A Guide to bbcon 2021 Virtual for Arts & Cultural Organizations

bbcon 2021 Virtual, happening October 13–15, will bring together thousands of arts & cultural professionals from zoos, museums, aquaria, performing arts organizations, gardens, and beyond for three days of cutting-edge thought leadership, virtual peer networking and unforgettable experiences. There will be opportunities to collaborate with peers from across the country and the world, including those who work in development, membership, finance, marketing, and more. You don’t want to miss it!

While we encourage you to choose from the hundreds of sessions available, here are the ones we’ve specifically designed for arts and cultural organizations and what you can expect to learn.

Highlighted bbcon Sessions for Arts & Cultural Professionals

To learn about the future of arts & culture…

  • Aubrey Bergauer, CEO of Changing the Narrative, will deliver our Super Session this year on how to run your arts & cultural organization like a for-profit business. Aubrey is known for her results-driven, customer-centric, data-obsessed pursuit of changing the narrative for symphony orchestras and other arts organizations. As Executive Director of the California Symphony she propelled the organization to double the size of its audience and nearly quadruple the donor base. Aubrey will draw on the volumes of data from the for-profit sector to demonstrate how to achieve success across customer engagement, technology and media, and brand relevance at your arts organization.
  • Dan Sullivan, Head of Growth & Partnerships at Cuseum, will host a panel discussion with Adrian Hill at Chicago Children’s Museum, Amanda Tadajewski at Tellus Science Museum, and Elizabeth Bowers at Anne Springs Close Greenway to discuss the future of virtual membership. Virtual memberships have taken a variety of different forms, including new digital benefits, virtual member events, and even full-fledged virtual membership levels. With the accelerated shift to digital in motion, the Cuseum team assembled a first-of-its-kind report, featuring data and insights from 100+ membership professionals on their top digital priorities to move membership into the digital era. Inspired by this novel report, this panel will explore modes of virtual membership and digital priorities in-depth.

To learn about fundraising and marketing best practices…

  • Emily Wisniewski, Development Manager at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, will present a deep dive into the building blocks of a successful year-end campaign. Drawing on her experience managing the Center’s Annual Campaign, Emily will teach you how to establish your brand, find your target audience, create unique communications, and execute your touch points to create a campaign that stands out and brings dollars in.

To learn how to optimize your database…

  • Breanne Leach, Database Administrator and Emily Ferguson, Membership Manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum will share tips and tricks for creating a culture in your institution that values your database as your system of record. Using examples from their own institution, such as bringing a new department into the fold using Blackbaud Altru and building out their integration with Mailchimp through Omatic, you’ll learn the benefits of focusing on the big picture goal.
  • Shannon Knight of Knight Analysis & Solutions is an independent consultant who specializes in supporting arts & cultural organizations that use Blackbaud’s Altru for their fundraising and constituent management needs. She will present on what you can do to clean up your data before migrating to Blackbaud Altru, what can wait until after migration so you can take advantage of the solution’s functionality for your cleanup, and what some of the ongoing cleanup tasks are that you’ll always have to deal with.
  • Devendra Shrikhande, Principal Business Consultant at Blackbaud and Altru expert will review how to plan, engage, and monitor automated processes across a variety of department operations. Whether a Blackbaud Altru rookie or veteran, you will find useful tips and techniques to launch from this session!

Getting Organized for bbcon 2021 Virtual

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 & 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 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 bbcon 2021 Virtual and we’ll see you there!