Thank you for your interest in submitting a speaker proposal for the 2024 Best Friends National Conference. The deadline to submit a proposal was February 29.

The Best Friends National Conference is taking place July 11-13, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. This year’s objective is to give conference attendees specific strategies to take home and immediately start saving more dogs and cats in their communities.

Speakers are selected based on their ability to demonstrate that their session will provide actionable, data-driven, decision-making, and/or goal-setting guidance for attendees to help their organization reach a 90% save rate to become no-kill by 2025. 

Speakers with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences are selected, and we welcomed first-time presenters to submit proposals. 

We ask that speakers present an entire session directly related to their submitted proposal, lasting 50 minutes. (Please limit the time spent on Q&A to be as minimal as possible.)  

All breakout sessions will be limited to a maximum of two co-presenters, and information for both presenters must have been included in the original submission. We did not accept submissions for panel-based breakout sessions. 


We welcomed presentation submissions that cover the following topics, as they relate to ending the killing of dogs and cats in animal shelters and becoming no-kill nationwide by 2025:

  • Advocacy and community engagement
  • Field and animal services
  • Fundraising and development
  • Increasing live outcomes
  • Leadership, culture, and staff development
  • Marketing and communications
  • Reducing intake
  • Shelter medicine and animal care

Timeline for submissions

January 26: Submission process opens

February 29: Deadline to submit proposals

March 29: Decisions finalized and communicated

If you are selected to be a speaker, you’ll be given access to our speaker portal to complete your speaker agreement, provide a biography and headshot, upload any materials or handouts for attendees, and more. We'll assign clear deadlines to complete each task in the portal.

Speaker expectations

Thank you to everyone who submitted proposals this year. Here are the expectations if selected:

Adhere to all deadlines provided in the speaker portal.

Communicate with Best Friends staff via email as we review your session title, description, and biography for editing purposes. We will also review your presentation content to ensure it adheres to Best Friends’ guiding principles.

Provide materials, handouts, and copies of your presentation electronically that attendees can download, and share your contact information so they can request copies of your materials.

Rehearse your presentation, especially if you have a co-presenter, to fully prepare for the event day.

Best Friends believes in being kind to all, both two- and four-legged beings. Compassion drives our work to save the lives of animals. As a matter of procedure, a standard internet search, including reviewing publicly available information, will be performed prior to final speaker selection to ensure all selected speakers share this philosophy. 

Involvement at the conference

Best Friends will provide the official conference schedule in early 2024 so that you can plan your trip accordingly.

At the conference, you'll have the option to visit a speakers-only room to prepare for your session.

Following your session, we may ask you to participate in a question-and-answer session or roundtable discussion to further engage with attendees. We ask that you spend as much of your session’s time as possible on the content and not leave too much time for questions at the end.

Conference expenses

Each breakout session speaker will receive a complimentary conference registration (providing you full access to the event) including three continental breakfasts, three lunches, and at least one evening reception.

Best Friends encourages speakers’ employers or sponsors to fund travel expenses. If that is not possible, a travel stipend and/or lodging reservations are available as follows: 

  • If you live within 300 miles of the conference venue, you can be reimbursed up to $300 for travel expenses. If you live 301 miles or more from the conference venue, you can be reimbursed up to $400 for travel expenses. 

  • We will reserve and pay for your lodging at the conference venue from a July 10 check-in through a July 14 check-out date. Speakers may extend lodging at their own expense. 

Additional benefits for conference speakers

Best Friends is grateful for all those who dedicate their time and effort to speak at our conference, and we want to make sure you have a worthwhile experience.

Our goal is always to provide additional benefits to all speakers. Benefits for 2024 include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Free conference registration 
  • Travel stipend 
  • Speaker coaching opportunities (virtual sessions only) with Beth Wolfer, head speaker coach for TEDxSaltLakeCity
  • Customized image with your headshot to announce you’re speaking at the conference 
  • Dedicated on-site speaker lounge
  • Certificate of participation