TIME OUT 2017 is now history! We had such a great time putting this conference together for you, and we hope you enjoyed the day. For those of you who could not attend, keep an eye on our blog as we’ll be sharing some of the learnings in the coming weeks.

As you can probably tell, we love a good conference here at PLC. Learning together with peers, experts and thought leaders in the nonprofit sector is a great way to enhance our skills, look at things with a fresh perspective and experience deep learning moments. Plus, it’s a ripe opportunity to network with other folks in our sector. The conference experience is exciting but once it’s all over, it can also be overwhelming!

What do I do with all of that new stuff I learned?

When should I contact that interesting new person I met?

What should I do with all of the notes I took?

When we’re not sure of the answers to these questions, sometimes we just let it all go. We’ve been out of the office for a day or two so when we return we just jump right back in to our day-to-day work.

Instead, if we take the following steps as soon as we can after a conference, we’ll reap greater benefits over the long term. We’re nonprofit folks so we’re familiar with lasting impact, right? 😉

1. Follow-up right away

Did you meet someone new? Did you reconnect with someone you’ve been meaning to speak with? Do it now! Send them an email or give them a call and arrange a chat over coffee. When we follow up soon after a conference the conversation we had will not only be fresh in our mind, but theirs as well. We also have the conference in common to talk about. Plus, it demonstrates that we’re a conscientious person who follows through.

2. Create a document of your notes

If we took notes during the conference it’s possible that if we go back to them after a month or two, they may not make as much sense to us then as they do now. If we didn’t take notes during the conference, now is the time to do so. Let’s document the ideas and strategies that we came away with. Today the context is still fresh and creating a neat and organized document, complemented by a little reflection, will ensure that the learnings are not only captured but remembered. And, it will help with number three…

3. Share the learning

Your organization may have only had the time and/or resources to send one or two people to a conference, but that doesn’t mean the whole organization can’t benefit! After you’ve compiled your notes, made a fresh document and reflected on the event, it’s time to take the key learnings back to the team. We could host a ‘Lunch & Learn’ where we can generate some discussions with our colleagues or even just share the document we created above (in number two) via email or our shared network.

4. Make a plan

How can we put what we learned into practice? It won’t just happen unless we make a plan for it to happen. Whether we have the power to implement organization-wide practices, or if there are smaller steps we can take in our own roles to animate some of the ideas, we can all begin to make positive changes  to the way we work. Determine the best route to take and write down the goals and the steps to get there.

5. Give Thanks

Conferences range from free to thousands of dollars. Whatever the cost, we were provided an opportunity to work on our professional development away from the office. Showing our appreciation to our supervisor, ED or Board is important. It also provides an opportunity to share some highlights so that they can experience some of the learnings too, plus see the benefits of the conference and professional development overall. Also, it doesn’t hurt to show gratitude if we want to attend more conferences in the future.

Do you have a post-conference routine? Could you add to the list above? Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time,


This week’s blog was written by Tina de los Santos. Tina brings a diverse mix of nonprofit and business leadership to her role at PLC. Throughout her career she has been passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that support and inspire people’s professional and personal growth. Tina is our chief knowledge sharer and enjoys digitally connecting with other leaders in Peel to help them find great resources and learning tools.

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