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2015 Annual Conference Sneak Peek: What Exactly is a PhilTalk?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ever go to a program or conference that’s chock full of interesting information on an important issue, but you still leave wondering to yourself, “So now what?”

That’s exactly what we want to avoid at our upcoming 2015 Annual Conference.

NCG staff has put a lot of thought into designing this year’s annual conference and one of our goals was to do more than just share information about the conference theme. That’s why our day is divided into 3 distinction sections:

  • Setting the Stage (Morning Plenary)
  • Implications (Morning Breakout Sessions)
  • Solutions (PhilTalks)

Solution Orientated

With the goal of answering “So now what?,” NCG decided to include two rounds of PhilTalks in our annual conference day.

We put out a call to members and non-members alike, asking for PhilTalk proposals that present an idea, solution or approach to a particular problem facing our communities and/or field.

What’s a PhilTalk?

A PhilTalk is a 15-minute presentation that explores an idea, solution or approach to a challenge we are confronting in our philanthropic work. Think TedTalk, but for Philanthropy.

NCG staff is working closely with all our PhilTalk speakers to help shape their presentations so that their ideas, case studies, solutions and approaches will resonate with a diverse audience of funders.

Choose Wisely

There will be 2 rounds of PhilTalks, with 6 PhilTalks taking place concurrently in each round.  This means that each conference participant must choose only 2 PhilTalk presentations—1 in each Round—to attend.  While the PhilTalk speaker’s presentation is only 15 minutes, the entire PhilTalk is 40 minutes long.


Well, again NCG wanted to avoid the “So now what?” scenario. Therefore, we’ve designed an exercise that will guide each PhilTalk audience in processing the presentation they just heard.

We’ll divide the PhilTalk audience into small groups to generate concrete ideas for applying lessons from the PhilTalk to their own work as a funder or new ideas for action on a particular issue.

Trying Something New

We’re trying something new by including these PhilTalks in our conference—which is exactly what we wanted to do with this year’s annual conference.

So often the post-lunch breakouts see a dip in energy—the combination of food coma and panels can be lethal to a conference. That’s why we’ve decided to get you on your feet a bit, get you all talking to one another. After all, we’ll have over 200 thoughtful philanthropy-orientated minds all in the same place—imagine the kind of brainstorming, the kind of conversation that can take place!

Conference Quick Links

Meet Our Conference Partners: KQED & PPIC
Announcing Our Morning Breakouts
Bay Area Mayors Lunch Plenary
Announcing Our 2015 Annual Conference PhilTalks
Meet Our Closing Speaker W. Kamau Bell
Meet Our Featured Artist: Youth Speaks
Top 10 Reasons to Attend
Pre-Conference Amuse Bouche: Measure of America's Latest Research
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