2018 Finance Conference Request for Proposals

Join us as a session presenter on topics of finance, sustainability and financial leadership!

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) seek dynamic session leaders to present at the seventh annual Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference.

Submitting a proposal is easy! Simply complete the online proposal form. The deadline to submit a proposal to present at the conference is Monday, September 18, 2017 at 8 a.m.

When and where is the conference taking place?

2018 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Who will attend and what will attendees gain from the conference?

Attendees of the 2018 Nonprofit Finance and Sustainability Conference will be able to:

  • Better understand issues of nonprofit finance including financial compliance, investing, budgeting, audits, internal controls and more.
  • Better understand themes of nonprofit sustainability including the “marketization” of nonprofits, entrepreneurship, finding the right revenue mix and nonprofit excellence.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between finances and nonprofit leadership – from the point of view of the board, executive, senior leadership and finance director.

Attendees will include around 500 nonprofit leaders including staff, board members and volunteers. Past conference attendees included:

  • 33% finance / accounting staff
  • 22% executive directors
  • 8% management staff
  • 7% board members
  • 5% fundraising / development staff

What types of sessions will be included in the conference?

NAF and MCN seek workshops that will focus on a range of skills and knowledge. Sessions will highlight everything from technical skills such as budgeting, audits and compliance to leadership skills around developing teams of staff or volunteers who understand their roles around organizational sustainability, internal controls and oversight.

For 2018, we'll highlight two tracks of sessions, in addition to all of the rest of the workshops that we always host. We'll have a "101 Track" for all things basic/beginner. And we'll have a "Radical Reinvention Track" for anything related to change management, succession planning, mergers/realignments, and retrenchment due to budget cuts.

Beyond the "101 Track", proposals that focus on intermediate or advanced skills (and presume that attendees already have beginner level knowledge) will be most likely to be invited as conference workshops.

Workshop sessions may include the following themes:

  • Financial and fiscal management
  • The ethics of finances, budgeting and compliance
  • Financial leadership for staff, board and volunteers
  • Topics of sustainability including nonprofit business models and entrepreneurship
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Legal topics and government policy issues

Who will be selected as workshop presenters and what benefits will presenters gain?

MCN and NAF seek dynamic presenters from the nonprofit sector and allied organizations who firmly understand nonprofit finance and sustainability. Session presenters must demonstrate both a depth of knowledge on the workshop topic and a breadth of past speaking experience.

As an incentive to encourage your broad participation at the full conference, workshop presenters will be registered for the full conference for free (maximum 3 presenters per session). We sincerely hope that presenters will take advantage of this great opportunity to attend the full conference and to interact with other attendees over the course of the conference. (In limited cases, MCN may register 4 presenters for panels seeking diverse viewpoints. Talk with Paul Masiarchin prior to submitting your proposal if this is your situation.) Any additional presenters not included at the time of submission will be required to pay the full conference registration fee, whether or not they attend the full conference. MCN will not handle any travel logistics and will not be able to pay for mileage, lodging expenses or presenter stipends.

What is the best format for presenting a workshop at this conference?

In order to ensure the highest quality sessions for the conference, the planning committee will place priority on session proposals that incorporate modern adult education modes and formats emphasizing participant engagement and interaction.

  • Your session should engage attendees so that participants are actively involved in dialogue, discussion and idea-generation for much of the session - at least half of the total session time.
  • Your session should have no more than three presenters (including any moderator).
  • PowerPoint slides filled with words should be kept to a minimum. Consider using pictures and stories to convey your message.
  • Consider a non-traditional session format such as:
    • Pecha Kucha – One or more presenters show twenty slides each which automatically advance at 20-second intervals for a total presentation time of six minutes and 40 seconds per person.
    • Ignite – Similar to Pecha Kucha, but the 20 slides advance every 15 seconds. The talk per person is five minutes in length.
    • Battle Decks – A form of PowerPoint Karaoke Improv, where participants extemporaneously speak about each slide in a Pecha Kucha or Ignite slide deck that they’ve never seen before.
    • World Café – Small groups in rounds discuss a topic for twenty minutes, and then each member of the group moves to a different new table. Ideas build on each other as the progression continues.
    • TED-style Talks – 10 minute dynamic talks followed by Q&A or other audience participation.
      How do I submit a proposal?

