How to Gather

August 30, 2022 / Comments Off on How to Gather

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Starting with the end in mind is a solid strategy as you explore the 2022 Montana Nonprofit Association Conference opportunities.  

Our team went in an unusual direction as we built this year’s 2022 MNA Conference. Rather than building a single hybrid experience, we created a multi-layered event that integrates two priorities: access to resources and opportunity for renewal. Our goal was to continue to offer increased access to resources using technology while also creating an opportunity for the kind of renewal that we experience by coming together in person. To accomplish this, we built the 2022 Conference in two sections.  

The online GATHERing is packed with 29 concurrent sessions and three dynamic keynote sessions taking place over the course of three mornings, September 21st through the 23rd. The experience is designed to allow nonprofit teams to access a learning experience that is available to and meaningful for every person on the team, including board members. Our intention is for every conference registrant to have access to the live online content and all recordings through the end of 2022. 

The second section or phase of the Conference, an in-person GATHERing, takes place in Helena. This gathering is intentionally smaller, has fewer but more intensive choices for training, and embeds more opportunity for peer learning and networking. We know from past years that, in addition to excellent content, conference attendees most value coming together, networking, and having the experience of being part of the larger nonprofit community. So many of us have deeply missed convening in person. Even the very best of digital events cannot entirely replace the power and value of coming together in person. 

As the Conference draws near we invite you to consider the purpose and characteristics of each section of the GATHERing and make choices that best fit for you and your team. Here is more information about both sections for your consideration.  

The online segment of the 2022 MNA Conference is open to all attendees – whether you are only participating online or also joining us in Helena. All sessions will be recorded and available to your entire team through the end of the year. This event is packed with variety and, by design, has something for everyone to maximum access and affordability:  

  • Access GATHER from … Wherever: A stellar remote learning experience. 
  • Access Exactly What You Need: Six concurrent sessions with a total of 29 choices – all of them scheduled before noon each day of the online conference. 
  • Access for the Entire Team: A variety of learning and skill building opportunities for every member of your team – board, other volunteers, or staff. 
  • Access National-Level Keynotes: Three keynote sessions that address the unique challenges and opportunities nonprofit leaders face today. 
  • Access Cost-Savings: Registration is available for the whole organization at one low price – putting professional development within reach for every member of your team.  

The in-person segment of the 2022 Conference includes the online GATHERing while also considering the need many of us have for the kind of renewal that happens when we spend time in community: conversing, laughing, comparing notes, or passing one another in the hallway. The in-person event is smaller by design and intentionally promotes community and restoration in several ways including deeper learning on four topics from areas recently requested by MNA members:  

  • Communications & Marketing 
  • Staff & Organizational Wellbeing 
  • Fundraising 
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice 

These day-long intensive experiences give attendees access to exceptional content delivered in a classroom setting with their peers. Remember when we could have a simple group conversation without unmuting or muting? We could all laugh together, read body language, have a shared learning experience.  

  • Renewal through Deeper Connections: The in-person conference in Helena embodies the theme GATHER. From the Wednesday evening reception to Thursday morning networking, and the shared experience of a dynamic closing keynote – the Helena Conference is designed for community. As a side note, Wednesday night’s Conference reception includes the premier of a new short film promoting the value and contributions Montana’s nonprofits bring to communities across the state!  
  • Renewal through Retreat: We’ve become so accustomed to blending the digital world with our other daily activities. There’s no question the benefits of remote meetings and events are huge. But there is also something to be said for intentionally disconnecting from digital to restore ourselves.  
  • Renewal through “Less”: There are times when less is more. I recently ordered a copy of The Distraction Addiction, a book that speaks to society’s increasing consumption of technology and the digital world. The notion behind the book Is not that we completely eschew the online experience; that would be about impossible. Rather, we choose how we navigate our lives so that we are once again in charge of how and when we use technology. The in-person gathering naturally prioritizes the human connection over a digital experience.  

On behalf of the entire MNA team, I invite you to “start with the end in mind” as you and your team choose your 2022 MNA Conference experience. And whether we see you on the Zoom screen or in Helena, we look forward to learning and connecting with you. See you soon and be sure to register today


Liz Moore
Executive Director