Learning, Sharing, Growing: SmartSimple’s Fall Community Conference 2015


It was a meeting of the minds in Chicago last week, as SmartSimple hosted its second annual Fall Community Conference. “Our vision for the conference was to provide a forum where our clients could network and share ideas, and we exceeded our expectations,” says Sarah Harris, Director, Client Support and Operations.
COO Mike Reid opens the Fall Community Conference 2015.

Our Fall Conference is Growing!
The conference – hosted by the team at Chicago Community Trusts head office – drew representatives from a diverse range of organizations. Attendance was nearly double last year’s event, with 64% attending for the first time.


Interactive Learning at its Best
The full-day event featured a number of interactive sessions, highlighted by productive, open discussion amongst attendees. “Our clients’ sense of community was really evident this year. Everyone was incredibly open about sharing solutions and creating new connections.”

New this year was SmartSimple’s first-ever peer-led panel discussion on Strategic Grantmaking, featuring thought leaders from the YMCA, Feeding America and Chicago Community Trust.

“I enjoyed moderating this particular session. Our panelists and the audience fed off each other’s energy. Having the opportunity to learn how [our clients] use their systems to align their strategic goals for greater organizational impact was enlightening,” - Sarah Harris

Other sessions included a presentation on Practical Planning for Staged Implementation hosted by SmartSimple’s Todd Lapin, Director, Strategic Accounts, and a tour of our new Versioning feature, hosted by Director, Customer Experience Eric Lauer.

Client Input Drives our Evolution
The floor was then opened up for a Town Hall session. Clients were given the opportunity  to ask questions, and provide comments and suggestions to the SmartSimple team. “This year I specifically asked; what can we do to further empower you and what can we do to make your life easier,” says Mike Reid, COO and Co-Founder of SmartSimple.
"I'm brand new to SmartSimple, so it was very helpful to hear what people are doing and learn more about the solutions offered. I had the opportunity  to hear questions and best practices from peers, consistent themes or trends from other clients and get answers from the SmartSimple team." - Grants Management Client

The discussion was vibrant and engaging, with great suggestions from attendees for upcoming webinar topics, system features and functionality. “We rely on our clients to help guide the direction of the company,” continues Sarah. “The ideas and suggestions brought forward by our user community are key in deciding on enhancements and changes to the platform.”

Proof Positive!
Overall, the event was a great success for everyone involved, with 91% of clients surveyed afterwards said it was very clear SmartSimple cares about our clients.  
“The feedback I got was very positive, and since we also opened the conference to people potentially interested in SmartSimple. I got some comments on how the Community Conference gave them a taste of what our company was like, showcasing our culture of authenticity and transparency,” - Eric Lauer
“We’re already excited about next year’s Spring Community Conference,” concludes Sarah. “What we learn at these events is invaluable and provides the fuel that drives our future. We hope to see everyone then!”

What topics would you like to see presented at our next Community Conference? Comment below!

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