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Drive Your Mission Further at #DCNP2018

Kelly England Kelly England 2018 DMANF Washington Nonprofit Conference Co-Chair

The team here at PS is eager to join hundreds of direct marketing and fundraising professionals at the 2018 DMANF Washington Nonprofit Conference next week. There are many exciting changes for this year’s event so to get the inside scoop, we sat down with one of the conference co-chairs, Kelly England. Kelly currently serves as the Director of Strategic Planning at Integral and has served the nonprofit industry for more than 20 years. Here’s what Kelly had to share:

What are you most excited about for this year’s conference?
The pre-conference on Wednesday, February 21st is a brand-new session: The Rising Leader Workshop. Jennifer Honadel of Epsilon came back from last year’s DMA Leadership Summit in North Carolina with the idea to bring similar small group brainstorming sessions and management seminars to mid- and senior-level industry professionals who might not get to go to the larger summit every few years. She recruited Adrian White Slagle, Angela Struebing, and myself to help her pull the workshop together. The content is incredible! It should be a great day of learning and sharing for the attendees, and I’m hopeful that this can turn into a continual workshop for the DMA.

We noticed there wasn’t an overall conference theme this year – was that intentional?
I’ll let you in on a secret – the committee purposely didn’t pick a theme this conference. As I look at the keynote, the leadership workshop, and the common thread through the session content, what speaks to me the most is the focus on continuous progress and incremental improvement. Someone told me once that the difference between an average baseball player and an all-star is one extra single a week! We can apply that to our programs and look for the opportunity to turn the dials a little at a time for a significant lift.

What have you learned from being a conference co-chair this year? Did anything surprise you?
All of the chairs, Michael Deflavia, Lisa Wettstaedt, and I have been so impressed and grateful for the level of commitment and willingness to jump in and help by so many people across the industry. We’ve all been on committees where it’s a little like pulling teeth. This industry continues to demonstrate our commitment to collaboration and support for the greater good of the whole and it never ceases to make me step back and appreciate that I work in the nonprofit community.  

What are the top 3 things you hope attendees take away from the conference?

  1. Build your network – Make at least 10 new contacts and follow-up with them after the conference.  LinkedIn, email follow-ups, schedule lunches. Make the contacts count more than just collecting business cards.
  2. Get 3-5 immediate ideas to improve your current program – Hopefully someone sparks an aha! moment for you in the session that you can immediately implement.
  3. Build a list of 5-10 strategies to implement long term. This could be a package test, new model, a new channel, or a new vendor!

Is there anything you won’t want to miss out on?
The keynote and both luncheons are not to be missed this year.  Our keynote speaker is Emily Esfahani Smith, talking about pursuing a life with meaning.  I think if you work in the nonprofit industry, this is important to you and I’m personally looking forward to hearing her kick off the conference.

Our Thursday awards luncheon will honor two amazing professionals for their work and dedication to the industry. I love this luncheon – it’s like the Oscars of the nonprofit world.

And for Friday’s lunch, we are doing something different. Some of the most popular sessions at the Chicago conference were around demographic data and what it’s telling us about the industry. We’ve asked Carol Rhine and Kn Moy to collaborate and give us all an update that we think everyone will want to hear!

The two-day event will be jam-packed, and we plan to take advantage of everything the conference has to offer. Follow us on Twitter to see how our experience is going – you won’t want to miss out! #DCNP2018