2021 ACTcon

Fundraising, communications, and technology are inextricably linked. ACTcon gives nonprofit staff and leaders an opportunity to connect their work with current fundraising and communications trends, new technologies, and innovative approaches to how each can support the other to raise our impact on the communities we serve. In 2021, this virtual convening is an opportunity to look at how these core elements of nonprofit work continue to shift for the long term in response to an ongoing pandemic, racial reckoning, and the impact of a changing climate and economy.

What are we learning? What’s giving us energy? What’s taking root amongst the disruption? How are nonprofits participating and leading in new, more equitable philanthropy, storytelling, and technologies? Where is the sector’s growth edges? 

These questions and more are going to generate connecting and learning and inspire sustained movement in the work we do and relationships we build. Bring your perspective and questions to ACTcon 2021!  

Conference highlights include:

  • 19 fundraising, communications, and technology breakout sessions over two days, with each breakout period offering multiple session options 

  • Mixture of tools- and skills-oriented sessions and big idea, story-oriented sessions 

  • Keynote and plenary sessions that offer equal parts application and inspiration 

  • Recordings of sessions after the conference, providing attendees access to every minute of conference content 

  • Themed and facilitated networking spaces for peer-to-peer connecting  

  • Wellness and artistic interludes throughout 

  • Virtual Scavenger Hunt and prizes (Who doesn’t love a good prize?) 

Come together for all at ACTcon!

ACTcon 2021

July 27 & 29, 2021
8:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Virtual Conference
Live & Recorded

Sponsored by:

Bush Foundation

Hosted by:


Keynote Addresses

Evva Carr 2

Think Boldly. Play Boldly. Tinker Together.

Tuesday, July 27

ACTcon launches with a keynote from GLITCH founder and CEO Evva Karr. Evva is passionate about forming deep connections through playful technology and building a better, more inclusive creative economy. As a systems designer Evva strategically connects game design, fundraising, and business structures through co-creation in order to build the #FutureOfPlay. 
Evva co-founded GLITCH in 2009 as a nonprofit focused on digital games as a bold new form of media and creative practice which grew out of a student group at the University of Minnesota. Though still firmly planted in the gaming industry, GLITCH has since transitioned to a public benefit company as an ecosystem builder and creator-led, cooperatively-owned movement working directly with game developers across the globe. 
Since transition to a public benefit company Evva has shipped HyperDot in partnership with Microsoft XBOX to nearly 1M players world-wide, granted $50,000 to BIPOC and queer creators, and launched an $8M early-stage equity fund focused on backing daring and ambitious creators with fresh perspectives on play. 
Evva is fiercely dedicated to the idea that creative entrepreneurs must be given the power create the bold new forms of play they want to see in the world without asking for permission — especially BIPOC, women, and queer developers. In their keynote, Evva will share insight on the $77 billion dollar games industry, it's equity and financing gaps, and the power of play to connect and transform.

CCF Plenary Speakers

It’s Not About You, It’s About Us: The Necessary and Sticky Movement Toward Community-Centric Fundraising 

Thursday, July 29

Join hosts Mallory Mitchell, interim director of coaching and curriculum at GiveMN, and Kari Aanestad, director of advancement at MCN as they bring to light the heat, nuance, and promise surrounding Community Centric Fundraising (CCF) through a conversation with national and local panelists who are active in the CCF movement.  

This plenary session will go deep into the principles of CCF and get curious about fundraising models that de-center the individual and honor the whole of community through practices that are simultaneously rooted in racial and economic justice. With a commitment to frank and bountiful discussion, Mallory and Kari will engage the panelists with questions that address the discomfort and disagreement within the fundraising community about the 'right' way to engage donors.  

Starting with the premise that relational work is never done, nor is it isolated from larger social contexts, and discomfort and disagreement are normal parts of paradigm shifts and not inherently unhealthy, panelists will reflect on CCF as moving the nonprofit sector and philanthropy toward equitable and just fundraising practices. Panelists will look to the 10 Principles of Community-Centric Fundraising and how they function and flex at their organizations, provide a view into the tension between the foundational elements of philanthropy and fundraising in the United States with perpetuating capital over people, and respond to what’s on your mind.  


Mary Deloiré, director of individual giving, Headwaters Foundation for Justice
Anna Rebecca Lopez, founder, AR Lopez Consulting
Cary Walski, owner, Copilot: Web Services for Nonprofits

Conference Planning Committee

  • Kari Aanestad, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

  • Anneissa Antar, Minneapolis Institute of Art

  • Cole St. Arnold, NDN Collective

  • Joel Barker, Brave North Technology

  • Mark Buenaflor, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

  • Paul Ernst, Cultural Technology Solutions

  • Venessa Fuentes, Headwaters Foundation for Justice

  • Courtney Gerber, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

  • Roger Hagedorn, City of Minneapolis 

  • Jonathan C.W. Jones, Ideation4 

  • Poh Lin Khoo, Khoo Consulting, LLC

  • Al Lun, IBM (retired)

  • Mallory Mitchell, GiveMN

  • Andrea Sanow, Propel Nonprofits

  • Jen Scholl, YMCA of Greater Twin Cities and AFP-MN

  • Kristin Skaar, Habitat for Humanity Minnesota

  • Dustin Wade, Imagine IT, LLC

  • John Wurm, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits