2017 OFN Conference
Washington, DC
September 26-28, 2017
Session Proposals Due Date: Friday, May 12, 2017

In September, more than 1,000 CDFIs and their partners will gather in Washington, DC at the 33rd annual OFN Conference to learn, network, do business, and think critically about the issues that are shaping the CDFI industry today. Attendees at the largest industry event will include CDFIs of all types, sizes, and stages of development; all the major CDFI investors and funders; government officials; consultants; researchers; and students. OFN will offer more than 50 breakout sessions cutting across many different subject areas of importance to CDFIs. 

OFN is seeking session proposals from a diverse and inclusive group of organizations and presenters that offer a wide range of perspectives. Specifically, we encourage small CDFIs, rural CDFIs, and regulated CDFIs to consider submitting proposals. 

We can accept no more than three proposals from each organization. If your organization has more session ideas, please confer with your colleagues to select your top three for submission.

If you have questions about your session idea, feel free to contact Donna Fabiani at or 202-250-5519.


2017 Session Topics
OFN is seeking session proposals in the following areas:

1. Affordable Housing. Includes all aspects of financing and technical assistance, such as product development, pricing, underwriting, risk management, and deployment.

2. Community Facilities and Commercial Real Estate. Includes charter schools, health centers, child care centers, cultural centers, etc., and commercial real estate. Includes all aspects of financing and technical assistance, such as product development, pricing, underwriting, risk management, and deployment.

3. Consumer and Financial Inclusion. Includes all aspects of financing and technical assistance, such as product development, pricing, underwriting, risk management, and deployment.

4. Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CDFI industry, which relates to race and ethnicity, as well as gender, sexual preference, age, disability, etc.

5. Financial Management and Operations. Includes accounting practices, liquidity and cash management, risk management, audits, human resources and technology.

6. Financial Resources. Raising operating funds and capital from traditional and non-traditional sources, and asset liability management.

7. Native CDFIs. Includes sessions for emerging and mature regulated and non-regulated Native CDFIs.

8. Public Policy. Includes advocacy strategies and current public policy issues impacting CDFIs and the communities they serve.

9. Rural Communities and Second Tier Cities. Covers the unique challenges and opportunities faced by CDFIs in rural regions of the country and in second tier cities.

10. Small Business and Microfinance. Includes all aspects of financing and technical assistance, such as product development, pipeline development, technology and processes, pricing, underwriting, risk management, and deployment.

Other. OFN will consider session proposals that do not fit into one of the areas above though the chances of such a session


Suggestions for Developing a Strong Proposal

OFN receives more than twice as many session proposals as we can accept. To increase your chances of being selected, we strongly suggest that you:
  • Consider a format other than a panel or training. Alternative formats include: 
    • Interview – a knowledgeable interviewer asks probing questions of one or more subject matter experts
    • Meet the Expert – a highly qualified subject matter expert is available to respond to attendees’ questions
    • Roundtable – a facilitator guides an open conversation on a particular topic 
    • Speed Dating -  attendees have the opportunity to move around to different tables for short, focused discussions on a variety of issues within a broader topic area
  • Share practical, actionable information that helps participants do their jobs better and makes their CDFIs stronger.
  • Go in-depth rather than staying broad: sessions that skim the surface usually receive lower ratings from attendees.
  • Consider the racial and ethnic diversity of your team of presenters. OFN is seeking a diverse and inclusive group of presenters. 
  • Include presenters from two or more organizations and consider the organizational diversity of your team (size of organizations, geographic markets served, specific communities served, institution types, etc.)
  • Talk to your presenters and get their commitment to participate before you submit the proposal.

OFN works hard to select a mix of strong session proposals that offers value to a range of audiences and levels of experience. We do our best to accommodate as many strong proposals as we can. Sometimes we do this by asking people who propose similar topics to combine their ideas into a single session.

Please remember to confer with your colleagues and submit no more than three proposals per organization.


Presenter and Session Policies

Conference Registration: Session presenters will be required to register and pay the registration fee for the Conference. Exceptions will be made for presenters that only plan to attend their session rather than the full Conference. We regret that OFN cannot provide compensation or travel reimbursements to presenters except in rare instances.
Session Organizer: The Session Organizer will be the primary contact for all communications regarding the selected proposal and the session. The Session Organizer assumes full responsibility for the design of the session, the coordination of all session presenters (if applicable), compliance with OFN’s Presenter and Session Policies, and a successful session delivery.
Presenter Confirmations: All session presenters must be confirmed 30 days after a session proposal is accepted.
Session Scheduling: OFN will determine the scheduling of all sessions. By confirming your final selection, you are agreeing to be available for any of the times designed for sessions during the Conference.

Proposal Submissions

Proposals are due on Friday, May 12. To submit a proposal, press Next and fill out the online proposal form. A hard copy of the proposal form is available; however, OFN will not accept hard copies. Only online proposals will be accepted.

If you have questions on how to submit a proposal, please contact Jacqueline Fox at or 215-320-4313. If you have questions about the content of your proposal, please contact Donna Fabiani at or 202-250-5519.

We hope to see you in Washington, DC September 26-28!

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