Posted by & filed under Career Development, Inspiration, Leadership/Management.

Maeve Strathy

It’s the summer. We’re all staring longingly out our office windows (if we’re lucky enough to have them), wondering why on earth we’re stuck inside working when we could be enjoying the sun, the fresh air, and this brief period of time in Canada where we don’t need a jacket or coat of any sort. Prospects aren’t returning our calls or emails, our colleagues are all taking turns going on vacations, and it’s hard to find the motivation to get back to the work in front of us.

I’ve had a few of these moments lately myself. Despite the lack oSummerKitef motivation, summer is an important time for planning and preparing for the new fundraising year. It’s during these quieter months at work that we have the rare opportunity to sit and think; analyze what worked this past year, strategize about what we need to change, plan out our mailings, and firm up our stewardship processes. It all sounds well and good, but there’s one problem…

I just can’t find the inspiration! Where is that passion I had for my job a few months ago? So naturally I turned to Facebook and asked my friends, what do you do in this situation? How do you motivate yourself?

One of my very wise friends said, “I have stuff on my wall in my office to remind me of the outcomes of my work.” Brilliant! And then I turned and saw a card on my desk that I received from an alumna of the institution who was selected this year for our annual Philanthropy Award. She wrote me to thank me for my help in preparing her for the event that honoured her. She wanted to thank me! She has a great philanthropic story to tell; she’s never given more than $350 in any given year, but she’s given to the university every single year since she graduated. Every year!

Even better, her gifts have been designated annually to pretty much wherever the funds were needed most. In many cases she’s directed her gift to our unrestricted fund, giving the university the flexibility to respond to unforeseen emergencies or even worthwhile opportunities. She’s given to the library many times, too! Her gifts directly impact students, and that’s what I’m here for in the first place.

Speaking of students, next to the card on my desk is a photo of a student and a donor. This donor created a financial assistance opportunity at the university in memory of his deceased son. I had the opportunity to set up a meeting between the donor and this year’s recipient of his award which gave the donor the chance to truly see the impact of his philanthropy. The student expressed – eloquently, I might add – his gratitude to the donor, and he shared what he plans to do with his life after university. It was so rewarding to witness a donor seeing the effect his generosity has on an actual student.

All of us fundraisers, wherever we work, are here to raise money to make an impact. The outcomes of our work are clear; we are so lucky in that sense. Other professionals out there might struggle to see the point sometimes, but fundraising professionals know exactly what they’re here to do, and we have lots of examples that can motivate us through even the sunniest of days.

Maeve is the FounderMaeve Strathy of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past seven years. Learn more about Maeve and connect with Maeve via: Twitter | LinkedIn | Email | Web

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

Alan Clayton – Director, Clayton Burnett Ltd; Chairman, Revolutionise Global; Chairman, Grove Practice; Managing Partner, Inch Hotel and Inspiration Centre

Last week, I had the honour and pleasure of addressing the Young Nonprofit Professionals, Toronto. Young and professional they certainly were but, as I was preparing and then delivering my thoughts, something struck me. The majority of the audience worked in fundraising. Not all, but the audience was definitely fundraiser heavy, perhaps due to the topic, perhaps due to the influence of the sponsor – Stephen Thomas.

This really set me thinking. The term ‘nonprofit’ is used to describe the entire sector we work in – predominantly in North America, but increasingly in Europe as well. In context, this suddenly seemed an apologetic, inappropriate and perhaps even self-defeating term. The European ‘Third sector’ is scarcely any better. You see, the primary purpose and skill of most people in the room was the ability to generate profits… significantly large profits and at a very impressive margin compared to other sectors. The rest of the room were employed in spending said profits.

I had a realisation. We are the only sector which seeks to define itself by what we don’t do. Even more contradictory, we define ourselves by something we don’t do (nonprofit) but we do in fact actually do it. We invest reserves and revenue and we generate huge returns on these investments – up to twelve times greater than returns achieved by professional investors, in fact.

