020 conferences into a virtual experience!

This year, the Washington State Nonprofit Conference will be available online! This way, they’ll still be able to provide valuable information and insight to their community. During this virtual fundraising conference, they’ll be hosting online workshops for their community, as well as open it up to more people in other areas who couldn’t attend prior. 

DATE

May 4, 2020

PRICE

To register for their virtual alternative, you’ll have to pay the registration fee of $240. Learn more on their dedicated event page.

Engage for Good: Top Virtual Conference

Check our Engage for Good, an exciting virtual conference coming up soon. Learn about fundraising tips and get COVID-19 advice.

Overview of this Virtual Conference

Engage for Good hosts annual fundraising conferences, and this year, they’re bringing it to everyone’s homes as a virtual experience. With digital discussion rooms and pre-conference virtual meetups, Engage for Good is dedicated to ensuring that this experience is just as engaging as a traditional one.

Engage with nonprofit leaders across the globe in one easy and convenient interface. You can attend any sessions you want and learn about topics that range from general social good strategies to more COVID-19 specific topics.

DATE

May 28, 2020

PRICE

Anyone can access this virtual conference, whether you’re an Engage for Good member or not. However, the prices will range. Members pay $199, while nonmembers pay $299. To learn more, check out their website.

Mission Investors Exchange: Top Virtual Conference

This year, Mission Investors Exchange has decided to offer a virtual alternative to their fundraising conference.

Overview of this Virtual Conference

Mission Investors Exchange (MIE) is a leading network for foundations dedicated to social and environmental change. With over 200 members, MIE offers guidance and resources to help members increase their impact. One of their offerings is their MIE conference.

The MIE conference is usually biennial, bringing together impact investors in philanthropy. However, this year, MIE has been transitioned to the online space due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During this virtual fundraising conference, guests can attend a variety of sessions that discuss impact investing in philanthropy and how to best navigate that, especially amidst a global pandemic. 

DATE

May 7-22, 2020

PRICE

Anyone can access this virtual conference, whether you’re an MIE member or not. MIE members pay $200, general admission is $275, and speakers can enjoy it for free. Check out their registration page to learn more.

Conclusion

With free social media platforms allowing users to live stream at the touch of a button and video conferencing becoming the new norm for meetings, making the transition to a purely virtual conference doesn’t seem that radical. Even as we move into a post-pandemic world, it’s clear that these technological offerings will likely still be leveraged in order to make conferences more accessible.

Virtual conferences, or a hybrid version that includes both in-person and virtual aspects, can still be just as engaging for you and other fundraising professionals to attend. If you can’t make the in-person portion, tuning in to the live stream is a great alternative for its convenience and lower price point. You don’t even have to leave your home.

To learn about other virtual offerings that your nonprofit can participate in, check out our Top List of Virtual Training Resources and Nonprofit Webinars!

Virtual Conferences for Nonprofits: What to Expect in 2020