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Tips for a Successful Session Proposal for the 2024 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference

January 30, 2024

Brian Larkin presents at a 2022 RVP session

If you’re here, it probably means you’re thinking about submitting a session proposal to Community Progress’ flagship Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference happening October 9-11, 2024 in St. Louis, Missouri. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some tips for writing a good session proposal that’ll grab our interest, and your attendees’ interest too! 

Begin at the end: What will people walk away with? 

First and foremost, RVP is a learning opportunity. Our goal is for all attendees to leave a session with knowledge and skills that they can put into practice in their own communities. Sessions must explicitly say why any programs or projects presented are relevant to the audience and applicable to their communities. Simply sharing information or building awareness about an interesting program or project does not on its own constitute learning.  

Feature diverse voices. 

We’re not about manels, or all-white panels, for that matter. And you shouldn’t be either. Your presenters should include diverse voices who reflect the racial, ethnic, gender, and other diversity of the communities served. We’ll also give extra consideration to session proposals that feature panelists from diverse geographies. 

Because your speakers and presenters are a big part of our consideration during session selection, we strongly recommend that you confirm with all your panelists that they’ll be able to participate before you submit your proposal. 

Be timely. Be relevant. 

While the 2024 RVP does not have a unique theme, the sessions that tend to be the most successful are the ones that speak to the challenges and concerns attendees are dealing with back home. Housing affordability, dealing with vacant commercial property, and responding to substandard investor-owned properties might be a few examples. Review the topic areas we are soliciting proposals for and think about how you can provide a value-add to your peers.

Use clear language written for humans. 

Community Progress reserves the right to edit and rewrite session titles and descriptions to make them clearer and more compelling. However, you can make our job easier by writing a session description that reads like a session you would love to attend! Be descriptive, spell out your acronyms, and read your session description out loud to ensure that it makes sense and sounds like it was written by and for humans, not corporate bots. Check out session descriptions from the last RVP conference to get a feel for what makes a well-written summary. 

Don’t sell stuff. 

Look, we’re sure that your solar panels are amazing, or that you’re a great consultant with excellent expertise at reasonable rates. But a session at RVP is not the place to sell products and services. The selection committee will disqualify any sales pitches disguised as proposals. However, if your company offers data, tools, or resources that might benefit the attendees at RVP, we encourage you to sign up to be an exhibitor and give a 10 minute demo on our Spotlight Stage.


Don’t forget, session proposals for the 2024 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference are due on March 7, 2024, 11:59pm ET. We look forward to reading them! Click here for more info and to submit, and subscribe to our email list to receive notifications of all our conference updates. 

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