2020 MCN Annual Conference Request for Proposals

Join us as a presenter at MCN's signature annual gathering!

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) seeks dynamic session leaders to present at the 2020 MCN Annual Conference.

Submitting a proposal is easy! Simply complete the online proposal form. The deadline to submit a proposal to present at the conference is Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Preview the questions on the online form.

Submit Your Proposal!

When and where will the conference take place?

2020 MCN Annual Conference
December 8 & 10, 2020
Virtual Conference - Live and Recorded

About the conference

The Annual Conference is the largest gathering of nonprofit workers, supporters, and collaborators in Minnesota. Last year it took place over two days in Rochester, Minnesota, and the theme, Challenge to Change, invited us to look at change as something that happens to and around us as well as something one or many may initiate. Change: inevitable, necessary, and challenging.

Welcome to 2020, a year that is nothing but change and challenge. A year in which a return to some storied before-time is not possible nor just. This year’s theme is Persistence Through (R)evolution. History, life in all its forms, and relationships persist. Change persists. In our shared moment, two pandemics threatening our lives continue to persist. A virus has laid bare the persistence of racism and oppression in the United States and its many systems, systems that nonprofits participate in and have the power to change. It’s time to evolve.

We believe we must poke holes, root down to the center, and find the nourishment of truth – the fuller histories that will continue to give us momentum and courage to evolve into that better world our nonprofit sector aims to build. The time for revolutionary movement toward equity is now. What role will you, your organization, and communities play? Are you a passive passenger or an agent for change? Will you join the revolution? 

Let’s come together over two days to learn, form lasting relationships, and dig in for the long haul with new ways of understanding how our work and communities are interconnected. 

What type of sessions will be included in the conference?

We’re looking for a broad array of session topics and encourage you to present in subject areas you are passionate about, skilled in, and will resonate with your peers. This could be marketing and communications, fundraising, policy and advocacy, technology, wellness, leading and mentoring, antiracism, human resources, or programming. Learners self-identifying as beginner, intermediate, and advanced attend, so consider the audience you’d like to reach.

Proposals that encourage dreaming as well as practical, skills-based learning both are welcome. We are particularly interested in sessions that encourage plans for action and highlight the genius, creative, and community-centered work from and by Black, Indigenous, and nonprofit leaders of color. We will strongly consider proposals that amplify BIPOC voices, center racial justice and equity, or fully represent the vibrancy of Greater MN nonprofits. 

Our Annual Conference planning and proposal selection committee reflects MCN’s strategic commitment to racial justice, equity, and Greater MN representation. With this in mind, we are introducing Equity and Justice Guidelines this year. 

  1. Sessions and presenters should reflect the racial, economic, cultural, age, and geographic diversity of the communities we serve. Experts and presenters who are able to share first-person experiences will be strongly considered, as well as representation of people who are furthest from justice. We also encourage participation from Greater Minnesota leaders and leaders from the LGBTQIA+, accessibility, and intersecting communities. 
  2. Consider your audience and let us know how you’ll address different ways of learning throughout your presentation. For example, how will you reach introverts and extroverts? How will you reach internal and external processors?   
  3. What does accessibility mean to you? Please be explicit in how you answer this. 

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

Whether you’re an executive director or just getting started in the workforce we want to hear from you. Whether you’re a public policy advocate, developing community-led public art projects, or providing mental health services we want to hear from you. Preference will be given to sessions that demonstrate active involvement of nonprofit professionals and the communities they engage as session presenters or co-presenters. 

If you are a consultant or employee for a for-profit company, we encourage you to include one or more nonprofit representatives in your session. This way, session participants will have a direct connection to the topic or issue through a peer presenter. Sessions with nonprofit co-presenters have a much higher rate of acceptance. 

Presenters chosen will receive complimentary admission to the full conference and will be strongly considered for paid consulting roles for future MCN workshops. To honor the time it takes to prepare a proposal, all who submit will also receive a voucher for an MCN workshop or conference of your choice in 2021 and you will receive name recognition on the conference webpage.  

Will presenters be compensated?

Historically, MCN has not paid presenters for breakout sessions at our conferences and this does not align with our present commitment to equity and justice. Thank you to those who brought this to our attention and challenged us to do better. 

We believe in recognizing intellectual property and labor, especially of Black, Indigenous, and presenters of color whenever possible, and keeping costs low for small, rural, and BIPOC led-nonprofits. With all of this in mind, for this Annual Conference we will pay individual presenters a stipend of $150, with a limit of $300 per session. This modest stipend is in addition to complimentary admission to the conference for presenters.

For those of you who submit, but are not invited to present, we will recognize the time you have given by offering you a voucher for an MCN workshop or conference of your choice in 2021 and you will receive name recognition on the conference webpage.   

What is the best format for presenting at this conference?

  • Formats that emphasize participant engagement and interaction through dialogue, discussion, and idea-, and action-plan generation for much of the session - at least half of the total session time.
  • Formats that take virtual presentation into consideration. Zoom will be the technology used and MCN staff can offer suggestions for bringing your ideas to life.
  • Formats that invite participants to build on their experiences and knowledge.
  • Keep your session tono more than three presenters (including any moderator/facilitator).
  • The session's actual length and time slot will be selected by MCN staff. Sessions are typically 60 or 75 minutes each. Sessions take place in the morning and afternoon so please hold the full day(s) until you hear from us if possible. We will do our best to work with your schedule.

How do I submit a proposal?

The process for submitting an idea is simple. Please use this form to share your idea in written, video, or audio form and then answer a few questions to give reviewers (MCN staff and planning committee) a sense of who you are and where you’re coming from. 

Proposals are due by 5 p.m. Central on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The planning committee will review all proposals and make its selections by October 30, 2020. 

Preview the questions on the online form.

Submit Your Proposal Now!


If you have questions about submitting a proposal for the MCN Annual Conference, please contact Courtney Gerber at cgerber@minnesotanonprofits.org. Thank you!