When and where is ComNet17?

ComNet17 will take place from September 27 - 29, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida at the Hotel Fontainebleau.

Who should attend?

You. The conference is aimed at social sector professionals interested in communications who share our belief that strategic communications can be a force that helps spur positive social change.

In 2016, we hosted CEOs, policy and program leaders, communication directors and social sector consultants from across the globe including folks from Ford Foundation, Gates Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Slack, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Knight Foundation, Kresge Foundation, The New York Times, the Rockefeller Foundation, Georgetown University, and more.

See a full list of our 2016 conference attendees here.  

Why should I attend?

The Communications Network will host over 600 senior nonprofit and foundation professionals from across the social sector for three days of learning, networking and idea sharing to advance the field strategic communications and help you improve your work. Attending the conference will provide you with the unique opportunity to make connections with other leaders in the social sector while learning about the latest developments in strategic communications that will help you communicate your message in an impactful way.  This is the communications conference of consequence.

Where can I find the conference schedule?

Find it on the Schedule page.

Will I be able to connect with other conference attendees prior to the conference?

The names, affiliated organizations, and twitter handles of registrants will be made public so registrants have the opportunity to connect before the conference. Please note that we will not share or sell registrants personal contact information, such as email addresses or phone numbers. Current Network members can communicate using our online Members Community or connect through our Facebook page.

Are there limits on how many breakout sessions I can participate in?

No. Once you are registered, you are allowed to attend as many sessions as you would like.

Are consultants able to attend the conference?

Yes, but they have to be current members of The Communications Network to do so. Only foundations or nonprofits can register as non-members. Additionally, there is a strict no-solicitation policy at the conference that registrants should be aware of. If you are a consultant and would like to join the Network, you can find more information here

About The Communications Network

If you’d like to learn more about The Communications Network, check out our website


When can I register?

Registration is NOW CLOSED. You can add your name to our waitlist here.

What are the fees to attend the conference?

The conference is $839 for Communications Network members and $1,049 for non-members. 

Are you offering discounts on hotel and travel?

The Hotel Fontainebleau is offering the special discounted rate of $249 per night.  You must book your room by September 2, 2017 in order to receive the special rate.  The conference will not be offering discounts for travel.  NOTE: A conference registration does NOT include accommodations and does NOT guarantee you a room at Hotel Fontainebleau, so please register early and book a room to ensure your best chance of securing a space in the hotel.

How do I register for ComNet17?

ComNet17 is now sold out. You can add your name to the waitlist for ComNet17 by visiting the Registration page.

Is there an early registration discount?

Yes, early bird registration is $725 for Network members and $819 for non-members. Early bird registration is SOLD OUT.

Are group discounts offered?

Group discounts are not offered for regular registration. However, sponsors receive free and discounted registrations depending on the sponsorship level. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please visit our Sponsor page.

Do presenters receive a complimentary registration fee?

Presenters will receive a discounted registration fee. Presenters must register for the conference. Instructions will be emailed with submissions acceptance notifications.

What do my registration fees include?

Registration fees include:

  • Access to plenary sessions
  • Ability to choose from all breakout sessions
  • Opportunity to register for our pre-conference skill-building workshops (additional fees apply)
  • Admission to The Lab
  • Entry to conference receptions
  • A discount on your hotel room (if booking at the Fontainebleau)
  • A copy of the conference program
  • A conference "swag bag" and related conference materials
  • Meals including breakfast on Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29 and lunch on Thursday, September 28
  • Coffee breaks with snacks available throughout the day on Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29

Registration does not cover the cost of a hotel room, so please reserve your room separately.

May I attend the conference without registering?

No. Anyone who would like to attend the conference must register.

May I register for a single day at a reduced rate?

Single day passes will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please email for more information.

Can I get a refund for ComNet17?

Yes, you can get a full refund until Friday, August 18, 2017. No refunds will be available after that date. 

Can I transfer my registration?

Yes, but you must alert us if you do so. Keep in mind, if you are a member and are transferring your registration to someone else, it must be another member in order for them to receive the reduced member registration price.


What hotel should I stay in, and how do I book a room?

The conference will be hosted at the Hotel Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida. Registrants are encouraged to stay here. Once you’ve registered, you can book a room at our preferred conference rate of $249 per night, subject to availability.  Please note: registration does not include accommodations, which must be booked separately.

Can I stay at a different hotel?

Yes, you are welcome to stay at a different hotel but transportation from your hotel to the conference site will not be provided by the conference. Most registrants will stay on-site at the Fontainebleau.

If I choose to stay in Miami Beach through the weekend, can I stay at the hotel for the discounted rate?

Arrangements should be made directly with the Fontainebleau.

What meals are included?

The opening night reception on Wednesday, September 27 will include light appetizers and beverages, but not a full dinner. Breakfast will be provided on Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29. Lunch will be provided on Thursday, September 28. Coffee breaks with snacks will be available throughout the day Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29. Dinner will not be provided during the conference.

What is the dress code?

The dress code for the conference is business casual. The temperature in Miami Beach during late September typically varies from 75°F - 88°F. Please note that the majority of the conference will be held indoors with the exception of the reception. Please plan accordingly. 

