When it comes to nonprofit fundraising and marketing conferences on the 2020 calendar, there is no shortage of options. We’ve been to many over the years and can definitely say that we’ve found our favorites. From nonprofit leadership to technology, there are conferences for every cause and every role within your organization. If you don’t already have a few of these conferences on your calendar, you’re missing out on some key industry education and networking events.
Here is our carefully crafted list of the best nonprofit conferences in 2020:
CANCELED: Feeding America Annual Conference 2020
April 21-23, 2020
This is where the 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries in the Feeding America network gather every year. Feeding America: The Annual Conference is a chance to come together with other fundraisers fighting to end hunger. Gather with other CEOs and executives to promote your value in the industry and showcase your thought leadership.
Feeding America Conference Coronavirus Update: In an email on March 13, Feeding America announced that its annual conference and all related events have been canceled. It will not be rescheduled, but the announcement added: “We will look to offer an enhanced Fall Forum experience in October 2020 and limited video sessions in April to allow certain key conversations and bodies of work to keep moving forward via a virtual environment.”
You won’t find an event website for this conference, but head to Feeding America’s website, here.
CANCELED: TNPA Fundraising and Marketing Conference
April 21-23, 2020
Wanting to try something new? The Nonprofit Alliance is kicking off their inaugural TNPA Fundraising and Marketing Conference. The Nonprofit Alliance aims to be the voice of nonprofits to promote, protect and strengthen the philanthropic sector. This is the perfect conference for you if you’re wanting to join forces with other fundraisers and make some allies.
TNPA Coronavirus Update: On March 19, The Nonprofit Alliance sent an email informing registrants that the conference has been canceled. TNPA CEO Shannon McCracken wrote that they are exploring what is possible, and the email included a survey link for various options moving forward.
CANCELED: Salvation Army’s National
Advisory Organizations Conference
April 22-25, 2020
Better Together 2020 is The Salvation Army’s quadrennial National Advisory Organizations Conference. Better Together 2020 will offer education and inspiration for advisory organizations, emergency disaster services and community relations and development professionals. This conference is held once every four years, and changes its theme each time. This year’s theme? Working better together.
Better Together 2020 Coronavirus Update: On March 12, The Salvation Army posted a message on their website stating: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that The Salvation Army national leadership has canceled Better Together 2020 due to increasing concerns surrounding COVID-19.”
NACCDO-PAMN Annual Conference
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
May 18-21, 2020
The National Association of Cancer Center Development Officers (NACCDO) and the Public Affairs and Marketing Network (PAMN) have come together to host the 30th anniversary of this unique conference. For fundraisers and marketers who work specifically in the areas of cancer research and care, this is the conference for you. This year’s theme is “What you do matters,” and seminars and speakers will center around boosting collaboration, skills and innovation that help reduce the burden of cancer on patients, survivors and their families.
NACCDO-PAMN 2020 Coronavirus Update: On March 31, the conference’s executive planning team posted this update stating that they are continuing to monitor the situation closely. At this time, the conference is still scheduled to take place.
CANCELED: The Citygate Network Annual Conference
San Antonio, Texas
May 27-30, 2020
Citygate Network (formerly known as The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions) knows how to organize an excellent conference. Of course, they cover various education topics (hospitality, strategic thinking, operations, research, etc.), but what’s different is how Citygate incorporates their location into the schedule. Every year, Citygate Network will schedule time for attendees to visit local missions, see attractions, and take in the city. In 2020, we look forward to remembering the Alamo, enjoying some Tex-Mex food along the River Walk and experiencing the quintessential Texas experience in San Antonio.
Citygate Conference 2020 Coronavirus Update: On March 27, the Citygate Network made the decision to cancel the conference. In this post, President John Ashmen announced plans for a new event called Revive! in September.
AAWA Spring Conference
June 3-5, 2020
We won’t get too specific at this conference; it’s a one size fits all ordeal. The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA) Conference focuses on high-level executive training on a broad range of topics, so definitely a good learning experience for your organization’s upper management. Not only that, attendees will get lots of opportunities to connect with other executive level people from various animal welfare organizations. This event has professional development written all over it.
