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When the 2012 Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations Went Digital

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By Mark Foley, Reprinted with permission of the Foundation Center

The explosion of social media is having a multiplier effect on the reach of the traditional annual conference. Long gone are the days when only those lucky enough to travel to the host city were able to attend a few sessions, network with peers, and grab as many handouts as possible to share with the folks back home.

With today’s social media, everyone in attendance can be a virtual fly on the wall, able to connect with everyone on the outside—in real-time—via text, audio and video. A new window—transparency—is coming of age, bringing with it the potential for increased participation…

As a case in point, take the 2012 Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations that concluded in Los Angeles in May. Here are some of the topics of discussion that have emerged which you can explore, or even add to the dialogue:

•     Challenges and Opportunities for Foundations Communicating in a Digital Age

•     Do IRS Nonprofit Media Rules Need a Digital-Age Update?

•     The Power of Storytelling

A rich media archive of tweets, blogs, recordings, and images is now available, opening up new possibilities for more and more people to learn and interact than ever before. As one of two Strategic Partners for the 2012 conference, The James Irvine Foundation asked three of its grantees who participated in panel discussions to share some of their thoughts. It’s yet another example of our world becoming ever more transparent, with multiple points of entry.

(To be followed by Timely Tweets: Real Time Marketing in the Fundraising Industry, by Ethan Fenton.)

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