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Call for Session Proposals

Welcome to the 2020 AFP Call for Session Proposals


(1) Allow yourself the time (approximately 30-45 minutes) to complete the submission form.
(2) To save your proposal and edit later,  you must select the "Save and Edit Later" option before exiting the portal.
(3) You must complete all edits to your saved proposal by April 22, 2019 at 11:59 PM (PT).
(4) To finalize your proposal submission to be reviewed by the ICON Education Advisory Committee, you must select the "Submit" option before exiting the portal.
(5) The Call for Session Proposal submission portal, will close on April 22, 2019 at 11:59 PM (PT).


Thank you for your interest in submitting a session proposal for the AFP ICON 2020 conference, to be held March 29-31, 2020, in Baltimore, MD. The AFP ICON conference is the world's largest gathering for professional fundraisers, offering the best in educational and networking opportunities. We will accept proposals for pre-conference workshops and education sessions including the Rebels, Renegades and Pioneers Track.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to share your expertise with our network of fundraising professionals, and the time devoted to submitting a session proposal.

**Please review carefully the information in this document before submitting your proposal.**

Click link to view sample PDF version of the proposal form. This is for informational purposes only. In order to be reviewed, ALL proposals must be submitted via the online proposal portal.

AFP SESSION TRACKS (These tracks correspond to the fundraising knowledge domains.)

Current and Prospective Donor Research (which includes: Donor Acquisition, Donor Retention, Donor Giving Patterns, Data Analysis Techniques, Data Gathering Techniques, and Data Management System)

Securing the Gift (which includes: Direct Mail, Case Statement, Gift Agreements, Proposal Writings, Special Events, Social Media, Sponsorships, Annual Giving, Capital Campaigns, Bequests, and Major Gifts)

Relationship Building (which includes: Cultivation and Stewardship, Communications, Incentives, Culture of Philanthropy, and External Spheres of Influence)

Volunteer Involvement (which includes: Recruitment, Governance Principles and Models, Skills Training, Value of Diversity and Community Representation, Board/Staff Roles in Governance and Management, and Organizational Culture)

Leadership and Management (which includes: Strategic Planning, Fundraising Plan, Financial Management, Marketing and Public Relations Principles, Human Resource Management, and Effective Leadership)

Ethics, Accountability and Professionalism (which includes: Accountability and Ethics, Advocacy and Public Policy, Accounting and Investment Principles, Transparency, and Continuing Professional Development Opportunities)

Rebels, Renegades and Pioneers (Topics that challenge the status quo; are "radical" and controversial; ask cage-rattling questions; address things that are radically impacting or changing the sector; and/or address a current issue. To learn more click here.


Proposals are selected by AFP staff based on recommendations from the ICON Education Advisory Committee (“Committee”), a team of volunteers that represents the diversity of AFP’s international membership.

The Committee meets 2-3 times per year, including a required in-person meeting each June, to review and recommend proposals to be included in the ICON conference program. The following criteria are among those taken into consideration:

• Current relevance to the profession and contribution to the conference program in terms of topic, sector, and experience level
• Evidence of innovative thinking and fresh insights (Note: AFP has removed Trends and Innovations as a conference session track, and encourage the integration of new practices, technologies, and big ideas across all tracks.)
• Research-based content (where appropriate or relevant)
• Knowledge and expertise of speaker
• Previous speaking experience and session ratings
• Inclusion of adult learning principles including interactivity/engagement with session attendees. To learn more
click here.
• Diversity of speaker background, experiences, perspective, and ideas
• Demonstrated thought leadership in the field

AFP will notify you of the status of your proposal by August 31, 2019. Note: Each year AFP receives more proposals than can be accommodated in the ICON schedule. For the 2019 AFP ICON in San Antonio, AFP received 474 proposals and accepted 70 sessions for an acceptance rate of 15%. Having a proposal turned down may not constitute a judgment on its quality. There are a variety of other factors that are considered in selecting sessions including but not limited to: number of other sessions on same topic, expected level of interest by attendees, gaps in sessions related to fundraising knowledge domains, and hot topics impacting/influencing the profession and/or the sector at the time.

