(Banner graphic of PRSA 2017 Association/Nonprofit Half-Day Conference logo)

PRSA 2017 Association/Nonprofit Half-Day Conference

Reimagining the PR Process: Tools for Making Your Work More Efficient and Effective

Oct. 7 | Boston

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The Call for Presentations for the PRSA 2018 Association/Nonprofit Section Conference will be available until 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 27, 2018.


PRSA 2018 Association/Nonprofit Section Conference

Making Your Communications Work: Inspiring Engagement and Action

October 6 | Austin, Texas

Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 27, 2018

Conference Overview

On this heels of last year’s highly successful Section conference, PRSA’s Association/Nonprofit Section is organizing a full-day conference this year. One of the principal functions of public relations and communications, in general, is inspiring the intended audience to take action. Precursors to this are informing audience members, changing their attitudes, and getting them interested or engaged. However, in a world where consumers are exposed to an ever-increasing number of messages and attention spans are shrinking, it’s harder for messages to get through and have the desired effects.

This conference is focused on providing new, practical techniques and tools to help communications and public relations professionals working in associations and nonprofits, as well as those who work in firms that provide services to these organizations, overcome these challenges. Our goal is for conference attendees to come away from this event with ideas they can apply right away and get results, regardless of the size of their organization’s budget and/or staff.

Application Instructions and Rules

Here is some guidance to keep in mind as you prepare your submission, in addition to the formal instructions found in the call for submissions. First up are the topics we are planning to cover in the conference. Through conversations with Section members and other communicators, as well as research from other sources, the following topics are high on our list of priorities, given the conference theme and the relevant needs of association- and nonprofit-based communicators:

  • New techniques and technologies for delivering messages
  • Insights from the latest research on communications methods and persuasion
  • Messaging strategy
  • Impact of changing demographics and other trends on message development and delivery
  • Communication planning methods for ongoing communication programs and specific campaigns
  • Identifying and communicating with the media and other opinion influencers
  • Measuring and evaluating communication effectiveness, including existing and new methods to measure engagement and action

We are looking for innovative and compelling presentation proposals that address one or more of the topics above. The emphasis should be on offering the attendees knowledge, best practices, and specific tools, in sufficient detail, that they can go back to their organizations and implement them immediately. Another characteristic we look for: presentations that include an interactive component. Presentations may be targeted to new professionals, mid-level, or senior-level communications professionals in associations and nonprofit organizations, as well as practitioners in firms that provide communication-related services to associations and nonprofits.

Session proposals should outline 40–45 minutes of content, which can be presented by an individual or panel of experts. Case study presentations are also welcome in this category, provided they offer specific takeaways to the audience, i.e., lessons audience members can apply right away. All sessions should conclude with a takeaway section, briefly summarizing the main points the audience should take away from the session.

One final point to keep in mind. Associations and nonprofits come in all sizes. Our members and conference attendees range from small, local firms and organizations to large, regional and national firms and organizations. So, when presenting tools and techniques, offer options that can fit organizations of varying sizes and budgets. For example, if you’re discussing measurement techniques, be sure to cover free and low-cost options as well as more expensive tools and vendors

Speaker Guidelines

Proposals may be submitted by public relations/communications professionals or educators, including individuals from large and small corporations, agencies, business consultants, nonprofit institutions, and government agencies.

Agency proposals should include a client case study, with the client included in the actual presentation if possible. Presentations from agencies, research providers, consultants, etc. will be considered only if they are unbiased, educational, informative, and innovative. Pitches by service providers for specific commercial services or products they themselves sell will not be considered.

Please be sure to provide complete contact details for reference(s). Failing to do so may result in the disqualification of your speaker proposal.

Note: It is possible that submitters whose proposals are not accepted may be invited to participate in panel sessions at the conference.

Speaker Expenses and Compensation

PRSA does not pay for expenses, such as hotel and airfare, nor offer speaker stipends. Speakers will receive a complimentary conference registration, which includes access to all general sessions and basic meal functions.


Presentation proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 27, 2018.


Contact Don Bill, PRSA senior manager of special events and programs, via email or at (212) 460-1456, or contact the conference co-chairs, Bill Madway and Echelle Rutschman, APR.

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