The 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 240 AFP chapters throughout the world.
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By Mo Waja
With AFP Congress arriving in a short 2 months, burgeoning and tenured thought leaders alike are preparing themselves and their talks to bring new, ambitious, and exciting ideas to the world of fundraising. But ‘thought leadership’ as a marketing activity isn’t something done just once a year or even once a month. It is not exclusive to large scale speaking events or even to a single guest blog post. Thought leadership as an activity or, more accurately, as a result is something that individuals and organizations commit to as a regular piece of their marketing mix.
Now, the idea of thought leadership is not new. In fact, ‘thought leadership’ as a marketing strategy has been in vogue for a number of years now. The challenge is that many individuals and organizations, particularly smaller organizations, can find the concept of taking on thought leadership daunting, particularly in the face of many larger organizations or more tenured leaders out there leveraging their much more developed content machines to pump out a near-continuous stream of articles, interviews, blogs, podcasts, and talks.
The first step is to recognize that ‘thought leadership’ or becoming a ‘thought leader’ is not a strategy. It’s not even a tactic. It is the result of consistent, quality content that is useful to your audience. To become a thought leader and create thought leadership content is to become an authority on a certain subject, within a certain field. Just as not everyone who picks up an instrument is a musician, not everyone who puts fingers to keyboard (feet to stage, voice to podcast, etc.) is a thought leader.
Thought leadership is something that must be established, not simply done. While one talk, interview, or piece of writing might put you on the map – it’s the cumulative work, experience, and expertise that brought you there that builds your foundation as a thought leader. For an organization seeking to become a thought leader in their industry, that becomes the collective work, experience, and expertise of all of your contributors. Read more »
Originally published on the Hlborn: Charity eNews September 4, 2018.
By Scott Jeffries
The Greater Toronto Chapter of AFP has been conducting a youth engagement and professional development experiment over the past year. The Speaker Discovery Series (SDS) was originally created to address a need in the GTA: many fundraisers could not get speaking experience because most events or conferences require you to have experience speaking at events or conferences.
The committee believed there was a great deal of untapped talent out there – and the plan was simply to host a night where a few inexperienced speakers (six or so) could present to a supportive audience, receive a score with written feedback from experts, and use our event on their future applications in the speaking circuit.
It quickly became more successful than expected.
The first event had a modest attendance of 30 or so people, and the events since attracted between 75 and 100 attendees each. Speakers are proudly saying they hailed from “season one” or “season two” of SDS. A genuine loyalty is developing, offers to join or contribute keep coming, and everyone is asking when the next SDS night will be. And other chapters of AFP are showing interest in starting their very own SDS program.
The fledgling event series has become one of this chapter’s most popular activities. Did this success come entirely from the need of new speakers to build their portfolios? The committee – which now includes me (Scott Jeffries), Laura Champion, Sam Barr, Yunis Kariuki, and Jessica Wroblewski – has a different theory. We think something else is happening. Read more »