conf-tips - Nonprofit Storytelling Conference

A few things to keep in mind...

We’re a few short days away from the start of the 2017 Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in sunny San Diego, and we can’t wait to see you.

Whether this is your first time with us or fourth, you’re in for an amazing educational adventure. Our speakers are bringing you their best tools and tactics for storytelling success, and they are eager to meet you onstage and off.

A few things to keep in mind as you pack your bags for the conference:

What to Wear

  • We’re delighted to be in San Diego this year. You can expect weather in the mid to high 60’s, and we recommend bringing a light jacket for your evening walkabouts.
  • During the day, we encourage you to dress comfortably. Most attendees come in business casual, but if you show up in shorts and flip-flops you won’t be turned away. Conference rooms can get chilly, so consider bringing an extra layer with you to keep warm.

What to Bring

  • Let’s start with business cards. Bring plenty of those as you’re sure to meet a number of new colleagues to to connect with during and after the conference.
  • Consider bringing a reusable water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated so fill it up throughout the day.
  • Speaking of filling up, your smartphone may need a juice fix during the day. We recommend bringing a portable battery pack so you don’t have spend time searching for outlets or jockeying for sockets.
  • Back by popular demand, our bookstore is full of educational goodies. Don’t forget a credit card or cash to purchase some fabulous books written by our speakers. Many attendees can’t remember what books they already have so take a picture of your bookshelf. The bookstore will also have for extra surprises for you and your donors.

Also, here a few more tips to help you prepare for all the learning, sharing, and exploring you’ll do at the conference:


  • Early registration is open Wednesday night from 5 pm -7 pm in the Harbor Foyer at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. The foyer is located outside of the Harbor Ballroom on the second floor of the Harbor Tower.
  • Registration will resume in the same location at 7 am Thursday morning.
  • Unlike other conferences, most of our sessions are held together, but there are many breakout sessions to choose from as well. You’ll receive a program at registration that details each session and its room location.

Conference App

  • Double up on conference fun by hanging out in our official conference app.
  • You can download the free app by searching for “Whova” in your iPhone and Android app store.
  • Once downloaded, search for the “Nonprofit Storytelling Conference” and then follow the prompts to sign in. Your email is the one associated with your conference registration. If you sign up using a social media account, you may be prompted to enter an invitation code. That code is “nonaz”.
  • The app is a great tool to organize your conference agenda, connect with fellow attendees, and stay in the know with conference bulletin topics.


  • Join us for a continental breakfast with coffee and tea each morning in the Harbor Foyer. If you have more specific tastes, there is a coffee shop in the hotel lobby and a Starbucks a few blocks away at 789 West Harbor Drive.
  • Coffee and tea will be available all day along with other beverage choices in the afternoon. Snacks will also be available during our first afternoon break too.
  • Also, you asked, and we listened. The most consistent feedback from past alumni is to provide more time to meaningfully connect with fellow attendees, StoryLab coaches, and exhibitors during breaks.
  • This year we’ve added an additional morning and afternoon break, and instead of providing lunch, we’ve extended the lunch hour so can dine and dish comfortably with new friends instead.
  • There are many restaurants located a short walk from the hotel, and we’ve included a list of favorites in your printed program. You can also find recommendations in the our official conference app.


  • StoryLabs give you a chance to meet one-on-one with our speakers and experts.
  • They run for 30 minutes during each break including the last 30 minutes of the lunch break.
  • StoryLabs is an amazing opportunity to ask a question, present a problem, or discuss a quandary for 5-10 minutes. Please be respectful of the time, so others may have an opportunity as well.
  • Located in the exhibitor area, StoryLabs are offered on a “first come, first seated” basis. Look for Beth Ann Locke and her clipboard to add your name to the list.
  • You’ll have updates on which speakers and experts will be at each StoryLab via the conference app.

Happy Hour Sessions

  • This year, we’re experimenting with pop-up sessions on Thursday and Friday evenings.
  • These are open to everyone and will be held in the main ballroom at 6 pm.
  • Session topics and descriptions will be announced from the stage and conference app Thursday and Friday morning.


  • We’re often contacted by conference alumni to recommend a product or service to assist them along their storytelling journey.
  • This year we’ve invited a small but mighty group of trusted partners who are the best at helping organizations increase their storytelling effectiveness and impact.
  • We encourage you to get to know these industry experts and what they do during breaks. They’re excited to meet you, learn about your organization, and provide their own storytelling insights.
  • Our exhibitors are located throughout the Harbor Foyer each day of the conference.


  • Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer complimentary WiFi in our conference rooms.
  • For better cell phone reception or to access hotel WiFi, visit the Harbor Terrace off of the Harbor Foyer. (Just try not to get distracted by the stunning harbor view and fresh sea air when checking your email and social media feeds).

Questions and Help

  • Our conference staff and volunteers are here to help.
  • You’ll meet Beth Ann, Chris, Marc and Shanon at the opening session, and you can usually stop one of them if you have a question.
  • Stephanie is located at the bookstore and can often direct you to where you need to go or who you need to know.
  • And we also have a number of amazing volunteers ready to help you too. Just look for the red lifeguard shirts if you have a question or need directions to the beach.

And that’s it! If you have questions before you arrive, we’re here to help. Please reach out by email, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Safe travels and see you soon!

Your Sun, Surf, and Storytelling crew,

Beth Ann, Chris, Marc, Shanon and Stephanie

P.S. Love social media? Help us see and share your conference posts by using our official hashtag #NPStoryConf.