Breakout Sessions

When will breakout sessions take place?

Presentations will take place Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29 at the Hotel Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida.  Please check the Schedule page or the ComNet17 app for updates.

How do I register for a breakout session?

It is not necessary to register for breakout sessions. If you register for the conference, you'll have the opportunity to choose your breakout sessions during the conference. You can use the ComNet17 app to set up a customized itinerary/schedule for the conference if you wish. 

Do presenters have to register for the conference?

Yes. Presenters can register for the conference at the reduced presenter rate. Details about the discounted presenter fee will be e-mailed with acceptance letters. 

Will any sessions be recorded? 

Keynote sessions will be recorded and available to conference attendees after the conference.

Keynote Speakers

What time will keynotes take place?

Please check the Schedule page or the ComNet17 app for updates.

What will be the format of the presentation?

The format of each presentation will vary based on the speaker.

The Lab

What is The Lab at ComNet17? 

The Lab is an interactive space for companies and organizations to collaborate and connect with ComNet17 conference goers, and to debut programs or showcase innovative communications products that are changing the way we communicate. 

Is The Lab the same as a conference sponsorship? 

No. Participation in The Lab is an opportunity for companies to work with communications and social sector professionals to help them utilize their products and tools in an interactive setting. If you are interested in sponsoring the conference, you can view a list of our sponsorship opportunities on the Sponsor page.

Who sets up the meetings? How? 

Meetings are set up by conference attendees prior to the conference via an online scheduling tool. It is possible that conference attendees will also have an opportunity to schedule meetings when they arrive at the conference for registration if meeting times are still available.

What will we meet about?

What do you do? Are conference attendees a user of your product? If so, how can you help them improve their experience? If not, why aren’t they using it? Would it be a good fit for their organization’s communication efforts? If they’ve signed up to meet with you, chances are they already have a few questions of their own. These meetings are intended to open a dialogue between outstanding companies and nonprofit and foundation leaders about using a company’s products or services to have a larger impact on society. 

How long will Lab meetings last?

Each meeting is 20 minutes.

Will there be breaks between meetings?

Companies will be able to schedule two 20 minute time slots throughout the day to take breaks between meetings. Additionally, The Lab will close for lunch on Thursday, September 28.

When is the ComNet17 conference?

The Communications Network annual conference, ComNet17, will take place from September 27 - September 29, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida, at the Hotel Fontainebleau.

What time will The Lab be open?

The Lab will be open on Thursday, September 28 from 10am - 5pm ET.

What do companies and organizations get for participating in The Lab?

Each company that participates in The Lab will receive the following:

  Invitation to the Opening Night Reception on Wednesday, September 27

  Discounted rate for hotel room at the Hotel Fontainebleau

  Invitation to The Network’s sponsor reception

  Valuable professional contacts from major social sector institutions

  Exposure for your business

Who leads The Communications Network?

The Communications Network’s Board includes senior leaders from some of the world’s most consequential social change organizations. 

Among them: Ford Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and The Duke Endowment. You can find a complete list of our Board members here

Sean Gibbons is the CEO of The Network. Prior to joining The Communications Network, he held a series of leadership roles at Third Way, a public policy think tank in Washington. D.C. and served as the Director of Media Strategy at the Center for American Progress. Before his career in public policy, Gibbons was an award winning producer at CNN and worked at ABC News on programs including World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and Nightline with Ted Koppel. 

Who can I contact for more information about the conference or participating in The Lab?

If you would like additional information, please contact Sean Gibbons, CEO of The Communications Network, at


How do I become a sponsor?

Please visit our Sponsor page to see all our sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, you can email Sean Gibbons at The Communications Network is open to customized sponsorships so if you have a proposal, please contact us at

How do I pay for my sponsorship?

You will receive an invoice for your sponsorship. We are happy to accept credit cards or checks.

Is my sponsorship tax deductible?

Your sponsorship could be partially tax deductible as The Communications Network is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Please check with your accountant or a tax expert to determine this.

Do sponsors receive free registration to the conference?

Some sponsorship opportunities include free registration to the conference. All benefits of sponsoring are listed on the Sponsors page. If you have questions about the benefits for specific sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at

Do sponsors receive invitations to any special conference events?

Yes. All sponsors will be invited to a sponsors-only reception during the conference. The reception will be hosted by the Board of The Communications Network.

Additional Questions

I'd like to donate to the Network. Who should I contact?

Please check with an accountant. We welcome charitable donations so if you are interested in giving to The Communications Network, please contact Sean Gibbons at

Does The Communications Network accept advertising in its conference program?

Yes. Foundations and nonprofits can advertise in the conference program by becoming sponsors. Please visit the Sponsor page for more information.

Consent to Use Photographic Images

Registration and attendance at, or participation in, ComNet17 constitutes an agreement by the registrant to the use and distribution of the registrant or attendee's image or voice in the photographs and recordings of ComNet17 by The Communications Network and ComNet17 sponsors.

What is your solicitation policy?

We have a "No Solicitation" policy. Please see our Solicitation Page for details.

Have additional questions? 

Email Emma,, and she'll be happy to answer them.