Monica and I were delighted to attend the 2016 Mid America Conference on Fundraising, affectionately known 'round these parts as the "MAC Conference."
Let me just say the Nebraska AFP knows how to put on an event! The venue/hotel was excellent, and the speakers were terrific all around. Some of the highlights:
- Author and nonprofit great Penelope Burke delighted us with not one, but two presentations! Her annual survey of some 25,000 donors reveals major gaps in the stewardship of donors. For example, she urged the audience to re-energize thank you communications ... to help donors feel like they are truly part of the mission and connect them emotionally to the work. Write less and be more personal, she said. Monica and I wanted to stand up and cheer at her calls for brevity. Check out her blog.
- Fundraising scholar Adrian Sergeant shared his global research on giving trends and fundraising psychology. He encouraged the audience to move from a transactional to a relationship mindset, saying this is the key to donor retention. Relationship fundraising, he says, means focusing on donor satisfaction and nurturing commitment and trust. He believes many nonprofits instead focus on short-term measures of performance (cash raised, number of new donors, response rates, immediate return) and lose sight of the long-term potential.
- The conference was capped off with a wonderful event at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. If you haven't been, I highly recommend. Gorgeous setting for a reception.
I'm already getting excited for the 2017 MAC Conference, to be held right here in Kansas City on April 2-5. More to come on that ...