Staff Conference/Events Reports

Part of the effort to encourage our staff having continued education, they will be attending one-two educational conferences per year. Below are the reports and notes from these conferences.


2019 PSF Staff Retreat

The staff spent 3 days in the Palm Springs, CA area for our first ever staff retreat. The first day we got to know the place we stayed at and did grocery shopping for our trip to Joshua Park. The second day we planned a trip to Joshua Tree. This was a great team building experience because we worked on planning an experience that was enjoyable for the entire group. The third day we did a pampering day and then drove into town for a nice meal. Throughout the three days we did a "museum of me" exercise. This involved everyone showing/telling 11 things (each) that would be in the museum of them :) Some made us laugh, some made us teary-eyed, and all made us learn more about one another. By the end of the trip it seemed like everything we said was pretty much an inside joke, which was nice to have us all laughing together. The place we stayed at told our group on the last day that we were the kindest group they have ever had. Overall it was a great bonding experience.

AICPA Not For Profit Conference

Location: Washington, DC

Dates: June 10-12, 2019

PSF Staff Present: Phyllis Dobbs, Joe Carey, Laura Graves

This is an annual conference hosted by the American Insitute of Certified Public Accountants. The conference focused on accounting, tax, audit, legal, and other specialized matters for not for profit organizations and is geared to accounting staff. Detailed listing of sessions.

Phyllis reviewed the schedule, which included sessions at higher levels to those that are extremely specific or technical, and suggested that each of the accounting staff attend certain sessions that best relate to their area of responsibility with the PSF. Laura, for example, went to several sessions about introductions to non-profit accounting, auditing, expense management, and documentation, whereas Joe focused on on non-profit revenue topics including grants and contributions, charitable solicitations and state-by-state registration. Phyllis focused on sessions related to 990 preparation, internal controls, financial sustainability and reservies, and audit issues. All three staff went to sessions regarding recent or upcoming accounting regulation changes, sales tax issues in light of the 2018 Supreme Court ruling. Detailed notes and follow-ups from sessions.


Professional Management Convention Association, Convening Leaders

Location: Austin, TX

Dates: Jan 8-11, 2017

PSF Staff Present: Ewa Jodlowska, Betsy Waliszewski

Report from Ewa Jodlowska

This is a yearly conference that I have been going to to keep up with meeting planning trends and best practices. This year was the first time for Betsy. For me, the biggest advantage to being at conference was to spend time with Betsy. During that time, we discussed Betsy's evaluation, goals for 2017, and where she would like to take sponsorship. We also spent some time visiting the city and had lots of fun. We have decided that we will most likely not attend this conference in the future. I am going to look for a non-profit focused conference for all of us to attend to replace it. Betsy will continue to go to the June Professional Management Convention Association conference if she thinks that the sessions are worth her while.

Here is our schedule at a glance:

Here are my notes from the sessions I attended:

Report from Betsy Waliszewski

I have attended other PCMA events, but this was my first time at Convening Leaders. The sessions I attended were useful and I'm glad I attended. As Ewa mentioned, I won't attend this particular conference in the future. It was great spending time with Ewa in person and being able to discuss my goals for 2017. I was also able to plan meetings for Ewa and me to meet with the contacts for the 5 cities we're considering for PyCon 2020-21. It's so important to develop personal relationships in the event business, and I was able to do that in Austin.

I'm so grateful to Ewa and the board for allowing me the time for professional development. I will do my best to use what I've learned for the benefit of the PSF.

Here are my notes from the sessions I attended:


CiviCRM Summit

Location: Washington, DC

Dates: September 21-24, 2016

PSF Staff Present: Ewa Jodlowska, Kurt B. Kaiser, Mark Mangoba

Report from Ewa Jodlowska

The CiviCRM Summit was a worth while conference for us to attend. We were able to see what the new version of CiviCRM has to offer and see if it can be applied to any of the processes we already do and/or want to do. Below are my notes from the training and conference:

Mark Mangoba

I attended the 1.5-day User and Administrator training at the CiviCRM summit. Some key topics at the training included, Installation and Configuration. I learned that Drupal is the preferred content management system due to its relationship with CiviCRM. Although, there are alternative options such as Wordpress and Joomla, Drupal holistically has integrations without plugins into CiviCRM. I also became more familiar with extending CiviCRM using profiles to create forms. Ewa and I foresee using profiles and forms for grant tracking and keep track of sponsorships. The CiviCRM trainers also gave us support resources, such as accessing the wiki, downloads page and learning how to contribute to bugs/issues through Jira.

Kurt B. Kaiser

As detailed above, the Training not only provided a useful introduction to CiviCRM, but suggested a number of best practices. In my case, through some hands-on training, it exposed me to several Civi modules that we are not currently using. We also went through report generation and database import procedures. Sidebar discussion with the session leaders was useful, and covered

The Summit offered a number of sessions on topics of direct interest to the PSF. In particular, how to avoid getting our mail designated as spam if we should increase the volume beyond what we are currently processing. It may be advisable to switch the Civi website from to so our SPF, DKIM, and DMARC email header fields are consistent with the domain we are using as our outgoing email addresses, e.g. .

We also took advantage of the Washington DC location to make contact with our SunTrust representative and process new signature cards for our account and to enroll in a more capable online banking environment and online wire transfer. Ewa and I also visited a Bank of America branch and updated the signature card for our account there.

In addition, attending the summit afforded an occasion for the three of us to get together face to face and work through a number of issues of interest to the PSF.

Staff Conference Reports (last edited 2020-01-30 18:20:45 by EwaJodlowska)

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