President's Perspective Blog

Thank You for an ICONic Event

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I know it’s fashionable, and somewhat expected, for organizations to look back at their own conferences and say how tremendous and amazing they were. We used the “What Was your ICONic Moment” theme in our conference marketing for AFP ICON 2021 Virtual, so I use the term in the title of my message today mostly to connect the dots.

Still, that more than 1,650 fundraisers registered for a three-day online event—when I think a lot of us are still suffering from Zoom and virtual meeting fatigue—IS pretty iconic and amazing.

 I want to thank everyone who participated. There was a great feeling of community and togetherness, and while I know we all wanted to be in-person, I am thrilled by the number of comments I’ve received about how attendees were pleasantly surprised at the platform we used and how our events and planning encouraged networking and community. That’s exactly what we wanted!

I really do hope you found the conference iconic, tremendous, amazing or whatever positive term you want to use. But honestly, I am far more focused on hoping you learned a lot that you can take back to use in your organization’s fundraising.

There was a LOT of trends and data presented at AFP ICON 2021 Virtual. Start with the 100 educational sessions—all of which are still available for attendees to watch ANYTIME. (I would add that if you missed ICON, you’ll have the opportunity to buy access to all the sessions very soon, likely in August—stay tuned for that announcement!)

We also announced the results of the first comprehensive, collaborative survey about IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and access) in the fundraising profession, led by AFP. We also released data from our Workplace Climate Survey, a follow-up to our ground-breaking study on sexual harassment from 2018. You saw the results of our third Fundraising Confidence Survey and a sneak peak at our upcoming Compensation and Benefits Report. Plus, there were panel discussion on IDEA, fundraising trends, and returning to the workplace in the post-COVID environment.

That’s a lot, and I hope you take some time over the next couple of weeks to go over some of those reports and surveys, whether you attended ICON or not this year. There’s so much great information and guidance to be gleaned from them.

AFP’s goal is to provide you great education, networking, community and value no matter how we meet. I hope we met that goal for you. Thanks again to everyone who attended AFP ICON 2021 Virtual and for being a member of the fundraising community.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in-person at our leadership conference, AFP LEAD, in Indianapolis later this fall, Oct. 18 – 20, and then at AFP ICON 2022 in Las Vegas, May 2 – 4. It will be truly iconic to be able to meet in person again.


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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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