Road Trip To Reality, Bringing The PAC Conference Home

Road Trip To Reality, Bringing The PAC Conference Home

Several weeks ago, a few hundred PAC professionals from all over the nation converged in Orlando Florida.   This meeting didn’t take place by accident; it was the largest, most informative annual gathering of the PAC world (The Public Affairs Council National PAC Conference).  The 2015 National PAC Conference provided practitioners and consultants alike the benefit of sharing knowledge, networking and identifying best practices and innovative ideas that we can all take forward when we head back to the reality of our daily jobs.

The challenge is to maintain the energy you feel at the conference and act on those two or three things you have learned when you return home.  For example, here are three things conference-goers told me they learned:  1) planning is critical, 2) you have to embrace the mobile world and 3) you always need to be looking in the mirror!  So now that we’re back in the daily grind, let’s re-examine these three points, stay engaged with each other, and use the conference as a launching point.

At this year’s conference, three sessions stuck out in the minds of many other people I spoke with while in Florida. First, “When a Plan Comes Together: Fundraising Campaigns that Work,” spoke directly to our mantra that planning is critical for any fundraising and engagement program.  Clark Princell with AANP PAC shared the experience and success of the Nurse Practitioners PAC as a direct result of setting a course and following it.  Second, the session entitled, “Time for a Tune-Up: Auditing and Assessing Your PAC,” underscored the importance of assessing the efforts and assets of your PAC program.

Even the most successful PACs need to take a step back from time to time, and it’s no surprise why some of the strongest PACs in America are looking under their hood on an annual basis.   Finally, we’re all depending on and communicating via our mobile devices more and more.  During the “Going Mobile: Incorporating New Technology into Your PAC,” we learned the importance of mobile technology in engaging audiences from customers to PAC eligibles and stakeholders.  PAC programs are embracing mobile technology more and more and we learned how it’s paying dividends.

Those sessions, along with the overall networking opportunities and one-on-one conversations at the conference, allowed many of us to dive into the issues that we face as PAC professionals and see that other PACs face the same challenges and have found ways to overcome them.  We were able to share our own experiences and help colleagues from other organizations with their challenges.

The opportunity I see ahead of us is maintaining the energy and productivity of thought coming out of the National PAC Conference.  We all have the ideas in our heads, challenges to overcome and opportunities to seize– but often it can be tough to follow through on what we learned in February, when we are just trying to get our job done every day.  Before we know it, the first quarter has come to a close and we’re still holding ideas!

If you are like me, then you will want to carry the value of the conference forward and bring your learnings and new ideas into practice for your own program.  We’ve already started to move forward on a number of fronts directly related to learnings from this year’s conference.  If you are interested in discussing these ideas and putting them in motion for your PAC engagement and fundraising program, we are here to help – and to connect you with other industry colleagues who are doing the same.  As Pablo Picasso said, “What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”

Lawrence Young is the Vice President of PAC Programs at 720 Strategies. He can be reached at (202) 715-3901 or [email protected]

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