It’s been a couple weeks now since I returned home from my trip to San Antonio, Texas to attend the Grants Managers Network (GMN) Conference. I’ve been attending these conferences for a couple of years now and always leave motivated to apply some of what I learned back at our foundation. In fact, it was at a GMN conference years ago that I first learned about online grant application products and was introduced to Foundant.
On Tuesday night of the conference, Daren Nordhagen (President) and Kris Thorsen (Client Services) of Foundant hosted a dinner for current and potential clients at Acenar on the Riverwalk. Over margaritas, guacamole and fajitas we shared product stories and had an opportunity to ask Foundant staff questions. It was a fun evening and a nice break from conference events. I left thankful for the opportunity to connect with fellow Foundant users and grant managers and learn more about upcoming Foundant events.
The GMN Conference is geared towards foundation staff who work with day to day grant process and are looking for ways to improve their systems. There is a good mix of theoretical and practical learning that goes on here. Session topics this year included nonprofit lifecycles, storytelling with data, preparing for an audit, cloud computing, building less burdensome applications, outcome reporting, grants management manuals, online board books, and international grantmaking. The conference is also a great opportunity to connect with others who are working in the field. There are usually several planned networking opportunities such an opening night reception, dinearounds, and roundtable discussions. If you work in a grants administration role regardless of the size of your foundation, I would strongly encourage you to look into learning more about Grants Managers Network (www.gmnetwork.org) and consider attending a conference in the future. Next year the conference will be March 18-20, 2012 in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida (my neck of the woods).