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The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter is proud to announce Samantha Banks, Director of Operations and Development at The House as the 2016 New Fundraising Professional Award recipient.
Samantha is an enthusiastic and inspiring fundraiser with a deep commitment to the fundraising profession. She said, “There are so many incredible professionals who have dedicated their lives to the philanthropic sector. It is a tremendous honour to be recognized as one of them.”
After only two years working at The House, Samantha has tremendously helped to raise the profile of the organization. She has significantly increased young adult programming and engagement and raised corporate sponsorship three-fold for their marquee event JEDx. Samantha has added a new level of flair and creativity while keeping true to the mission and vision of the charity.
In addition to her impressive day job at The House, Samantha is known for her tireless commitment to improving the non-profit sector through her volunteer work. She has made vital contributions to AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, as well as Sinai Health Foundation, Toronto Public Library Foundation, and Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. As a Contemporary Dance Major (BFA) at Concordia University, she was President of Hillel Concordia, Hillel Montreal and the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students.
Samantha is passionate about supporting networking events and conferences that bring young professionals together and build community. As Chair, Next Gen Philanthropy Advisory Committee, she was instrumental in planning the AFP Next Gen Philanthropy Conference (March 2014), as part of the Diversity to Inclusion Series – a groundbreaking initiative organized by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. This conference brought together philanthropists, community leaders, fundraisers and volunteers in an effort to start a conversation about how charities are working with the next generation of philanthropists in Ontario.
She has demonstrated her dedication to the fundraising profession by being an active member of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s Marketing, Membership & Communications Committee (present), and on AFP Ottawa Chapter’s Board of Directors. Samantha has also shared her expertise by presenting at Congress (2014) and Fundraising Day Ottawa (2013), and serving as a moderator at the International Conference (2014).
Samantha says, “I consider myself fortunate to get the chance to be in the same room as those who have carved the path of what philanthropy looks like today and those who are shaping what it will look like tomorrow.” She is now recognized as one of the top young professionals who will help shape the future of the fundraising profession in Toronto. Samantha is a graduate of the Humber Fundraising and Volunteer Management Program, and plans to go for her CFRE in 2016/2017.
When asked what she values most about fundraising, she answered: “The people. The characters who walk through the door just wanting to give. The passionate personalities of the volunteers on the ground. The loyal attendees who support rain or shine. The fearless people who have made this industry their career.” Samantha is an inspiration with an incredible career ahead of her. As Samantha always says, “I will continue to change lives until the day people stop changing mine.”
Established in 2001, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter New Fundraising Professional Award recognizes a full-time fundraising professional who has displayed exceptional talent and demonstrated outstanding achievement early in his/her career. The recipient has between two and five years of experience in fundraising and is selected through submissions from Chapter members. The award encompasses career achievements, long and short term career objectives, personal volunteer service and a commitment to the profession.
AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is a recognized leader in promoting philanthropy and providing education, training and best practices for those in the fundraising profession. With more than 1200 members, the Greater Toronto Chapter is the largest of the more than 244 AFP chapters throughout the world.
Director, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
When two friends and former clients simultaneously moved from one employer (which I will call Alpha) to a new employer (which I will call Beta), they already knew a lot about the new employer’s donors and prospects, because of their experience at Alpha. And they had collaborated on many major donor solicitations.
This presented an ethical dilemma for them. Standard No. 18 in the AFP’s Code of Ethics says “Members shall adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by, or on behalf of,
an organization or a client is the property of that organization or client.”
The question put to me was: “How do we manage knowledge of donors when crossing to another organization? How do you ‘pretend’ to not know what you know?”
Here’s what I said (edited for confidentiality and length.)
That’s a tricky question. You know what you know.
We face this as consultants: we must studiously avoid porting any “proprietary” information from one client to another that might “improve” the result for the lower-performing charity. When we must, we can say “We can’t comment on that.” It works because we’re not making final solicitation decisions.
This will be harder for you.
The AFP principle is clear, but doesn’t speak to how you manage the accumulated knowledge you have. Always, the spirit of your effort is key, rather than the letter of a policy. But I propose these boundaries.
- You can never report outside of Alpha what any Alpha donor has done or even that they are Alpha donors, unless that information is public.
- You cannot approach specific Alpha donors with news of your move UNLESS you had relationships prior to joining Alpha.
- You and your former/current colleague should never discuss the history of Alpha donors, even privately. That information is no longer yours.
- You cannot comment to any Beta donor about his/her giving history at Alpha UNLESS the donor raises it.
- Even if it wanted to, Alpha cannot give you a dispensation to build on its information for selected donors – in the end, it’s not their information.
- You cannot create a prospect list for Beta based on donors you met through Alpha. Some other route to identifying and qualifying those prospects must be followed.
- Because prospect identification and solicitation is part of your job, you must be honest with yourself about the prospect’s signs of interest/ affinity for the cause, and other parameters that would put someone new on the radar for your new employer, or elevate their priority. Involving others with no history of your former employer will help.
- Ideally a legitimate ask amount will emerge organically through prospect identification, considering affinity, history and estimated capacity of the donor. Jacking up proposed ask amounts for certain Beta prospects based on their giving to Alpha violates confidentiality. It also mistakenly assumes that a donor weights each case the same way, when they certainly do not. Because your knowledge will undoubtedly be a factor in your own inner dialogue, involving other staff or even volunteers in setting ask amounts can protect you somewhat.
- Once a prospect is legitimately identified for your new employer, and you know, for example, that the prospect likes breakfast meetings, it’s stupid to ignore that knowledge. It’s also stupid to flag your knowledge: keeping your own counsel is smart.
The passage of time will help. If a year from now you’ve diligently qualified a bunch of people who happen also to be Alpha donors, so be it. But if your first 10 calls are on Alpha donors not already known to Beta, you have a problem.
Exercise restraint. Do the work that would yield prospects. Create the profiles so you have a paper trail. Be scrupulous about what you talk about. Soon there will be no issue.
This is an interesting challenge. Few people likely care as much as you will – I always liked that about you.
So, what would you say? We know what and who we know. How do we ethically steward that information?
Larry Matthews, CFRE, is Vice-President of KMA Consultants Inc., which specializes in campaigns and pre-campaign studies, annual fund reviews, and major gift planning and coaching. Larry has been a fundraiser since 1983 and a consultant since 1995, with specialized expertise in case development, research among donors, and donor communications of all kinds. He writes an occasional blog which can be found at http://www.kmaconsultants.ca/ email to: email@example.com