Run Walk Ride had over 300 participants this year. Lots of familiar faces but some new ones in the crowd too! As I reflect on the past couple of days here are the things that are sticking with me as I board my flight home…
1. People love networking and having a chance to talk to each other, learn, and problem solve together. Attendees were most engaged when they were just chatting in the hallways or grabbing a cocktail after hours. Makes me wonder how much time we budget for our fundraisers to just get to know each other and share ideas? If we like it so much they probably do too! How can events and programs help facilitate that networking time?
2. Content needs to be applicable to all groups. At the conference there is such a huge range of attendees (national staff, chapters, local groups, vendors, etc) so before jumping into the content it is good to talk about how this might apply or be relevant to those different segments. As a speaker it is our job to help people connect the dots, and we can’t just hope it is clear after 25 slides.
3. The gift shop in the lobby was awesome. Baby gifts, new pair of shoes and some jewelry all in one quick stop. Finding a place for it in my carry on is another question.
4. For a bunch of event people I felt the event lacked that special ‘on event feeling’ we all strive to create. What can we do to spice things up next year? Do we each bring event t-shirts and hang them on a display wall in the main session? Do we need more balloons? More music? I feel like there is a sponsorship opportunity for the right company to blow us all away.
5. I love my clients! I got to see Hannah from Project Open Hand, Christie Madsen at Make-A-Wish®, the whole team from National Marfan Foundation, and my friends at ALS Association including my fabulous co-presenter Natalia McNeil. These are amazing, passionate, and smart people; and I am blessed to know them!
6. Travel highs and lows… I love that ATL airport only serves Coke but not happy that people like to take their shoes off in the airport/on the plane.
7. It would be great to have a panel focused on the biggest failures and flops from the year. What did we try that didn’t work? What never got off the ground because of staffing, budgets, or leadership? What will we NEVER do again? I know we would all have something to add. If we don’t, you need to ask if you are trying hard enough!
I am sure there were more ah-has that will come to me as I settle back into my work. I know I will be there again in 2014 and am thankful that David brings us all together once a year.
Be sure to comment on this post, share your key take-a-ways, and tweet them too using #runwalkride. Good luck implementing the new ideas, and pat yourself on the back for things you realize you are doing that are spot on!
See you in 2014!