2019's Hottest Conferences for Nonprofit and Campaign Pros

These conferences are the best of the best for nonprofit communications and political campaign professionals. Putting together my 2019 wish list. What are you attending?

Nonprofit Communication (and a bit of Development)

Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTEN): “Next spring in Portland, gather together with more than 2,000 of your nonprofit colleagues to collaborate, innovate, and discover new ways to spark change with technology.”

  • Date: March 13-15, 2019

  • Location: Portland, OR

  • Cost: $999 (non members, register by 2/11/19)

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit pros who want to tap into the latest and greatest trends in technology. 6 featured sessions include: The future of work; Security and trust; Changing the nonprofit and tech sectors; Centering our communities; Creating the world we want inside our organizations; Demystifying impacts on the sector: What do things like net neutrality, copyright law, PCI compliance, the Johnson Amendment, and more mean for us as individual nonprofits and as a sector

Leading Together: “Leading Together 2019 offers you three days of best practices, training, and big ideas. With almost 50 concurrent sessions, learning labs, breakfast roundtables, and more led by seasoned experts, there is something for everyone — choose the sessions that most pertain to your work and interest. Conference programming will focus on four tracks: bridging divides, climate change and vulnerabilities, philanthropic practice, and inclusive economic prosperity.”

  • Date: April 29-May 1, 2019

  • Location: Miami, FL

  • Cost: $1,199

  • Who this is for: Hosted by the Council on Foundations, this conference is designed for those working in nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. The conference programming includes sessions on fundraising, advocacy, community development, social justice, and more.

Create Good Conference: “Create Good is about inspiring nonprofit communicators with the latest tools and techniques. We invite communicators from around the country who are doing the most meaningful and eye-catching work to come share what they’ve learned so the whole sector rises up.”

  • Date: May 9-10, 2019

  • Location: Durham, NC

  • Cost: $175

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit communication professionals; if you can get yourself to NC, this is an incredibly affordable conference. Past session included: Tips to have more successful media pitches; Elements of storytelling and how to get started; How to make your Facebook advertising campaign more effective; Using pop culture to get your cause mainstream; How to reach millennials; Power of design in nonprofit communications

2019 Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC): “The Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC) gives association and nonprofit professionals the insights necessary to take their marcomm and membership strategies to new heights. Learn the latest in engagement, technology, and trends from industry innovators.”

  • Date: June 6-7, 2019

  • Location: Washington, DC

  • Cost: TBD

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit marketing professionals that want to take their marketing and stakeholder engagement strategies to new heights. Learn the latest in engagement, technology, and trends from industry innovators.

  • Details of the 2019 conference will be released in early 2019

The Collaborative, by Classy: “Welcome to the Collaborative, a 3-day immersive experience where today’s changemakers co-create the future of social entrepreneurship. You'll make meaningful connections with nonprofit leaders and peers—and head home with actionable strategies and tools to accelerate change.”

  • Date: June 12-14, 2019

  • Location: Boston, MA

  • Cost: $200

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit professionals that are focused on growth, storytelling, data, technology, and leadership development. 2018 sessions ranged in topic from, “Make your data take you further, faster” to “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture” to “Ask the Editor: Pitch Your Nonprofit Story” and even “Reaching Next Gen Activists on YouTube: Tips to Amplify Your Cause”

The Bridge Conference: “The Bridge Conference is the premier conference of, by and for fundraising and marketing professionals. It's a vast, immersive and uniquely comprehensive experience for the latest strategies, techniques and innovations in direct response and major donor fundraising.”

  • Date: July 10-12, 2019

  • Location: Washington, DC

  • Cost: $780-880, 2019 costs coming soon

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit professionals in development, communications and executive leadership/board of directors who wish to grow their understanding and expertise in fundraising, brand development, storytelling, and digital marketing

Nonprofit Storytelling Conference: This conference is exactly what it sounds like…learn the basics of storytelling, including how to use stories in fundraising and stakeholder engagement, advocacy, and more.

  • Date: Oct 28-39, 2019

  • Location: San Diego, CA

  • Cost: $1345, with special discount through January 4

  • Who this is for: Nonprofit professionals who can help integrate storytelling into organizational strategy

Advocacy and Politics

The Advocacy Conference: Hosted by the Public Affairs Council, this conference focuses on three tracks: grassroots, communications, and lobbying. “As grassroots and advocacy practitioners find that the scope of their work — and the challenges they face — are changing, so is the conference. Grassroots will be one featured track at the conference, paired with communications tactics and strategies and engagement solutions for working with partners, senior management and stakeholders.”

  • Date: January 28-31, 2019

  • Location: Key West, Fla.

  • Cost: $1,499 to $1,899

  • Who this is for: Grassroots and advocacy practitioners interested in expanding their scope and expertise in an ever-changing industry

Reeds Awards and Conference: “The Reeds Conference is designed with one goal in mind: deliver exceptional content, networking and opportunities that support your business and professional development goals.”

  • Date: February 20-21, 2019

  • Location: Austin, TX

  • Cost: $399 through January 10

  • Who this is for: Campaign professionals who want to attend a short and sweet conference with highly tailored content

Pollie Conference: Network, Learn, Engage, Grow your Business with the help of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC)

  • Date: April 2-4, 2019

  • Location: Napa Valley

  • Cost: $1175 for non members; $125-625 for members

  • Who this is for: Any and all political consultants who want to learn from the best of the best

CampaignTech East: “At CampaignTech, you’ll get behind-the-scenes perspectives on the newest digital strategies, tactics, tools, and ground-breaking technologies. CampaignTech is where the biggest names in political campaign technology come to engage, discover and set the agenda for the 2020 campaign cycle.”

  • Date: April 24-25, 2019

  • Location: Washington, DC

  • Cost: $389 through January 24; $649 after

  • Who this is for: Campaign consultants and political communication professionals on the east coast; CampaignTech Chicago held a 2018 conference

Netroots Nation: “For more than a decade, Netroots Nation has hosted the largest annual conference for progressives, drawing nearly 3,000 attendees from around the country and beyond. Netroots Nation 2019 is set for July 11-13 in Philadelphia. Attendees can choose from 80+ panels, 60+ training sessions, inspiring keynotes, caucuses, film screenings and lots of networking and social events.”

  • Date: July 11-13, 2019

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA

  • Cost: $325 for activist registration; lowest is $110 student ticket

  • Who this is for: Online organizers, grassroots activists and independent media makers. Some are professionals who work at advocacy organizations, progressive companies or labor unions, while others do activism in their spare time.

Doesn’t Fit into a Category, but Must Attend:

  • SXSW: “Featuring a variety of tracks that allow attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology, SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. With one unified conference that spans 25 tracks of programming, we’ll be offering more opportunities for networking, learning, and discovery than ever before.”

    • Date: March 8-16, 2019

    • Location: Austin, TX

    • Cost: $1,125

    • Who this is for: The person who has the money to spend on a pricey (but lengthy) conference; creative thinkers and problem solvers

    • Noteworthy tracks include: brands and marketing; cities, government & politics; media and journalism; social and global impact; food

    • Of Importance: There is an Education/Policy track that runs March 4-7 @ $495/ticket. “The SXSW EDU Conference & Festival features four days of compelling content for education professionals, industry leaders and policy makers looking to connect, collaborate, create and change how we teach and learn.”

  • Inbound: “Every year, tens of thousands of marketers, salespeople, and customer success pros converge in Boston for a week of learning, inspiration, and connection at INBOUND…INBOUND is one of the fastest-growing business events in the world because of the unmissable content. INBOUND features four days of inspiring talks from speakers like Michelle Obama, Issa Rae, and Gary Vaynerchuk, plus educational breakout sessions led by innovative marketing, sales, and customer success practitioners. And of course that comes with three nights of great parties and uproarious entertainment (Tiffany Haddish and Trevor Noah, anyone?)”

    • Date: September 3-6, 2019

    • Location: Boston, MA

    • Cost: $599 (1 day), $899 (4 day), plus a community pass offer and a power pass offer

    • Who this is for: marketers, salespeople, and customer success pros