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Posted by & filed under Fundraising.

As I bounce back from vacation and start preparing for the year ahead, I’m struck by the changing environment the fundraiser of today faces. While each organization is different and a lot of the fundraising fundamentals still hold true, a review of the trends can give today’s fundraiser something to ponder and bring back to their organization. Here are three such trends that I’ve been chewing over lately.

While story telling is as old as fundraising, it’s the way we tell stories that now keeps fundraisers on our toes. In 2018, as technology gets both cheaper and easier to use, the best story tellers will be live streaming, blogging, and using virtual reality. One of the most powerful ways to connect to a donor is to get them “into the field” to see the work first hand. While this may be easier to do when building a hospital wing in a donor’s home town, it is possible to create a powerful experience for a donor who you can’t get there in person. Take at look at Clouds Over Sidra, a short virtual reality documentary following a 12-year-old Syrian refugee (you can view it here: This incredible VR experience raised 70% more than expected at $3.8 billion. While this size and scale may be out of reach for most organizations, this technology is not.

The second trend that I find fascinating is collaborative fundraising. With trust in our sector continuing to wane, and the cost to attract a new donor higher than ever, perhaps it is time to consider working with other organizations. Benefits include cost savings, broader reach, and increased credibility. While the challenges are real, and it may take creative and potentially difficult conversations to get started, the possibilities are huge. Check out this series on the subject:

Finally, innovation in the sector, whether we like it or not, is having an impact on our donors, our organizations, and our fundraising. Donors are wealthier, younger, and more sophisticated. This new group of donors is looking for new solutions – including innovation and creativity in how their money is used and invested  We have to rise to the challenge and meet our donors where they are. Some may view this trend as a threat to our sector, a sector which has operated in a largely transactional way with our donors giving them few opportunities to participate in our charitable work. I, however, think it can be a real opportunity.  With donors looking to deploy not only their philanthropic dollars but also their invested dollars, as well as seeking a deeper connection to their philanthropic work, organizations will have to be nimble, invest in building our own sophistication, and be able to partner strategically.

I’m excited to be reviewing the innovations in our sector and seeing which ones fit for the work I’m doing. I encourage all fundraisers out there to do the same.


About the Author

Elissa Beckett, MBA, CFRE, builds philanthropic solutions for donors at Tides Canada and is an instructor at Ryerson University where she teaches Entrepreneurial Fundraising, a course that looks a partnerships, trends, and entrepreneurialism in the non-profit sector. The course is offered in class and online through Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education.

Connect with Elissa on LinkedIn


Posted by & filed under Announcement, Board of Directors, Leadership/Management.

January 2, 2018

AFP sends its warm congratulations to the members who were recently approved by the membership to serve on the 2018 AFP Canada Board of Directors.

In a recent AFP Canadian member vote, the Board slate was approved with 94.4% saying yes, 1.47% saying no and 4.13% abstaining.  Almost eight percent of the full Canadian membership participated in the vote.

“2018 will be a critical year for the AFP Canada Board, which is only just nine months old,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “The Board’s second year will be focused on strategic planning, as well as identification of key issues and areas that are critical to our Canadian members. It’s an ambitious agenda, but one that I know our talented Board members can fulfill.”

Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, will continue to chair the board in 2018. “Great leaders have stepped forward to develop AFP Canada both last year and now, again, this year.  This member vote ensures that each brings a critical voice to help set us on a path as a voice for Canada.”

Here is the 2018 AFP Canada Board:

Dana Ades-Landy, CEO, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Montreal, QB.

Roger Ali, CFRE, Chair, AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada, President & CEO, Niagara Health Foundation, St. Catherines, ON.

Paula Attfield, Chair-Elect, President, Stephen Thomas Ltd., Toronto, ON.

Daniel Brunette, Director, Development and Donor Services, The Community Foundation of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.

Ms. Tracey A Comeau, CFRE, MA, CEO, QEH Foundation, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, Chair, President & CEO, Vitreo Group, Calgary, AB.

Leah Eustace, ACFRE, Founder & Chief Problem Solver, Blue Canoe Philanthropy, Ottawa, ON.

Mike Geiger, CPA, MBA, President and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Arlington, Va.

Ann Hale, CFRE, Chair, AFP International Chair, Chief Development Officer, Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

Jennifer Johnstone, President & CEO, Central City Foundation, Vancouver, B.C.

Ken Mayhew, President & CEO, William Osler Health System Foundation, Brampton, ON.

Pamela G. Simmons, Owner, Coreniche Consulting, Winnipeg, MB.

Dino Constantinos Sophocleous, CFRE, President & CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation, Regina, SK.

Wayne Steer, Secretary, Director of Fund Development, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Calgary, AB.

Karen Willson, ACFRE, Treasurer, Senior Vice President, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.), Toronto, ON.

Mr. Adam Zawadiuk, CFRE, Manager, Fund Development, YMCA of Northern Alberta, Edmonton, AB.