Submitting a proposal is easy! Simply complete the online proposal form. The deadline to submit a proposal to present at the conference is Monday, September 18 at 8 a.m.

The questions you will be asked in the online survey proposal form are:

  1. Session title (8 word maximum)
  2. Session description (150 word maximum)
  3. What content will be covered? Provide three learning objectives participants will walk away with after attending this session.
  4. What level of prior knowledge is required for success in your session? The conference seeks all levels of learning although most accepted sessions will focus on advanced or intermediate levels.
    • Advanced Prior Knowledge: Attendees should have advanced knowledge of the subject area before arriving (this means presenters will not define all words; will not include basic information on the subject; and will answer basic questions after the end of the session)
    • Intermediate Prior Knowledge: Attendees should have intermediate knowledge of the subject area before arriving (this means the presenters will define words, as requested, but will generally assume that attendees understand most concepts presented)
    • General Prior Knowledge: Attendees will not need significant prior knowledge of the subject area; this level would be good for beginners and anyone interested in the topic
  5. What level of participant engagement are you envisioning? (Select 1 or 2 styles of engagement)
    • Interactive Session – Sessions that incorporate modern and/or multiple presentation methods, including large and small group discussions, individual and group exercises and presentation.
    • "TED" Style Talk with Discussion – Sessions that incorporate a nontraditional presentation method such as a TED Talk, Pecha Kucha, Ignite, or other method followed by open discussion amongst the audience members and presenter.
    • Group Discussion – Facilitated discussions designed to give attendees a chance to dialogue about their viewpoints on a particular subject.
    • Panel Discussion (no more than three panelists in total, including moderator) – Focused on a particular topic, this type of session features a moderated panel of three knowledgeable persons who respond to predetermined list of questions as well as questions from the audience.
    • Formal Presentation – “Lecture-style” presentations featuring one or two knowledgeable presenters. Formal presentations should include ample time for audience questions, discussion and interaction.
  6. Room layout (optional): In most cases, breakout rooms will be set theater style (chairs without tables) to ensure maximum capacity for conference attendees. In limited cases, we may be able to accommodate other room layouts. Please describe if you would like to request a different room layout and we will attempt to meet your need.
  7. Session length: What is your preferred length of session? 60 minutes, 75 minutes, 90 minutes. (Most sessions will be 75 minutes in length.)
  8. Contact information for main contact person: Please include the full contact information for the session presenter who will be MCN's main contact during the planning process. This must be one of the session presenters.
    • First name
    • Last name
    • Title
    • Organization or company
    • Email address
    • City
    • State
    • Phone number
  9. Co-presenter information (Optional): If you will have one or two co-presenters, please include their information below. (Please note that 3 total presenters (inclusive of any moderator) may be admitted to the conference with free registration. Any additional presenters will pay the full conference registration fee. We discourage including more than 3 presenters for any session.)
    • First co-presenter's name, title, organization
    • Second co-presenter's name, title, organization
  10. Nonprofit presenter(s): Please tell us if any of the workshop presenters works at a nonprofit. Sessions without nonprofit presenter(s) will have a lower rate of acceptance. Some sessions may be accepted on the condition that a nonprofit co-presenter will be added.
  11. Background information: If any speaker listed above has never presented at any of MCN’s conferences, please include brief background information highlighting his/her expertise on the topic and experience as a workshop presenter.

Submit Your Proposal Now!


If you have questions about submitting a proposal for the 2018 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference, please contact Paul Masiarchin, program director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits at 651-757-3087 or pmasiarchin@minnesotanonprofits.org. Thank you!


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