Marketing Strategy + Planning

The 7 best marketing-focused conferences for nonprofits

Nonprofit Technology Conference 

  • When: March 13–15, 2019
  • Location: Portland, OR (Oregon Convention Center)
  • How much: $699 – $1,200
  • Size: 2,000 attendees
  • Presented by: NTEN

Most people who have attended one of these conferences say that they really liked the “energy” and the “people” at this conference. It truly is a unique conference. If you are not a techie, don’t be scared away. There will be something for you at this conference. The “science fair” makes for one of the most fun nonprofit conference exhibitor areas. This conference is usually a sell-out event.

This conference is presented by NTEN and is the nonprofit sector’s signature technology event. We assemble over 2,000 of the best and brightest nonprofit professionals from around the world. Together, they collaborate, innovate, and discover new ways to spark change with technology. With over 100 sessions exploring technologies, best strategies, and pressing issues; an exhibit hall highlighting the latest nonprofit products and services; and networking events ever.

NTEN is where nonprofit professionals learn about and celebrate the ways technology helps them meet their missions. More than 50,000 community members access NTEN’s capacity-building programs and services, including educational courses, the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and online and in-person discussion spaces.

Conference website >


Cause Camp

  • When: March 25-26, 2019
  • Location: Lincoln, NE (Nebraska Innovation Campus)
  • Cost: $499 ($99 for online)
  • Presented by: Nonprofit Hub

Cause Camp is a nonprofit marketing, fundraising, and leadership conference. According to its website, the conference is “dedicated to showing nonprofits how to be more remarkable in the areas of marketing, fundraising, leadership, innovation and more. Organizations that attend Cause Camp leave equipped and ready to #CauseTheChange building community and activism.

Cause Camp is put on each year by Nonprofit Hub and our fearless group of volunteers. Nonprofit Hub is an educational resource that’s dedicated to giving nonprofit professionals everything they need to spark more change and better their organizations. We do this day-in, day-out through written articles, podcasts, webinars, online courses and, of course, Cause Camp.”

Conference website >



  • Dates: March 31–April 2, 2019
  • Location: San Antonio (Henry B. González Convention Center)
  • Cost: $599-$1,149
  • Size: 4,000

AFP ICON bills itself as the largest conference in the world for fundraising professionals. With an obvious focus on fundraising, this may not be the conference for nonprofit professionals who only deal with, say, media relations. But most marketing and public relations staff at nonprofit organizations have to wear many hats. Even more often, fundraising folks are expected to also be communications directors. The direct connection between marketing and fundraising is clear, and so is this conference’s bottom line (to improve your organization’s fundraising chops).

If large crowds aren’t for you, you might think twice about this conference as they bring in 4,000 attendees. (The exhibitor booth area is ginormous.)

Conference website >


Engage For Good

  • Dates: May 29-30, 2019
  • Location: Chicago (Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel)
  • Cost: $395 – $1,145
  • Size: 300
  • Presented by: Cause Marketing Forum

Formerly called the Cause Marketing Forum, this conference takes place in Chicago every year. It is a for-profit conference (not presented by a nonprofit association). You can learn more about Engage for Good here.

Attendees at the conference are a split between nonprofits (some looking for cause marketing corporate partners and others there to showcase their programs) and corporate professionals representing some pretty major brands. Think of it as a dating service to match causes and corporations (in hopefully win-win partnerships).

In addition to the cause marketing partnership focus of the event, many of the individual workshops themselves will offer some fresh ideas for marketing and fundraising. This conference tends to sell out year after year even though it is always in the same city, so that must say something about its quality. (This year, they have moved to a larger venue.)

Conference website >


AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference

  • Dates: Summer 2019 (TBA – usually in July)
  • Where: Washington, D.C. (Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown)
  • Cost: $550-$850  (depending on timing and membership)
  • Size: 250
  • Presented by: AMA (American Marketing Association)

UPDATE: AMA has announced they will not be holding this conference in 2019 and will be “rethinking” the conference based on attendee feedback. See statement here.

According to the conference’s website, the AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference will teach attendees how to reach a bigger audience on a smaller budget, and transform their marketing dollars into maximum impact. AMA stands for the American Marketing Association, which has conferences focused on different “industries” – this one targeting nonprofit organizations. This means, that every workshop and speaker is centered on not only marketing, but specifically on nonprofit marketing (there are very few conferences that do that).

The conference is designed to help organizations become “greater than you thought possible.” It will help attendees: “Gain insight and expertise from some of the top minds in the nonprofit community. Learn the latest best practices and technologies that can make the most effective use of your time and money. This is the community that shares your passion.”

This conference is always held in Washington, DC (during the hottest time of the year).

Conference website >


Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

  • Dates: Oct. 28-30, 2019
  • Location: San Diego (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
  • Cost: $695-$1,195
  • Size: 700
  • Presented by: Unclear

According to the conference’s website, the event will provide the opportunity to “discover how you can use better storytelling to raise more money, more easily” and “learn how to craft and tell better stories.” The workshops fall into three main categories:

  1. Fundraising
  2. Leadership
  3. Communications

It is not clear from the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference website who presents this conference, but the site is copyrighted by 501 Videos LLC, which is a company that provides video services to nonprofit organizations.

Conference website >



  • Dates: Nov. 13–15, 2019
  • Where: Chicago, IL (Hilton Chicago)
  • Cost: $0–$1,450 (some scholarships available)
  • Size: 1,400
  • Presented by: Independent Sector

(This conference is still in the planning stages and this article will be updated as new details are available.)

Stating that it is “a community and not a conference,” Independent Sector has fresh take on conferences for nonprofit professionals (even calling attendees “changemakers”).

While it isn’t specifically just marketing focused, Upswell 2018 did offer some relevant topics (see a PDF of this past program). The energy that is packed into this conference will also do well to light a fresh fire under your organizations communications initiatives.

According to its website, “Upswell is an immersive, high-energy forum for turning ideas into action. It’s where you can forge new partnerships, address big challenges, exchange lessons learned, and explore best practices for advancing your mission.”

Upswell is the only national conference of its kind because it is presented by Independent Sector—the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good. Both the National Council of Nonprofits and the Society for Nonprofits stopped presenting conferences years ago.

This is the second “Upswell” conference from Independent Sector. The one in 2018 was held in Los Angeles. Independent Sector is based in Washington, D.C.

Conference website >


To find a helpful workshop or conference close to you, be sure to connect with your state’s nonprofit association. You can find your nonprofit association, via the National Council of Nonprofits. Most of them have excellent events and educational opportunities.