The Winkler Group | Why Attending Conferences Increases Your Nonprofit’s Influence

Attend a conference expand your influence

This blog originally appeared in a two part series on The Winkler Group's fundraising blog. View their blog to learn more about fundraising from their team of thought leaders.

You’re contemplating attending a workshop for a couple of days and you immediately think of seven reasons why you can’t go. Sure, attending a conference or seminar has the potential to stack your inbox even higher, but if you maximize the opportunity, a conference can help you and your nonprofit shine. Here are some reasons to go.

Reason number one. Social media.

Your communications director is always asking for updates that he or she can post, but you can never think of anything relevant to say. Attending workshops gives you ample opportunities to highlight how well your organization is responding to trends and challenges. It also yields new Linked In contacts and Twitter followers you can turn to for feedback and support.

Reason number two. Content.

Can’t think of what your next blog post should be? Turn a workshop’s prospectus into a blog and elevate your status—and your organization’s—as a thought leader. Extend the blog’s reach by sharing it on your organization’s website, in email blasts, and on social media. You’ll generate new leads and expand partnerships with other nonprofits.

Reason number three. Networking.

In the nonprofit field, relationships are critical because they lead to valuable strategic partnerships. But building these relationships in an increasingly busy world is not easy. As people work remotely, organizations have offices globally, and travel is almost always required of employees, it can be hard to connect with other professionals.

Attending a professional workshop is a great opportunity to network face to face and create professional relationships that will help to expand your organization’s influence and connect you with other thought leaders in your field.

Networking with other professionals is a great way to share knowledge and grow. During a breakout session or in between speakers, be intentional with your time. Ask questions of another attendee. What is their specialty? Have they written any blogs about your field? By engaging another professional, you learn new information while highlighting your professionalism and promoting your organization.

After the workshop connect with new colleagues. Promote their content online and ask to do a guest blog post for their organization. You never know what new leads or partnerships may form as a result of you taking the initiative to get to know others attending the same event.

So the next time you consider interrupting your schedule with a workshop or conference, make the decision to go. Expand your professional networks, grow your nonprofit’s influence, and share content with those around you.



Stefani Zimmerman Drake

Stefani is a strategy consultant + speaker with over a decade of experience working in the US government, international NGO space and with nonprofits. Currently on the UNDP's Roster of Communication Experts in Subsaharan Africa + certified in Google Analytics, Stefani is an analytical thinker and thoughtful storyteller who works with nonprofits + humanitarians to define who they are, elevate their influence and broaden their impact through strategic communications, branding + advocacy. Stefani lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, twin girls and rescue dog.