After notifications are sent, AFP will provide reviewer feedback on proposal submissions to the lead speaker (the lead speaker is the individual that submitted a proposal).


Please note the following guidelines:

1) Proposal Submission Method and Deadline -- Proposals must be submitted online, by clicking on the "Start" button below. 
The call for conference session proposals portal will close Monday, April 22, 2019 at 11:59 PM (PT).  

2) Eligibility to Submit Proposals --
• AFP welcomes proposals from members and non-members.
• AFP encourages both new and experienced speakers to submit a proposal, including those speakers who can provide diverse perspectives.
• AFP welcomes proposals from international speakers to highlight the innovative and impactful work occurring in philanthropy around the world.
• Potential speakers must disclose any affiliations with for-profit organizations, and if selected are expected to speak as private individuals and not representatives of the organization. To present a session on behalf of a for-profit organization, potential speakers should contact AFP Professional Development Department at, to inquire about sponsored sessions.
• Members of the current ICON Education Advisory Committee are not eligible to submit proposals while serving. However, AFP reserves the right to select Committee members to speak in order to fill gaps in programming, as needed.
• Speakers may submit up to two (2) proposals for consideration (as lead speaker or co-speaker).
• Speakers may propose up to four (4) co-speakers in addition to the lead speaker as part of the session proposal.
• Consultants are encouraged to include practitioner(s) as speakers in their proposed session(s).

3) Speaker Profiles – All speakers must provide a professional biography (75-word limit) along with a headshot in the proposal. For proposals with more than one speaker, a lead speaker should be identified as the primary contact. Note that any changes to proposed speakers or the session itself must be vetted by the Committee and approved by AFP staff.

4) Session Day and Time – Sessions are scheduled throughout the conference and speakers cannot be given a preference or choice regarding their day and time slot. Sessions will be scheduled during the following times:

· Friday, March 27, 2020: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Pre-Conference Workshops only)

· Saturday, March 28, 2020: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Pre-Conference Workshops only)

· Sunday, March 29, 2020: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Education Sessions only)

· Monday, March 30, 2020: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Education Sessions only)

· Tuesday, March 31, 2020: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM (Education Sessions only)


5) Session Format AFP encourages different session formats and styles to share information and engage attendees (not the traditional podium and PowerPoint presentations). Interactivity is key!!

6) Session Technology – AFP provides a laptop, LCD projector, screen, and microphone in every session room; availability of Internet connections will vary by conference site. All education sessions (except pre-conference workshops) will be audio-recorded.

7) Session Slides & Handouts – Speakers must use the approved AFP template for session presentation slides. Speakers are required to submit power point slides and session handouts in advance of the conference, so that attendees can view and print ahead of time. AFP does not enable onsite copying or other distribution.

8) Complimentary Registration (Limited to 4 speakers per session) -- Conference sessions are generally considered contributions to the profession. Speakers who abide by all obligations and deadlines will receive complimentary registration for the day of their session, and will have the option to register at a discounted rate for the full-conference.

9) Additional Guidelines – All speakers must abide by the Speaker Policy and Guidelines, and electronically agree to the Speaker Policy via the Speaker Service Center (SSC).

• By participating in the conference, speakers agree that their session(s) may be recorded and/or streamed and sold by AFP, with no monetary benefit or revenue share accruing to the speaker.
• Speakers may not promote their organization, products or services as part of their presentations. Sessions and session content—including sponsored sessions—must be of an educational nature only.
• Book authors may use and reference their books during sessions, but may not sell anything. Any author wishing to make direct sales must rent exhibit space.
AFP is unable to cover travel expenses or provide financial compensation to speakers beyond the complimentary registration for day of session or the discounted speaker registration for full conference
• If content being presented is not original, it is the sole responsibility of the speaker to get permission from the owner to present at AFP ICON.


© 2019

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