Guest post by Tiffany Langston, Multimedia Manager, Philanthropy New York
“How many of you have been in your job for less than a year?” I sheepishly raised my hand along with two others in the room. We receive an enthusiastic round of applause. What everyone else, outside of those from my organization, didn’t know, was that not only was it my first year on the job, but it was also my first year working in the philanthropic sector, period.
On April 9, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers hosted the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Regional Associations Meeting. The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, Delaware Grantmaker’s Association, The Giving Forum, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, Philanthropy New York, Philanthropy West Virginia and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers all convened at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey. We connected with colleagues, celebrated our 2014 accomplishments, discussed goals and strategies for the coming year and brainstormed solutions to concerns and struggles unique to regional associations.
The morning started with a full group session that included a networking icebreaker, a recap of each regional association’s proudest achievement and an in-depth exploration of the impact of programming. A highlight of the conversation was Craig Weinrich (Council of New Jersey Grantmakers Director of Member Services) serenading each association with a song from their respective city.
After lunch we broke out into smaller groups to discuss trends and best practices for a variety of focus areas including communications, member recruitment and retention, data management, programming, office management and engaging family foundations. The conference ended with a final round up where we shared key takeaways from the day’s event.
As someone who is new to the field, I found the Mid-Atlantic Regional Associations Meeting to be an invaluable experience. I made new friends, brought back key strategies to improve our digital communication outreach and got a better understanding of the strong network that regional associations have developed in our area. Philanthropy New York is looking forward to hosting the meeting in 2016, but this event will be a tough act to follow.