Annual Conference Call for Sessions - Exponent Philanthropy

Annual Conference Call for Sessions

Call For Sessions

Exponent Philanthropy members and constituents design a portion of the 2022 Annual Conference, and we invite you to submit your session ideas.

Session Topics

Conference sessions will highlight catalytic and equity-centered practices again this year, as well as the fundamentals of foundation management.

For more on these topics, see our resources: 

     We are specifically requesting sessions that center on the following: 


    • Fostering equity (racial, gender, disability, and/or sexuality) in your grantmaking   
    • Streamlining grantmaking processes to reduce the burden on grantees  
    • Strengthening organizations through general operating support and capacity building  
    • Supporting leaders of color and small, dynamic grassroots organizations  
    • Engaging grantees and members of the community in decision making  
    • Providing seed funding for start-up nonprofit organizations or social entrepreneurs  
    • Supporting and nurturing talent, leadership and potential with grantees and community members  
    • Funding and disseminating research for policy change  
    • Funding organizations engaged in advocacy  
    • Supporting community organizing or movement building 

    Going Beyond Grants 

    • Leveraging powerful assets like knowledge, connections, reputation and more to take on challenging issues and problems  
    • Convening grantees, community members and local leaders from all sectors  
    • Mobilizing diverse partners around an issue to develop action plans, coordinate efforts, and build collective will  
    • Leveraging your relationships to serve as a community broker and matchmaker  
    • Promoting civic education, participation, and voter engagement  
    • Speaking out to call attention to urgent issues  

    Learning About Your Community and Investing in Relationships 

    • Inviting conversations and nurturing relationships with grantees and community members  
    • Listening to and understanding your community and the history and ecosystem of your issue areas 
    • Respecting and relying on the experience and wisdom of grantees and community members  
    • Understanding gaps and needs, and leveraging points for change  

    Governance & Leadership 

    • Fostering equity (racial, gender, disability, and/or sexuality) within your board, staff and operations 
    • Developing a common understanding with board and staff on what you want to accomplish  
    • Focusing a significant part of your work on one or two issues  
    • Committing to long term goals that can take multiple years or even decades 
    • Seeking out ways to collaborate with other funders in diverse ways  
    • Investing in professional development for board and/or staff 

    Foundation Management Fundamentals 

    • Understanding foundation legal requirements 
    • Understanding foundation tax requirements 
    • Understanding & addressing accounting needs (including 990PF) 
    • Managing investment assets and advisors 
    • Understanding the basics of board governance (including but not limited to succession planning, strategic planning, bringing on new members, board self-assessment)  
    • Understanding the basics of foundation administration (including but not limited to hiring & managing staff, recordkeeping, communications) 
    • Addressing IT and cybersecurity needs 

    Conference Session Details 

    • Audience: Our audience includes donors, trustees and staff from all types of foundations—individual donors and philanthropic families; donor advised fund holders and managers; philanthropic support organizations; philanthropic service professionals; and thought leaders in the field of philanthropy. 
    • Numbers: Breakout sessions can see participant numbers ranging from 35-50 on the lower end to 75-90 on the higher end.   
    • Length: Most sessions are 75 minutes. We’re also planning for a small number of short-form storytelling sessions as well as longer deep-dive workshops. Exponent Philanthropy will confirm your session’s length at the time of acceptance.   
    • Room set-up: Given hotel space and health and safety protocols, session designers will not have discretion over the set-up of session rooms. 

    Submission Requirements 

    1. Who: This call for sessions is open to member and non-member funders, as well as current Exponent Philanthropy sustaining partners (Platinum, Gold, Silver or Provisional) and sponsors.  
    2. How many: Organizations or individuals may submit a maximum of two proposals. All proposals submitted by different individuals from the same organization count toward the limit. 
    3. Deadline: March 15. There are no deadline extensions. Late submissions cannot be accepted.  
    4. Designer ownership: There are no session designer transfers. This means the person who submits the session must be the person who works with Exponent Philanthropy staff throughout the 6-month session design process. If the designer transfers or delegates the work, Exponent Philanthropy reserves the right to disqualify the session.  

          Evaluation Criteria  

          We are seeking sessions that achieve the following: 

          1. Addresses one of the indicated topic areas above. 
          2. Provides participants with practical guidance and take-aways. 
          3. Improves an existing practice or mindset, explores a new or emerging practice or mindset, OR offers a unique perspective on a trend in philanthropy. 

          Exponent Philanthropy’s Programs & Services Committee (along with key staff and additional ad hoc members) will review all submissions and select those that are most relevant to our audience and meet at least one of the above criteria. The committee will review all session proposals name blind—i.e., solely on the strength of the proposal in meeting the criteria.  

          Expectations for Session Designers 

          Proposal submitters are asked to keep the conference dates (October 10-12) available until they’re notified of the status of their proposal. Session designers who do not adhere to the expectations below may have their sessions removed from the conference program at the discretion of Exponent Philanthropy staff.  

          Please note, session designers will not receive free or discounted access to the full conference. Speakers may attend at no cost only on the day they are speaking.   

          If selected for a session, designers must agree to: 

          • Participate in a session design webinar training to review deadlines, key steps in the process, and Exponent Philanthropy’s educational philosophy. 
          • Complete all session planning tasks and meet all deadlines.  
          • Participate in a speaker webinar, if speaking.   
          • Work with a session coach (an Exponent Philanthropy staff member) to design and execute the session. This means being willing and open to adapt the session to fit the criteria.  
          • Incur all expenses related to the development and implementation of their sessions. Exponent Philanthropy does not pay honoraria, travel, per diem, or other costs for session speakers or designers.   
          • Be present at the conference and serve as a point person in the session (if not speaking) by introducing the session and assisting with technology and handout distribution.   
          • Comply with Exponent Philanthropy’s Non-Solicitation Policy: All Exponent Philanthropy programs are non-solicitation environments and shall not be used for commercial sales pitches, self-promotion, or unwarranted criticism of a competitor. Exponent Philanthropy reserves the right to take action as necessary to address violations of this policy. 

          Session Planning Key Dates & Deadlines

          February 8 Call For Sessions Opens
          March 15 Call For Sessions Closes
          Early May Proposal submitters notified of decisions
          July 1 Session titles, descriptions, learning objectives, speakers, and speaker
          information due to Exponent Philanthropy
          August 12 Final session resources, AV requests due to Exponent Philanthropy
          October 10-12 2022 Annual Conference

          Preview Proposal Application Form

          Submit your Session Proposal Now