Fundraising in the Big Easy: Insights and Inspiration from AFP ICON 2023

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) ICON 2023 conference has come to a close, and what an event it was! Nonprofit professionals from around the world gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana, to learn from great minds in the fundraising industry. This year's conference was, once again, filled with insightful keynote speakers, engaging workshops, and valuable networking opportunities. Let's delve into what made AFP ICON 2023 a great experience and how it can benefit your fundraising efforts.


The Globe-trotting Attendees

As a marketing director involved in the nonprofit sector, attending the AFP ICON 2023 conference in New Orleans was a truly enlightening and inspiring experience. The conference drew in an impressive 3,400 attendees from 26 different countries around the globe, representing 50 US states and 9 Canadian provinces. With such a diverse audience, it was fascinating to see the various approaches to nonprofit marketing and fundraising

One of my most memorable moments of this year’s AFP ICON was meeting Daniel Lanteigne, a passionate philanthropist and advocate for diversity and inclusion. Our conversations delved into the ways that nonprofits can create more inclusive and equitable spaces, and the importance of centering the voices and needs of underrepresented communities in philanthropy. Lanteigne's insights and experiences were invaluable, and our discussions left me feeling both empowered and motivated. It was clear that his commitment to making a difference in the world through philanthropy was unwavering, and it was an honor to have the opportunity to speak with him. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting Jon Biedermann at the conference. As a powerhouse in the nonprofit industry, Jon's wealth of knowledge and expertise is truly impressive. Not only has he been involved in the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), a groundbreaking initiative that brings cutting-edge fundraising strategies to nonprofits, but he is also the brilliant mind behind DonorPerfect and SimplyFundraising - two of the most innovative software solutions in the space. Sitting down with Jon was an amazing opportunity - he is truly a thought leader who is always at the forefront of technology for the betterment of the nonprofit community. Check out his volunteering experience and be amazed!

Exhibitor Hall Heaven: The Best Booths at the Conference

One of the highlights of the conference was the exhibitor hall, which featured an array of impressive booths from companies like Salesforce, Blackbaud, DonorPerfect, and Bloomerang. It was exciting to see firsthand the latest technological advancements in nonprofit software and fundraising tools. The exhibitor hall was a great opportunity to network and connect with industry professionals, which is especially important for those of us in the nonprofit sector.

Discovering the Future of Nonprofit Tech

Throughout the conference, I had the chance to engage in great discussions with representatives from Feathr, FundraiseUp, Altrata, and Instil. These companies offer a range of services, from data analytics to fundraising technology. It was particularly interesting to learn about FundraiseUp's use of AI and machine learning to personalize fundraising efforts and increase donor retention rates. Similarly, Altrata's innovative approach to data visualization and analysis left a lasting impression. The conference also offered a variety of sessions on the latest technology and software trends in the nonprofit sector. Some of the top tech sessions included: 

  • Transforming Fundraising with Artificial Intelligence, which explored how AI can personalize fundraising and improve donor retention rates. 
  • Maximizing Impact with Data Analytics covered how organizations can use data to better understand their supporters and improve their fundraising efforts. 
  • Website Design for Nonprofits provided tips and best practices for creating an effective nonprofit website, while "IT Solutions for Nonprofits" covered the latest IT solutions and software options available for nonprofits. 
  • Finally, The Future of Nonprofit Software looked at the upcoming trends and innovations in the nonprofit software industry.