Professional development conferences

Professional Development Conferences YOU Need to Try

How to empower yourself and your staff to reach your potential

Are you looking to invest in professional development conferences for yourself and your nonprofit team? Great decision! Research shows that professional training improves employee satisfaction, performance and – ultimately – the ability of your organization to achieve its mission overall.

  • Roughly 86% of employees say job training is important – and 74% are willing to learn things outside of work hours to improve their job performance.1
  • 74% of employees say a lack of professional development prevents them from reaching their full potential.2
  • Over 55% of employees consider career growth and opportunity more important than salary.3

For these reasons and more, professional development is a priority at BDI. It’s an important part of our culture and a primary way we stay up-to-date with industry research trends. We strongly encourage our staff members to attend at least one training conference per year, so as an agency, we’ve tried a lot of them! If there’s a conference about nonprofit fundraising out there, someone on our team has probably been to it. 

To help guide you in choosing nonprofit professional development conferences, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite conferences for BDI staff. Any of these would be a great option for you or your team too. And who knows… maybe we’ll see you there!

A favorite among BDI staff who work with our Rescue Mission partners, Citygate Network Conference is held annually in June. It’s the largest annual event for Citygate Network, the largest community of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and life-transformation centers. The 2023 event included nearly 100 exhibits, 70+ seminars and more than 1,000 Mission and ministry leaders.

The annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference combines plenty of networking opportunities with over 90 breakout sessions covering topics related to fundraising, marketing and technology. Attendees often include nonprofit fundraisers and leaders, along with consultants, agencies and other marketing professionals. 

Whether you work in radio, TV, film, church media or digital marketing, NRB is the premier conference for Christian communicators. It’s held annually at different locations around the country. Attendees learn new skills and hear key industry insights during keynotes, panel discussions and workshops with industry experts and Christian leaders.

This fundraising conference attracts more than 3,000 fundraising professionals each year in April or May. It offers more than 100 educational sessions over three days, including talks from well-known keynote speakers. Topics range from leadership and ethics, to donor research and relationship building. 

ANA (Association of National Advertisers) is dedicated to empowering members with skills, tools and resources to grow their careers. It hosts multiple conferences throughout the year in different locations, making them easy to fit into your schedule. There are also virtual options. Focus areas for each vary, from marketing to financial management. 

CLA’s The Outcomes Conference is an event for Christian leaders held annually in the spring. It offers nine training tracks across the areas of leadership, relationship or stewardship. Attendees are encouraged to develop their skills, address key trends influencing Christian nonprofits today and connect and collaborate with peers.

Hosted by the research and training institute NextAfter, the NIO Summit is a two-day event typically in late summer or early fall. Topics covered include fundraising, digital marketing, branding, analytics and more – all designed to help nonprofits innovate and optimize their online fundraising. While the content is always impressive, this nonprofit professional development conference also has a reputation for being a lot of fun.

A great choice for writers, the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference usually takes place over three days in the fall. Attendees learn basic and advanced techniques to tell better stories, capture hearts and minds and ultimately raise more money. Many aspects of fundraising and donor communications are covered – including storytelling through digital media, major donor, visual and special events.  

One more thing about nonprofit professional development conferences: the lessons learned don’t have to stay with just the people in your organization who attend them. Find an opportunity afterward – maybe at an all-team meeting or over a “learning” lunch break – for the attendees to share what they learned with the rest of your staff. This is what BDI staff do after each conference they attend, and all our agency staff (and client partners) have benefited from it. 





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  • Katrina Williams

    Katrina Williams, Senior Marketing Manager

    After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree at Azusa Pacific University in 2018, Katrina set out to find an agency that would not only grow her skills in writing and marketing but would serve a greater purpose to help others. It wasn’t long until she found BDI and started her professional career at the agency.

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