2013 Conference Recap


DSCN5163Last week in Milwaukee, the Forum Network came together for its Annual Conference, an opportunity for regional association staff to meet connect, exchange knowledge, and build relationships as part of the largest network serving philanthropy today.

This year, our conversations focused on putting members first. Bruce Boyd of Arabella Advisors, along with Celeste Amato of Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers and Colin Lacon of Northern California Grantmakers, challenged us to see regional associations differently, empowering RAs to take on a new role as change agents. Aaron Dorfman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy walked us through the toughest questions facing foundations today, from addressing the “overhead myth” to getting involved in advocacy and better serving marginalized communities.

Of course, all this work is depended on the engagement of a regional associations’ members. Mark Sedway led a discussion of what true member engagement looks like and Erin Skene-Pratt translated engagement tactics into recruitment and retention campaigns. Amy Sample Ward of NTEN taught us the right questions to ask of our member data to help drive decision making and Scott Miller of Resource Media helped us understand how to better tell member stories through visual storytelling.

Even with these great guest speakers, the real star of the conference is always the RA Network itself. Amid ample time for formal and informal networking, job alikes, and roundtable discussions, conversations between and among regional association staff members provided the backbone of practical skill building and new connections by which the conference is known.

Our thanks go out to the 2013 Planning Committee:

  • Liz Wilder, Grantmakers Forum of New York (Chair)
  • Laurie Allen, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • Robin Berkson, Donors Forum
  • Ashley Feuer-Edwards, Delaware Valley Grantmakers
  • Karen Freeman, Southern California Grantmakers
  • Michael Hamill Remaley, Philanthropy New York
  • Wil Sherk, Delaware Grantmakers Association
  • Robyn Shuey, Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington
  • Michelle Slingerland, San Diego Grantmakers
  • Kelli Solomkin, Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • Melinda VerDuin, Donors Forum of Wisconsin
  • Keeman Wong, Philanthropy Northwest

And to our Conference Sponsors:

We hope we’ll see all of you next year in San Diego!

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