December 7, 2018

Xlerate Toronto survey reporting back

It’s that time, where Xlerate Day Toronto organizers report back to you on the feedback you gave us. About half of attendees responded to the feedback prompt in Sched, where folks selected their sessions for the day, but some people also responded to our survey. Here are the results and our learnings for the next Xlerate Day.

Positive feedback: good venue, great food, nice afterparty

First the great news: feedback on the venue, the party and the food was entirely positive. Yay! Thanks to all of you who joined us at the afterparty: it’s so great to decompress with colleagues after a day full of sessions.

Positive feedback: Different voices

A couple people commented that it was great seeing a diversity of speakers—not only people who represent everyone who works in the sector, but also speakers who haven’t spoken at a conference before, speakers at different stages in their career, speakers who are from different departments at their nonprofits. We’re happy you’re happy! And we agree that it’s good to hear from people who haven’t had the chance to share their knowledge before.

We do want to note that speakers at Xlerate Toronto were more representative of the sector because of a conscious decision on our part: we explicitly made it a priority. One of the things we did was make sure our committee is more representative as well, and the other major thing we did was have a representation rule for Xlerate Day itself: every session had to have/include someone who historically hasn’t been represented. And guess what we found? This rule is super easy—it wasn’t hard to find amazing, experienced professionals to speak who didn’t come from the same over-represented demographic.

Learning: We need to do a better job explaining Stepping Up

We received two types of feedback on the Stepping Track: most who commented thought the track itself is amazing, invaluable, and sorely needed in the sector; and some people didn’t understand why there was a track like that at Xlerate Day, since it’s not directly related to fundraising, campaigning and marketing.

In retrospect, we realized we could have done a better job explaining the Stepping Up track and why we feel it’s important have an entire track related to equity and related topics in the sector, like gender, decolonization and accessibility.

Short version: it’s important, necessary, and long overdue.

If a friend came up to you and said, “I want to open up discussions about the issues that affect me as a person working in the nonprofit sector,” could you actually look them in the face and say it’s not relevant? How could you ask others, or yourself, to separate the things that make who you are from the things that you do every day? We at Xlerate don’t stop being who we are when we walk into work, and we certainly can’t ask others to either.

We know we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing and expect the sector the change. We’re happy to do what we can by  providing a place for these discussions to take place, and by seeking out excellent topics to frame these sessions and speakers to lead them.

Change doesn’t happen when you rely on other people to do it.

Learning: We need to go back to 101/201/301

A couple people mentioned to us after Xlerate Ottawa that we should indicate the intended level of each session. We did that for Vancouver, but it involved some extra finagling—working with speakers to sort out and keep a balance between the tracks and the sessions at each level. However, some of the feedback indicated the level wasn’t what they expected for individual sessions; so we’ll return to that for subsequent Xlerate Days.

Thank you!

On the whole, feedback was incredibly positive and thoughtful, and those issues we did hear about were relatively minor, though nonetheless appreciated. We think this means that we’re hitting our stride with Xlerate Day, and improving each time, as it should be. Thank you for joining us at Xlerate Day and helping make it so great!