The Learning Conference 2017 Policies

Who participates?

Conference participants will include evaluators, learning officers and knowledge managers, both those seasoned and newer to their roles. Other participants include program staff and foundation leadership. Some participants will have primary responsibility for implementing learning and evaluation culture and practices in their organizations, while others may firmly believe in using learning to inform continuous improvement, but lack dedicated staff for it.

Participant Eligibility

GEO conferences are open to current GEO members; all staff and trustees of grantmaking institutions; staff of philanthropy-supporting infrastructure groups, such as regional associations of grantmakers and affinity groups; and staff of academic institutions and programs focused primarily on the study of philanthropy and the practice of giving.

The conference is not intended to be an opportunity for solicitation of any kind and is not open to grantseekers, unless invited to speak at the conference. Consultants are not eligible to attend GEO events unless they are invited to speak or are registered to represent a current client foundation. GEO requires all eligible consultants to submit a letter from the client foundation confirming their affiliation, and consultants should be registered as part of or by the client foundation. The consultant’s name badge will reflect their affiliation with the client foundation and cannot be changed.

Eligibility will be verified by GEO. Please see for additional information on eligibility for GEO membership and conference participation.

Cancellation Policy

All requests to cancel a confirmed conference registration are subject to a $150 service fee. All cancellations must be submitted in writing on or before Friday, April 21, 2017. No requests for refunds will be granted after that date or for no shows. Requests for cancellations must be submitted in writing to

Refund fees are scheduled as follows:

  • Cancellation on or before April 21, 2017 – full refund minus a $150 service fee
  • Cancellation on or after April 22, 2017, or for no shows – no refund available

Substitution Policy

Substitutions are allowed at any time, but only one substitution is permitted per registration, in accordance with GEO’s eligibility policy. The individual submitting the substitution request is responsible for ensuring that all financial obligations (any balance due) associated with that registration are met and that contact information for the new registrant is updated with GEO’s registration team. Requests for substitutions must be submitted in writing to

Payment Deadline

Payment in full must be received by Friday, April 21, 2017, in order to guarantee your seat. Please be aware that you are not officially registered for the conference until your payment is received in full. If payment is not received by Friday, April 21, 2017, your registration may be cancelled.

Wait List

Once the conference reaches capacity, GEO will open a wait list and interested individuals may add their names to the list. GEO will review the wait list on a regular basis and release individuals from the wait list as space becomes available, with priority going to GEO members. All individuals on the wait list will be alerted of their status no later than Monday, May 1, 2017.

There is no charge to join the wait list, and you will not be charged until you are cleared from the wait list and added to the conference roster. We kindly request that you are prepared to process payment in full via credit card at the time your registration is confirmed.

We do not recommend that you book travel or accommodations until your space at the event is confirmed.

GEO’s Meeting Sustainability Plan

In an effort to reduce the impact of GEO events on the local host community, GEO has implemented a conference sustainability plan. This plan guides GEO’s efforts to have a positive impact on the environment by preventing wasteful practices at all events.

Some prominent features of the plan include:

  • Recycling plastic name badge holders by collecting them at the registration counter and all exit points for reuse at future events.
  • Reducing the number of promotional items that organizations traditionally ship to conference sites.
  • Collecting and recycling paper and beverage containers used at the conference.
  • Promoting ride share efforts and public transportation for travel between local airports, hotels and the conference venue.
  • Reducing the use of paper by:
    1. Limiting the number of workshop handouts.
    2. Utilizing electronic communications to share information with event speakers and registered participants. Session facilitator packets are also posted online.
    3. Providing resources, including the participant roster, session resources and facilitator bios, online prior to and after the conference.

How can I support GEO’s sustainability efforts at the Learning Conference 2017?

  • Share rides between the airport (options include Super Shuttle, rental cars and taxis), your hotel and the conference venue;
  • While in Chicago opt to take public transportation or walk (rail and bus service maps and schedules are available at
  • Recycle permissible materials in the marked recycling receptacles in the conference area;
  • Participate in your hotel’s water and energy conservation efforts by following the instructions posted in guest rooms;
  • Return name badges to the registration desk after the conference, so we can reuse the plastic holders at future events; and
  • Think before printing. Check out the section on handouts to find out more about what materials will be available onsite versus online.

No Solicitation Policy

GEO strives to create a welcoming, collegial conference atmosphere. We ask conference participants to refrain from soliciting other participants for business or grants while at the conference. Any participants found in violation of this policy will be ineligible to attend future GEO events. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact

Photography/Video/Audio Taping Release

Please be advised that GEO will be photographing, taping and recording during the conference, and your image and voice might be used for future distribution and promotional purposes in our print and online communication materials. By participating in this conference and being present at the venue, you authorize GEO to use and reproduce any photographs taken, without compensation. All negatives and positives, photographic prints and digital photo files shall constitute GEO property, solely and completely.

Participant Roster

A participant roster complete with contact information is available to all registered participants. To access the roster, please download and log in to the conference app. The roster is for networking purposes only and should not be used for solicitation.

Name Badges

Your name and organization affiliation are pulled from your registration form. GEO will only print organization affiliations that are in accordance with our eligibility policy. GEO has the discretion to edit your submission, in accordance with our policies, and will alert participants to any changes.

Conference Resource Table

Due to GEO’s conference sustainability plan, we will only provide one resource table. If you would like to ship items to the conference we ask that you limit the items you send to 50 pieces. GEO is not responsible for receiving, displaying or returning your shipment. You will be responsible for coordinating shipping arrangements and pick up, and any hotel costs associated with shipping must be paid by you. Please notify if you plan to ship materials to the conference.