By Erin Kirchhoff
 
By show of hands, let’s see who’s taking a plane, train or automobile (or boat??) to Miami for the annual Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Professional Forum Conference? If you plan to arrive in sunny-but-balmy Miami this week for the biggest fundraising conference of the year, here’s a countdown to our favorite must-see and must-do activities.
 
5. Network, network, network. From as far as Amsterdam, to our neighbors to the north from Canada, to everyone from the States, this week is the IRL version of LinkedIn’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising group. Plan to bring your business cards, your networking/social app of choice, and an appetite for some fantastic conversation with your fellow fundraising peers.
 
4. Cue the tears and pass around the tissues. Each year, the P2P Professional Forum recognizes the passionate and inspiring volunteers/participants who—as they put it—”take on physical challenges, overcome obstacles or raise huge sums of money from friends, family and colleagues.” Nominations come in from athletic events and peer-to-peer fundraising programs during the last few months of the year, and then one deserving winner is honored at the conference. Get ready. This is one of the most heartwarming moments of the conference.
 
3. Beef up your own knowledge of the P2P space. It probably goes without saying, but one of the most obvious reasons to attend a conference is to gain a whole bunch of knowledge and enhance your skillset through the sessions. At the 2018 conference, you’ll hear from movers and shakers—both inside and outside the industry—to help inspire your next event, build up your marketing program, attract new sponsors, and so much more. Take a look at the program for a glimpse at the breadth of knowledge and experience you’ll encounter this year.
 
2. Prepare to be wowed. In our industry, Cycle for Survival is a fundraising phenomenon. From its grassroots start as a participant and family-produced event, it’s now in its 12th year and only getting more popular and successful as it ages. In fact, Cycle for Survival brought together 31,000 participants across the U.S. to raise $34 million in 2017 for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. And that’s exactly why it’s being recognized as this year’s P2P Professional Forum’s Program of the Year. Be sure to attend Friday’s morning general session to hear all about how they are building on their success year after year.
 
1. Run for your life! (Well, for fun.) The team at Event 360 is so excited and honored to be hosting the second-annual “Run For Good” 5K on Friday morning. Don your running shoes and join us at 6:15 a.m. to run (or walk) a victory lap around Miami. We promise to get your blood pumping and to have you back before breakfast on day two!
 
BONUS—Prepare yourself for the most delicious milkshake around. Okay, we know this takes our top five list up to six, but we couldn’t resist. If you have time before or after the conference to make your way over to Coconut Grove, tell your Lyft driver to take you to Vicky’s House. Order anything off the specialty milkshake menu. You can thank us later with My Little Ponies and Pound Puppies.
 
 
Erin Kirchhoff was a child of the 80’s and back then, she had her own collection of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, scratch-n-sniff stickers, and Nintendo Entertainment System games. Having joined the Event 360 team 14 years ago, she’s honed her fundraising skills with some of the best events around, and now focuses her attention on digital marketing, social media strategies, and communications. You can find her on LinkedIn, or meet her live and in person at this year’s Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference.

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