11 Things We Loved About TAG2018

Nov 14, 2018

Reflections on TAG2018, a conference made extraordinary by members of the Technology Affinity Group, our partners, exhibitors, and sponsors.

#1 – Forests of 50ft Saguaro

With sunshine every day and free access to hiking trails in the Catalina Foothills, the setting for TAG2018 was more than conducive to recharging and reconnecting.

#2 – Larry Irving Challenged Philanthropy to be the Conscience of the Internet. 

TAG2018 opened with tech luminary, Larry Irving, and we were riveted every step of the way. Larry challenged us with surprising facts including:

  • 27M adults in America do NOT use the internet (That’s 2.5x the size of Sweden)
  • 87M don’t have home broadband
Larry Irving, keynote speaker

In closing, Larry urged us as grantmakers to consider how we can play a vital role in ensuring technology teams are representative and seek to understand the people we serve.

#3 – Shared Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

It was impossible to miss at TAG2018: Now is the time to dig in together and address DEI  in philanthropyPEAK Grantmaking focused its pre-conference sessions on a deep exploration of equity. And Larry Irving shared reflections and important examples summoning us all to prioritize the work of DEI.

Additionally at the conference,TAG released its report “The 2018 State of Philanthropy Tech” including findings on tools and tech as well as several important findings on the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In particular, TAG found that 51% responding organizations indicated that their IT department lacks key programs related to DEI.

chart of foundation IT departments lack in DEI programs

Find out more here. 

#4 – Community Foundations Out in Force

Our biggest pre-conference yet! Thanks to the leadership of Ann Puckett and Charles Boname, registration for the community foundation pre-conference was so high that we required a room change to accommodate everyone.

group of attendees

One participant was seen leaving the community foundation session with five (yes, five) pages of notes. Early feedback has urged TAG to expand the community foundation sessions even further next year.

#5 – Who Doesn’t Need a Wild West Photobooth?

3 women in wild west attire

We’re just saying: You seem surprisingly comfortable in western wear. Thanks to RenPSG for sponsoring an incredible Official TAG Party under the stars for all attendees. Watch for more photos soon.

#6 – LUMA Workshops Proved Everyone’s a Creative Genius.

The buzz alone was remarkable during the LUMA workshops on “Innovating for People.” Even better, countless participants were heard saying afterwards, “I can’t wait to try this in my Monday team meeting.” Thank you, Pete, Bill, and Matt from LUMA Institute!
Below are just a few outcomes from the deeply interactive workshop provided free for all TAG2018 attendees. Watch for a full compilation of concept posters on 11/19/2018.

results of workshop

#7 – Lightning Talk Presenters Were Superstars. 

TAG’s first lightning talk series was standing-room only thanks to the passion and preparation of all 7 speakers: 

Padmaja Sathyamoorthy, Skoll Foundation 
Tom Irvine, The Chicago Community Trust 
Alyssa Ford, Tech Impact
Julia Cannon, roundCorner
Chris Slee, AWH
Taj Carson, Inciter, Inc.
Richard Kick, Rotary International 

Kudos to presenters for their courage, very-apparent talent, and thought-provoking insight. At this session we learned to reinforce the change makers, that a fictional character can help change your life, technology can be part of the solution to help the homeless, that data can involve ghosts, zombies & Frankenstein, cheap is well cheap and most importantly, the Show Must Always Go On!

Rick Kick speaking at event
Julia presenting at event

#8 – Our Award Recipients Had No Idea It Was Coming (But Their Teams Did).

Neither Wendye Mingo from Kresge Foundation nor Kris McDaid from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation knew that they were receiving our awards this year, but their teams did. Behind the scenes, team members at Kresge and Robert Wood Johnson quietly helped in securing testimonials and ensuring that our recipients were in the right place at the right time for their big surprise. Kudos, Wendye and Kris, for your much-deserved recognition.

2018 breakthrough award
2018 achievement award

#9 – The Concept of Psych Safety is Vital to High-Performing Teams.

According to closing plenary speaker Britt Andreatta, building an environment that fosters psychological safety for all team members is crucial to innovation and high-performing teams.

5 Things You Can Do as a Leader to Promote Psych Safety

  1. Be accessible
  2. Acknowledge your own fallibility (“You have a different view than me. What are YOU seeing?”)
  3. Proactively invite input (“What are we missing here? Samantha, what do YOU think?)
  4. Embrace the messengers (“Thank you for sharing that.”)
  5. Celebrating failures as learning

#10 – Meaningful Partnerships with Exhibitors & Sponsors Allowed Us to Do More in 2018. 

This year’s exhibitor hall was SOLD OUT and we can see why. Located in a gorgeous hallway with a view of the Catalina Mountains, the space was packed with attendees and buzzing during meals and session transitions.

3 attendees in exhibit hall

Not only that, but this year’s conference featured premiere social events thanks to the generous sponsorship of Fluxx for our Mix & Mingle event and RenPSG for the Official TAG Party.

#11 – You’re Already Innovating for 2019

Ideas were buzzing throughout the conference and so we’re grateful to those of you already volunteering to make TAG2019 even better.

2019 Volunteer Sign-Up

Volunteering on a committee together is one of the best ways to build not only your network but lifelong professional friendships. Join us!

Thank You for Making TAG2018 Meaningful.

Thank you for joining peers, colleagues, and new contacts at TAG2018 in Tucson, AZ. See you next year in Miami Beach, November 18-21, 2019.

About the Technology Association of Grantmakers

TAG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that promotes the strategic, innovative, and equitable use of technology in philanthropy to solve problems and improve lives. With over 2000 members in 300 foundations throughout North America and beyond, TAG is the voice of technology in the philanthropic sector, providing technology professionals, tech funders, and “accidental techies” with knowledge, networks, mentoring, and educational opportunities.

Since 2008, the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) has built a global community, conducted groundbreaking research, and become an advocate for investment in tech infrastructure throughout the charitable sector. For more information, visit tagtech.org.