Standards and Guidelines for Speaking at a Blackbaud Event  

Blackbaud is committed to presenting educational sessions that deliver valuable ideas and information to our attendees. Moreover, Blackbaud believes that speaking at our conferences is a unique experience for those employed by or working with nonprofit organizations or the social good sector and provides an opportunity to share professional experiences with colleagues. These presentations are considered contributions to the profession; thus, travel/expenses are not reimbursed. 

Blackbaud has developed the following set of standards and guidelines to which all speakers and moderators are expected to adhere. Individuals who violate these standards and guidelines will not be invited to speak at future Blackbaud conferences.


  1. Knowledge of the Subject
    Speakers shall have both in-depth and broad knowledge of the presentation subject, going beyond their personal experience or the experience of their organization or firm. This will help provide examples for participants that illustrate various points of view or methods of doing things and allow more complete responses to questions. 

  2. Expertise on the Topic
    Every presenter shall have specific personal experience related to the topic of the presentation, and the ability to relate that experience in the form of information usable by other organizations of various sizes. 

  3. Presentation Skills
    Speakers shall understand how to address and teach adults. This includes, at a minimum, good voice projection, coordination of oral and visual information, and the ability to interact positively with the audience. One should avoid reading material from the slide presentation. Slide material should touch on key points of the presentation. 

  4. No Commercials
    No speaker will sell or promote any product, service, or publication during any presentation. Distributing or handing out a company’s promotional literature is prohibited outside of the exhibit booth. Any attendee feedback that a session felt like a "sales pitch" will weigh heavily against a speaker/organization's ability to return to present at future bbcon events. 



  1. Relevance to Blackbaud Conference Framework
    Be sure the session relates to the Blackbaud Session Track and general conference objectives. 

  2. Consider the Bottom Line
    Registrants attend conferences to gather information that can help them do their own jobs more effectively. Speakers should attempt to relate information keeping in mind how it can be used by members of the audience. 

    Speakers are required/encouraged to promote their sessions via social media (and/or live Tweet their sessions). 

  3. Use of Visuals.
    Speakers are required to use both the spoken word and appropriate visuals. Visuals should be professional in appearance, easily legible from the back of large rooms, and presented through PowerPoint. Blackbaud will provide speakers with a PowerPoint template incorporating the conference logo.Speakers are required to use this template.   

  4. Audiovisual Equipment
    The standard AV package includes a podium with microphone, one (1) lavaliere microphone, a wireless clicker to forward slides, and an LCD projector. All speakers are required to deliver their presentation using their own laptop. Blackbaud reserves the right to set rooms at its discretion. Should you have any additional AV requirements (including audio, internet connection, flip chart and markers) please email speakers@blackbaud.com by September 1, 2020. Blackbaud will do its best to accommodate additional AV needs. Blackbaud and Freeman staff will be available to help ensure that AV is working properly the day of your session.

  5. Use of Handouts
    To be environmentally conscious, Blackbaud will not print or provide any hard copy handouts. To offer attendees the opportunity to follow along with the presentation, speakers are required to submit presentations prior to the conference. Presentations submitted by the deadline will be made available to attendees for download post-bbcon.  

  6. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
    Every speaker is urged to rehearse his or her presentation several times in advance of the conference, and to ensure that it can be completed in the allotted time.

  7. Attire
    Dress code for the conference is casual business attire.  

  8. Cancellations
    Speakers must notify Blackbaud by emailing speakers@blackbaud.com immediately in the event that an emergency should prevent him or her from presenting a session.  

  9. Permission to Record or Reproduce
    As a general rule, presentations submitted by the deadline date will be posted in our event mobile app and in our attendee service center. Speakers are required to sign this release form indicating that the materials they are presenting may be distributed in this manner.  


At time of registration, you will be required to acknowledge acceptance of this agreement. In doing so, you will adhere to the following:

  • Guidelines outlined in the Standards and Guidelines for Speakers and comply with all program related deadlines provided by Blackbaud, including but not limited to deadlines for presentation materials, etc. 
  • Understanding that you will not receive any royalties, honoraria, reimbursement of expenses, or other compensation from Blackbaud in connection with the program or the rights granted above. 



  • Blackbaud does not pay for travel expenses or speaker fees.
  • Speakers that attend bbcon 2020 for their own presentation ONLY can register at no cost. Speakers that attend the full bbcon 2020 conference (beyond their own session), can register at the drastically discounted rate of $400.
  • Current Blackbaud Partners who submit a session to speak at bbcon 2020 must be a sponsor of bbcon 2020. If you have any questions about bbcon 2020 Partner requirements, please contact conference@blackbaud.com.
  • Please contact Blackbaud immediately at speakers@blackbaud.com in the event that an emergency should prevent you from meeting your obligation as a speaker.
  • bbcon breakout sessions are meant to be educational; sales pitches for products or services in the proposals are strictly prohibited and will be rejected immediately. In addition, during any/all educational sessions (in-person, online, etc.) speakers/presenters must not engage in any sort of sales activities during their session. Sales activity is reserved for the expo hall and for the numerous networking activities bbcon offers.
  • As a bbcon speaker, you are to refrain from biased political views -- please ensure a balanced representation of perspectives to reflect our community’s diversity. 

  • Apolitical + bridge-building: bbcon speakers are required to read every piece of content that references a contentious political issue through the lens of both someone supportive and someone opposed and ensure that the language and posture used does not unnecessarily alienate people on either side. 

  • Best-practices: bbcon speakers who reference politically-oriented organizations should be doing so in a way that makes it clear they are drawing on an opportunity to learn best practices, and be particularly careful that the way they are engaging wouldn’t read like an endorsement of the specific group.  

  • Cause-sensitive: bbcon speakers should be careful to avoid any messaging that “exploits” public events for funding. 

  • Blackbaud, its representatives and employees reserve the rights to take photographs and/or videos of presenter/speaker(s) and their property to copyright, use and publish in print and/or electronically. Presenter/speaker(s) grants permission to Blackbaud to use such photographs and/or videos without presenter/speaker(s) name and for any lawful purpose, including for example such purposes as publicity, illustration, advertising, email, social media, web content.

By submitting a proposal to speak at bbcon, you agree to the parameters of speaking at bbcon and pledge to embrace the diversity of all individuals; to respect attributes such as sex, gender identification, race, ethnicity, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, physical ability, mental ability and expression. I understand and support the importance of inclusion, safety of expression, and respect for different points of view. I pledge to provide at all times an atmosphere in which attendees have space to share openly.