National Harbor, Maryland
July 15-17, 2020
Ah, finally, the meeting of the minds. The Bridge Conference will be one of the most popular nonprofit conferences in 2020, and we would be crazy not to include it on this list. It’s a premier event for nonprofit professionals looking to reach across the table and collaborate with people who think differently. This year’s theme centers around how the left and right-brained bring art and science together for strategic fundraising has everyone at RKD Group dying to go.
The sessions here are geared more towards vision, with insights from multichannel, technology or strategy trends. Another great part about this conference is that it breeds a networking culture that encourages you to meet with people outside of our nonprofit circle. So, if you’re shy, be prepared to step outside of your shell and pick the brains of innovative nonprofit professionals.
Bridge Conference 2020 Coronavirus Update: In an email to attendees on March 23, the conference’s co-chairs wrote that “We are 16.5 weeks (117 days) out and given how quickly this situation is changing, it is too early to make a decision regarding the Conference.” They added that they are planning contingencies like the opportunity for a virtual conference, should the need arise.
Feeding America Unite Conference
Through a combination of small-group learning sessions and attendee dialogue and networking, the Feeding America Unite Conference establishes a foundation for continuous, year-round learning and growth for food bank staff and fundraisers alike. Surround yourself with marketers and fundraisers who are dedicated to the same mission: ending world hunger.
There isn’t a specific website for this conference, but you can stay in the know on the Feeding America’s website, here.
2020 ANA Chicago Nonprofit Conference
August 5-7, 2020
This is the conference for straight-up direct response marketing education. It’s truly a gem because the sessions meet you where you are. Refreshing, right? It’s easy to find a session that fits your growth needs as an organization, and the leaders will give insights based on established direct mail, digital and telemarketing fundraising techniques. RKD Group always has a group in attendance, many times sharing some breakthrough direct response strategy goodness.
You don’t leave this type of event without making a few new friends. The environment breeds peer learning, allowing you to build a sense of comradery with other attendees. You are constantly bouncing ideas off one another, networking and benchmarking yourself against other organizations. We think it’s much more productive when organizations learn with each other and build long-term, personal and productive relationships. If you agree, sign up for this one!
The Citygate Network Revive! Conference
September 2-5, 2020
The Citygate Network was forced to cancel its spring conference, but they’ve adapted their fall CEO Summit to hold a unique event called Revive! The conference will be a smaller version of Fortify, with limited space for guests and booths, as well as some (but not all) of the education topics planned for the May conference.
Details are limited for now, but stay tuned for more information.
Blackbaud Conference (bbcon)
October 6-8, 2020
This is another top-of-the-line fundraising technology conference. NTEN’s yearly conference is our favorite tech event, but if you’re a Blackbaud user, you probably need to budget for bbcon. We have a number of clients that use Blackbaud, and therefore we’re users, too. The user group meetups are something we always prioritize in our schedule. It’s a great place to hear from other users, share success stories and frustrations. This is a big conference with a big exhibit hall to match. Bring your comfortable walking shoes and explore all of the events, sessions, and exhibitors. You will definitely pick up a few new ideas, strategies, and tchotchkes.
AAWA Fall Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana
November 15-17, 2020
The AWA Fall Conference in November has a focus on high-level executive and leadership training. If you’re looking to tackle industry issues from a 20,000-foot view and want to network with other industry professionals, this is the conference for you.
2021 ANA DC Nonprofit Conference
February 16-18, 2021
We’re all about educational stuff but that might not be the only thing you’re looking for in a conference. Sometimes the best way we learn is through making connections, and that’s exactly what you’ll get here. At the ANA DC Nonprofit Conference, the biggest highlight is the networking. You’ll still learn plenty about digital and direct mail marketing trends but you’ll get to learn and talk with other individuals and organizations on a far more personal level.
DC Nonprofit offers plenty of opportunity inside and outside of the classroom to connect with other attendees from activities like sessions and group dining to power breaks and morning yoga. You won’t be able to go away without a new friend, new insight and having fun.