Learning to manage a non-profit organization effectively requires many skills, and attending conferences for non-profit management can be a good way to learn and hone those needed skills. Conferences offer opportunities to network with other non-profit managers, learn about important trends in the non-profit world, and learn from experts in various fields that are important in the non-profit sector, such as fund raising, technology, and human resources. Although there are many different kinds of non-profit organizations, some skills and resources are generally important across the types of organizations.
Good Resources for Conferences
Non-profit centers can be a good resource for possible conferences, as can professional organizations and societies for managers. An example of the former is the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management located near Pittsburgh at Robert Morris University. Centers such as these, located in academic settings, are often ideally situated to offer an array of classes, consulting, and coaching in non-profit matters.
An example of a professional society is the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, a member organization that offers an annual national conference. You can go on their website to learn about past and future conferences. If the university where you received your management training has alumni resources, or if you joined the AFNM or a similar organization as part of your ongoing professional development, those can be good places to begin to look into conferences to enhance your knowledge and skills.
Narrowing Your Choices
Since there are so many different types of non-profits, not every conference will suit your particular needs. Fortunately, there are some excellent online lists of conferences that allow you to search via different parameters so you can find the best options. You can search the everyaction blog for what they term the “Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar,” which contains a listing you can search by dates and locations.
Whole Whale is another online site with extensive nonprofit conference listings, which you can sort by narrowing in on a specific conference focus, networking opportunities, audience sizes, conference costs, and digital presence. This last can be an especially important feature if you are limited in how much you can travel, since some conferences offer online sessions of some of their workshops and speakers so those at a distance can still participate.
Narrowing conferences by focus may mean finding conferences that fit your specific non-profit sector, such as healthcare or the arts. However, it may also mean finding a conference specific tailored to providing information about an important non-profit topic such as effective ways to use technology and social media, fundraising, or grant writing. If you are the head manager of a given non-profit, you may want to consider which conferences are especially suited for specific members of your staff, who can bring their new-found knowledge back to help revitalize the organization.
Whether you are looking for a large national conference or a smaller, more regional or local conference, there are plenty of opportunities available. Do your homework and choose wisely regarding which conferences for non-profit management will benefit you and your staff the most in the coming year.