According to Craig Haubrich, a contributor to npEngage, conferences are unavoidable for nonprofits, but getting through them, whether you're a presenter or an attendee can be a breeze by following a few guidelines and using some tech tools.
Haubrich recommends assigning sessions to colleagues if more than a few are attending the conference. Multiple sessions are typically happening at the same time, and the best way to get the most out of a conference is to split up from your work friends and attend the sessions important to your job. Stay connected with with your colleagues throughout if you bring your laptop. Shared notes can help your nonprofit cover more topics at the end of the day.
Don't rush out the door
Never be afraid to ask a question. Some people feel more comfortable waiting until after the presentation is over to approach the presenter and begin a discussion. Haubrich recommends hanging around to hear some of the in-dept conversations that can occur. In fact, bring a recording device (if they are allowed), to record a speaker's presentation for your own reference later--sticking around for the questions at the end can also be a good thing to capture digitally.
Save a tree
Rather than collecting a ton of brochures, which will only end up in the trash, make a note of the exhibitors that interested you and look them up online later. Now, many conferences are hosted via webinars as well, allowing attendees to tune in from their office or from home.
Report back to the boss
It might be hard to convince your supervisor of the conference's value, so make sure you come to him or her prepared with a plan, including the sessions you plan to attend, the value you think the information will have, how you would like to use the information at your nonprofit, and offer to report your findings at the next office meeting. If your office is using the cloud, take advantage of the filesharing feature by taking notes in the cloud.