Why we launched ADVANCE, a conference on smarter impact for nonprofit professionals

In 2015, my company began publishing a second brand: Generocity.org, which aimed to offer beat reporting on nonprofit and mission work in local communities, starting in Philadelphia.

We’ve learned plenty. Last week we hosted ADVANCE, a pilot one-day conference for Generocity’s audience of nonprofit professionals. The aim was to feature case studies and concepts that would help the 100 attendees advance their mission careers. Our keynote was Kickstarter cofounder and former CEO Yancey Strickler, who has a new book on a more just economy.

I helped introduce the day by setting up what our reporting has taught us about our audience, and this growing community of future-thinking impact leaders. Though a modest start, I think it’s important we piloted this conference.

I believe any news organization, especially niche ones, ought to have a good, targeted conference of their own. These can, in fact, be revenue generators, but I also think it’s important to convene your audience. For Generocity, it was time to develop our own space. ADVANCE is the beginning of that.

In my slides, I pulled from our best-performing stories from the last year and shared these lessons I think we know about our audience:

  1. You are looking for a new generation of leaders with lived experience.
  2. You seek help developing cultural competency amid a fast-changing world.
  3. You’re in touch with the importance of wellness to allow your impact to last.
  4. You follow the careers of others you admire and look to share and gain insight for your development.
  5. You look for solutions- focused storytelling that offers lessons for your own work.

This is the community that will make Philadelphia more dynamic, equitable and just.

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