A Guide to bbcon 2020 for Arts & Cultural Organizations

Though we’re disappointed to not be exploring Seattle with all of our awesome Arts and Cultural friends, we are super excited for our first-ever virtual bbcon 2020! Next week’s content will bring up new ideas, new faces, and fresh inspiration to take back to your organization. This year’s event will be global and free for all attendees, so there’s no excuse not to jump in!

Arts and Cultural will have thousands of professionals represented from organizations ranging from zoos to museums, performing arts organizations to libraries, and beyond! There will be opportunity to (virtually) collaborate with peers from across the country and the world including those who work in development, membership, finance, marketing, and more.

Keep reading for a few highlights of this year’s schedule as well as tips and tricks to help you make this your best bbcon yet! Please note that there are over 100 sessions, but this guide focuses just on those that are super specific to arts and cultural organizations.

bbcon 2020 Virtual Schedule at a Glance

bbcon Day 1: Tuesday, October 6

The conference officially kicks off with an opening keynote address. This year we have actress, director, producer, bestselling author, and humanitarian, Amy Poehler, joining us on the virtual mainstage (don’t worry, library folks)! Amy is one of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after talents with credits including that of actress, writer, director, producer, and bestselling author. Within and beyond her expansive creative roles, Amy underscores the values of individualism and kindness, serving as an ambassador for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and playing an active role in women’s issues.

Following the opening keynote, we break into our Super Sessions. For the Arts and Cultural Super Session, Colleen Dilenschneider, Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS Experience, joins us for the second year in a row. She’s presenting brand new data to help discern how we should be responding to today’s environment and what cultural organization superpowers can help build new strategies for success.

After Colleen’s presentation, you can take a quick break and then join Andrew Troup, Blackbaud Arts & Cultural Solutions’ Director of Product Management, to learn all about Blackbaud’s Cloud Solution for Arts and Cultural Organizations.

For the remainder of Tuesday, attendees can visit the Virtual Marketplace as well as network with peers. To finish off the day, we’ll hear from Dara Torres, a mother, author, entrepreneur, and five-time Olympic veteran. Torres became the oldest swimmer to ever make the U.S. Olympic team at age 41 and continues to inspire everyone to go after their dreams regardless of their age.

bbcon Day 2: Wednesday, October 7

Wednesday will begin and end with words from inspirational speakers like Marc Brackett, Ph.D., author of Permission to FeelDr. Cornel West, professor, philosopher, author, and activist, Justin Dillon, award-winning entrepreneur, author, and founder/CEO of FRDM, and Alice L. Ferris, fundraising leadership expert and founder of GoalBusters.

During the opening and closing keynotes we’ll also hear from Blackbaud leaders such as Chief Executive Officer Mike Gianoni, Chief Marketing Officer Catherine LaCour, and Chief Products Officer Kevin McDearis.

The Arts and Cultural specific breakout sessions on Wednesday include a session from industry thought-leader Aubrey Bergauer discussing how not to waste a crisis; a discussion between Blackbaud Solutions Engineer Jerusha Schmalzel and Nisa Mackie of The Walker Art Center about aligning programming and fundraising; and a technical deep-dive with Solutions Engineer Carly Meek on using OData in your Blackbaud Altru™ solution.

bbcon Day 3: Thursday, October 8

Thursday is a shorter day. It kicks off at 11:15 am ET, but make sure you tune in at 12 pm ET to watch a panel discussion with arts and cultural organizations discussing fundraising during these unprecedented times, moderated by Customer Success Manager Rosita Bradham. 2 pm ET will bring the closing main-stage keynote and conclusion of our first-ever virtual bbcon conference!

Getting Organized for Virtual bbcon 2020

With more than 100 breakout sessions across numerous competency areas and vertical markets, it can be challenging to prioritize sessions. Here are a few tricks to help narrow your options to the sessions that will be the most impactful for your work:

  • Picking your sessions: There are six “official” sessions included in the Arts and Cultural track, but you aren’t limited to only these six sessions! Our end goal is to provide a variety of presentations that pique your interest and leave you with actionable insight to take back to your organization.
  • Map out a session grid: I recommend that you ask yourself what do you want to get out of bbcon? This will help you pick your sessions. Do you want to hear about technology? Do you want to hear from peers? Deciding what’s valuable to your work versus what’s just interesting will help you narrow down your choices.
  • Be prepared: Make the most of your sessions by having any items you may need during a session within reach. These could include: a water bottle, your favorite caffeinated beverage, snacks, and a note pad to take notes!
  • Block time off on your calendar: Once you’ve determined which sessions you want to attend, reserve that time on your calendar. This will help mitigate possible conflicts and last-minute changes.
  • Embrace virtual networking: Throughout the conference there will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to network with peers and with Blackbaud staff. Remember, you can also schedule one-on-one time with attendees, speakers, and sponsors using the networking feature in the virtual platform.
  • Take advantage of the break times: Get up and stretch or take a short walk. Use that break time to refresh so you are ready for your next session.

This year may look different, but you can expect an exciting and thought-provoking conference! I hope you are as excited as we are for virtual bbcon 2020 and we’ll (virtually) see you there!