The difference in our sector is not the profits we make, but the way we choose to spend those profits. Profits with purpose, if you like. Is it any wonder we come in for ridiculous criticism (CEO salaries, ROI ratios, admin costs and even ~gasp~ paid fundraisers) if we ourselves start from such a negative and defensive position as ‘nonprofit’?

We should define ourselves by what we do… that is, how we spend the profits we make. That way we start from a positive hypothesis and can better explain our purpose to questioners and detractors. Even better, we will come to be proud of what we do.

Perhaps we could be the ‘For change sector’, the ‘Social purpose sector’ or even ‘The brilliant way to invest your money and get massive relative returns which make the world a better place sector.’

I am sure you can do better than that. Perhaps AFP could start a competition to find a better term? Suggestions welcome…

Alan Clayton

Alan Clayton is one of the leading consultants, creative directors and inspirational speakers on the world circuit, currently based in the UK, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Alan created charity marketing agency Cascaid in the UK in 1998 following a career working in-house in charity marketing. He ran Cascaid until 2008, when it merged to form The Good Agency. Alan has worked with over 250 nonprofit clients in the UK and around the world. 

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Leadership/Management, Networking.

Paul Nazareth, Philanthropic Advisory Services, Scotia Private Client Group

Conferences are one of the most powerful ways to learn, grow a peer support network and grow professionally.

How can you take full advantage of your time and organization’s funds invested to send you? Here are some tips we hope you find useful:

1. Know thyself. My favourite authors call conferences the “Olympics of networking“. Extroverts thrive but what if you’re not one? How do you keep your energy up and survive these crazy few days? Here’s a great read for the thinking-class “introverts” who dread these noisy, busy affairs. Don’t focus on the formal program, go off the beaten path. An example of this the great networking dinners being hosted at AFP Congress in Toronto this year. Going ‘off site’ is a way to have deeper conversations with peers one on one, seasoned conference veterans know this is the best way to establish lasting professional connections.

2. Bring lots of business cards! Yes, cards are still importing with networking, even in a digital world. Write down what you spoke about with that person to follow up and if you ask them to send you something – write it down for them on your card. Here’s a great read on business card etiquette. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Leadership/Management.

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Carolyn Hawthorn

Business Development Officer, Harbourfront Centre

It might be just me but I don’t think there are enough hours in the day. As professionals the expectation is that you always deliver your best at work. Ensuring you’re on the top of your game means understanding that the nonprofit sector is increasingly influenced by outside trends. Fundraising is touched and affected by economic, social, technological and political trends in our home country, and increasingly, worldwide. To perform to the best of your ability in the office you need to be aware of what is going on outside of it. So, how do you do it?

Extracurricular Fun

Take the time to learn outside the office. Sign up for a webinar once a month. Subscribe to a variety of blogs that focus on different elements of society. Google Currents or Flipboard are great news feed tools to use. They both aggregate news, blogs and websites you’re interested in. Helpful tip, theverge.com is a great site for tech posts.

Attend Congress! Learning in the moment with a live speaker! Don’t forget to make notes while you read and learn, your brain can only remember so much. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress, Leadership/Management, Speakers.

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Tony Elischer, FinstF (Cert)

Managing Director, THINK Consulting Solutions

I have been coming to the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Congress now for over seventeen years and continue to prioritise my invitations in my  speaking and travel schedules, but why?

I clearly recall meeting a leading American fundraiser many years ago who declared that “America had basically invented philanthropy and fundraising”. “Excuse me”, I thought, “Shouldn’t we recognise that philanthropy is pretty universal and perhaps has a little more ownership, if not history, in Europe?” On the fundraising call I think I must concede as America did pretty much invent the foundations of what we now know as professional fundraising.

When I started in fundraising, over thirty years ago, I was told to look to America for cutting edge fundraising practice, innovation and inspiration. This I did as an enthusiastic young fundraiser and I learnt a lot. However, since those days the world has changed and now we look around the world to different reference points for insights, learnings and inspiration. So what do we look to Canada for? I hear you ask. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress, Registration.

