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 (virtual or in person) 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. 

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.


  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Presentation Skills—Speakers should have the ability to inspire, entertain, and engage our audience through interactive presentations or workshops providing practical takeaways in live and/or virtual environments. 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.
  • 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 (applies to both live and virtual events). 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 events. 


  • Relevance to Blackbaud Conference Framework—Be sure the session relates to the Blackbaud Session Track and general conference objectives. 
  • 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). 
  • Use of Visuals—Speakers are required to use both the spoken word and appropriate visuals. Visuals should be professional in appearance, easily legible, and presented through PowerPoint. Blackbaud will provide speakers with a PowerPoint template incorporating the conference logo. Speakers are required to use this template.   
  • Use of Handouts—Speakers are encouraged to offer resources and handouts to aide in learning experience. Only materials submitted prior to conference by the specified deadline will be posted in virtual platform, including PDF of presentation slides. 
  • Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse—Every speaker is urged to rehearse his or her presentation several times in advance of their recordings or live sessions, and to ensure that it can be completed in the allotted time. Blackbaud will share presenter suggestions for enhancements to camera, lighting and audio solutions beyond what is built in to a computer to support a solid technical experience.
  • Attire—Dress code for the events hosted by Blackbaud is casual business attire.  
  • Cancellations—Speakers must notify Blackbaud by emailing immediately if an emergency should prevent him or her from presenting a session.   
  • Permission to Share or Reproduce Recordings—Generally, presentations submitted by the deadline date will be posted for attendees to access during the virtual conference. 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. 


  • Speaking at bbcon 2023 Virtual is FREE
  • Current Blackbaud Partners who submit a session to speak may be required to sponsor. If you have any questions about Partner requirements, please contact
  • 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 offered during the conference.
  • As a 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: 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: 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: speakers should be careful to avoid any messaging that “exploits” public events for funding. 
  • Please contact Blackbaud immediately at in the event that an emergency should prevent you from meeting your obligation as a speaker.
  • 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 your session, if selected, you grant Blackbaud the rights to rebroadcast portions of the session or the session in its entirety after the event dates. Primary usage may be a post-event encore series, inclusion in podcast series, or other Blackbaud campaigns.


By submitting a proposal to speak at an event hosted by Blackbaud, you agree to the speaking policies 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.