I spent my first day on the job at the Foundation Center in Los Angeles at the Grantmakers for Education (GFE) annual meeting. Two weeks ago, GrantCraft hosted its first webinar — on funder collaboratives for international projects. And last week, I was in Chicago for the Independent Sector (IS) conference. In L.A. and Chicago, I felt that familiar rush from being in a room with passionate leaders in our sector and exploring the ideas of thoughtful colleagues.
Despite tight travel budgets and time being short, there will always be a need for face-to-face events. Planned meetings, fortuitous encounters, and the camaraderie of peers can all help improve practice. At these conferences and so many others, networking can be invaluable along with the zeitgeist of what’s being discussed in the field.
But technology opens up many additional opportunities for learning. GrantCraft’s recent webinar allowed us to share insights from five grantmakers who dialed in from New York, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Washington, DC. Actually, that is where their foundations are based. They, like our global webinar audience, could have been signing in from anywhere in the world. A recording of this conversation is available for a listen at any time. I live tweeted and tagged my posts #GFE11 and #ISconf from our @grantcraft and my personal @howtogive Twitter accounts, and provided my take on the GFE and IS conferences for those who couldn’t attend. My Twitter dialogue and retweets at these events also led me to seek out those I wouldn’t have otherwise met and fostered new relationships. In its first decade, GrantCraft provided web-based materials for use alone, in self-directed groups, and in workshops with philanthropy partners like regional associations.
We’re eager to build on this in ways most helpful to the donor community. For GrantCraft’s next phase, what’s the best mix of in-person, online, and social media tools? Rosien and I welcome your thoughts.