 

Malinda DenBok, Online Community Coordinator
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

So I bumped into Paula Attfield recently and was quite excited as we had not met yet. As a new-comer to the AFP Congress Planning Team I thought it was a great time to ask her my many questions and she kindly obliged.

What was one of your most memorable Congress?

My most memorable Congress was in 1999. At the time I was on the volunteer committee and I was probably 30 months pregnant… well  more like 8.5 months. So I just remember waddling around the various sessions and it was probably fairly hilarious to watch.

Why is this year’s theme Accelerating Change?

Now more than ever, we’re being asked to succeed in a rapidly-changing and complex environment. It’s easy to feel left behind, or to find it difficult to navigate through increasing amounts of ever-changing information – messages hit us from all sides, email, television, advertisements, online and through the media. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress.

Malinda DenBok
Online Community Coordinator, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Are you a traveller? This AFP destination may surprise you.

So I’m not suggesting a conference is exactly like a vacation, but after seeing TBEX (The Travel Bloggers Exchange) all over twitter last week it struck me how much conferences can actually be a lot like travelling. Although different from a vacation, they share some of the same benefits:

You leave inspired.

Being out of the office with a change of scenery often causes a change of thinking. My creativity tends to get ramped up because I’m inspired by what is around me. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development.

Tara Irwin
Fundraising Innovation Consultant, hjc

Conferences are exciting! You get to catch up with your peers, do some networking, and even learn a thing or two. At hjc, we’re always attending to conferences to stay on top of emerging trends, be reminded of the basics, and connect with our friends in the sector.

Up next is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter’s Fundraising Day 2013.  It’s held on June 5 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is the best one-day professional development opportunity that our sector has to offer.

5 Things We’re Excited About for Fundraising Day 2013

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Social Media, Speakers.

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Julia Silvestri Wong

Client Success Manager,  Artez Interactive Inc.

Fear – such a small word but it holds so much power.

Fundraisers are fearless, right? You have to be able to walk into the office of the CEO at TD Bank asking for a cool million to upgrade the gym so that the “street kids” can play basketball after school; or  – stand up in front of your Board of Directors and justify why you spent 21% of the budget on fundraising expenses this year. We muster up the confidence of all of those who went before us, put our heads down, and get our jobs done. It’s just the way fundraisers roll.

But what happens when the fear creeps in? When your idea for a great fundraising campaign is given the green light by the Big Boss and now you have to run with it; or you’ve been called up to the big leagues to share your quirky little presentation on social media and fundraising? Why do we become so paralyzed by fear when the stakes are so high personally?

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. When we are emotionally invested in something the fear of putting ourselves out there and failing feels very dangerous and painful.

One of my favourite parts in my upcoming AFP Fundraising Day session, Excuse me, did you say social media budget?, is at the very end when we talk about being confident, bold, humble, and fun. When you put those four elements into your work and your life there is no room for fear.

Because let’s face it: fear is nothing compared to that feeling of putting yourself out there and succeeding.

Julia Silvestri Wong is a Client Success Manager at Artez Interactive Inc.  She will be presenting: “Excuse Me, Did You Say Social Media Budget?” at Fundraising Day 2013. You can connect with Julia on Twitter @PinksheepTo or LinkedIn Julia.Silvestri.


Posted by & filed under Career Development, Speakers.

Amy Wilkinson

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AMY WILKINSON
Director, Community Giving
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation

One of my staff recently called me her mentor. First off, I think I am too young to be a mentor. Or at least I like to think I am too young. Secondly, I feel I have so much to learn about our shared profession of fundraising that I couldn’t possibly be someone’s role model.

But it got me thinking. What did the me of 10 or 15 years ago aspire to be? Have my aspirations changed over time? Am I there yet?

I didn’t start out to be in fundraising. It sort of found me. But even though I had a few false starts early in my career, I can’t say that my aspirations are any different than when I first entered the workforce to what they are now. Read more »