January 10-12, 2024

Tucson, Arizona

Rewarding careers in Development and Membership require tenacity, versatility, and creativity. Development and Membership professionals frequently search for opportunities to bring new life into various appeals, increase and retain member households, and connect with major donors. Help us Bloom in the Desert! Be a part of the 2024 APGA Development & Membership Symposium. Share the innovative strategies and best-in-class practices that lead to authentic connections between people, plants, and gardens. Help further the culture of philanthropy at gardens nationwide.

Submit a 30- ,60-, or 90- minute session proposal! Be inspired with these suggested topic ideas or create your own:

  • The Art of Reciprocity in Advancing Contributions amongst individuals: Gifts vs. Rewards; What’s low cost/high impact? Examples of what went well, what didn’t, and the unintended consequences.
  • Retention, Retention, Retention: Keeping members as members is the magic formula. Have you come up with the right recipe to keep your members renewing? Do you have a unique strategy for identifying which members may be lapsing and trying to engage them prior to losing them? Do you have an ‘onboarding’ strategy for new members to get them engage early on in their membership cycle?
  • Membership events/engagement: As we move into a post-Covid restriction realm and in-person programs return, what are your bringing back or what new things are you trying? Do you have an engaging members-only opportunity at your garden? What are your most impactful ways to engage with your members in your garden? What does your onsite membership presence encompass?
  • 360° Community Partnerships: Outside of traditional and social marketing methods, how are you establishing and stewarding relationships with other organizations to organically promote the benefit of a garden membership or sponsorship while also providing a mutual benefits to the partner? How are you engaging with community leaders who have never visited the garden? What tactics have proven to be successful in attracting new members and donors through community partnerships?
  • Expanding your Planned Giving Program: Small changes can make a big impact. What are best practices that can be implemented across institutions?
  • 2024 Giving Trends: What has been the impact of COVID and inflation? How should we be dividing our time between foundation, individuals, and corporations? Should we accept cryptocurrency? How do we attract more people to give through IRAs and Stocks?

Pitch us your idea! Questions? Please find contact information below.

Katie Brickner
Member Development Manager, APGA

Brian Russo (Symposium Co-Chair)
Director of Membership and Annual Giving, Naples Botanical Garden

Lauren Garcia Chance
Associate Director, Professional Development, APGA

Katherine Trumble (Symposium Co-Chair)
Director of Development, San Antonio Botanical Garden

Presentation Formats

Individual Presentation

Structured presentations on a single, focused topic that are presented in a TED Talk-like format (30 or 60 min)

Multi-Speaker Presentation

Structured 60-90 discussions or presentations based on a single, focused topic are welcome. 

Multi-Speaker Panel Presentation

A variety of formats may be used to build 60-90 minute sessions. You are encouraged to contact the Program Sub-Committee to discuss whether interactive formats such as breakouts and debates, engaging narratives, or more formal multi-speaker panel-style presentations are the right fit for your topic. 

Please provide the following:

  • Presenter(s) contact information: name, title, and garden
  • Identify which of the above presentation formats is your preferred choice
  • Session description (public-facing; 350-word max)
  • Describe the key issues and concepts of your presentation (100-word max)

Accepting submissions through July 21, 2023 at midnight MT

Presenter/Moderator Expectations

  • All speakers will sign and return a speaker waiver upon acceptance of our session
  • All speakers will present in-person in Tucson, AZ. There will be no options for virtual presenters.
  • All speakers must register for the symposium or may choose to attend and present only their session. Registration discounts or waivers are not available for speakers. (Note that we invite applications in the fall (October/November) for financial assistance through our Garden Scholars program)
  • Any expenses incurred to participate in this Symposium are the speakers’ responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the Association.
  • No substantive changes in content or presenters are made without prior written approval from the Association.
  • The Association will be notified immediately if an emergency would prevent this session from being presented at the Symposium. In the event an originally listed presenter is unable to attend, the session coordinator will provide a substitute presenter of equal expertise for approval by the Association.
  • I warrant and represent that this session/workshop is my own original work, factually accurate, and contains nothing libelous or otherwise unlawful. I have the authority to present the content in my presentation or I have obtained all necessary permissions or licenses from any persons or organizations whose material is included or used in my presentation.


You will receive notification of the selection of your proposal by September 14, 2023. The planning committee will determine the specific days and times for sessions. Your submitted proposal automatically confirms your availability for any session block during January 10-12, 2024. If you have a known time conflict, please note it in your submission.

Questions about content creation can be directed to: LChance@publicgardens.org

Interested in sponsoring the symposium? Contact: KBrickner@publicgardens.org

Thank you to our current sponsors!