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By Laura Whitlock
Pioneers, a volunteer organization
The 2018 Bridge Conference focused on creativity and analytics, basically the two sides of the brain. The main keynote address by Shankar Vedantam, NPRs Science Correspondent, was insightful and surprisingly entertaining. I found his theories to be contrary to notions I have had, so I was glad to have the different point of view. He spoke of a dog that was adrift on a tanker ship and needed rescue and how people donated impressive amounts of money to rescue the dog. Why people donated to this one dog, instead of saving many dogs through contributions to shelters, was enlightening and very thought-provoking. I realize that many of donation asks focus on so many different projects, that we are doing a disservice to the organization.
I attended several break-out sessions, which were led by in the trenches professionals. The break-out session on changing the face of membership brought to mind how we should not make assumptions about who our best donors are. Statistics help us uncover hidden gems that can guide strategy.
My biggest challenge currently is cultivating sustainers. I attended two breakout sessions that provided some great ideas on how to do this. I also found that some of the other sessions I attended had ideas on how to mine the data I need to prospect to them and what type of creative works best in attracting sustainers.
The trade show also was extremely helpful to me. I met with several companies to learn how to expand my marketing tool box. And, I loved the hands-on activity to help soldiers who are deployed.
Thank you so much to the DMFA for this opportunity. I believe it will make a difference in moving my organization forward.