Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Diversity, Ethics, Inspiration, Leadership/Management.

Originally published on AFP Global’s President’s Perspective blog.

 

As we enter another week of fundraising in the COVID-19 era, we again find that the landscape is changing.

We continue to adjust to the challenges brought about by the coronavirus and the resulting impact on the economy. Now though, other events have taken center stage: the anguish and anger over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—a black man killed by police officers in Minneapolis and a black woman killed by police officers in Louisville, Ky.—and the resulting protests and violence that continue to unfold in cities across the United States and around the world.

I have often said that fundraisers are the voice of those who are not heard. And that point has never been more important than now.

Part of the job of the charitable sector centers on service provision, whether it’s in partnership with the government, or helping out in service areas where the government cannot provide them or has failed to do so.

But we, especially as fundraisers, also play a critical role in creating connections and bringing people together—uniting communities to work on a cause. We provide a safe haven for different perspectives and unheard voices. We work to ensure that the principles we espouse so much in our society—such as diversity, fairness, compassion and justice, to name a few—become a reality.

Even if our causes appear to be unrelated to these issues, we must understand that people will want and need to talk about them. We need to provide a platform so they can express themselves, and we need to be sure to listen, understand and help find solutions to bring about change.

This is the fabric of our world—and frankly, always has been. This is what people are experiencing and living. This is the world in which we raise funds and provide services. If we don’t meet people in that world—and have empathy and seek to create change—then we are doing them, and our causes, a disservice. And we are not living up to the principles and values that undergird our work every day.

At AFP, we understand that the profession and world in which we work are not yet equitable, and that is why we’ve made inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) such a priority. That is why we support the project, Our Right to Heal, which highlights the challenges that black women face every day. That is why we are holding an online panel discussion in the near future to talk about institutional racism, social justice, fundraising and other issues raised by recent events.

Whatever our cause—and AFP members represent thousands of different missions—we can all agree that stamping out institutional racism must be a priority for all of us.

I have termed fundraising the impact profession, and you can see our impact most clearly in the programs and services our organizations provide. But our work is so much deeper and more powerful than just that. You’ve probably all experienced this sense of impact as you’ve talked with donors during the COVID-19 crisis and hearing their need to reconnect and feel part of the broader world. Now, it is even more critical we have these conversations with our supporters and stand up for our values and what is right.

I invite you to share your thoughts with me. Please feel free to email me at Mike.Geiger@afpglobalorg.

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Posted by & filed under Congress, Ethics, Government Relations, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

By John Paul de Silva – originally published on Hopeful Inc.

Whatever your personal beliefs are regarding cannabis usage and cannabis legalisation in Canada, one thing is clear. Cannabis is big business and so much so that a panel was built around the subject matter at the 2019 Smith School of BusinessScale-Up Summit which was recently held in downtown Toronto. After attending the panel, I noticed that there are many similarities between the cannabis industry and the non-profit sector.

First, they’re both highly regulated by the government. Second, they’re both worth billions. Michael Garbuz of Materia Ventures, a panelist at the Summit, said cannabis is worth over $100 billion in market capitalization worldwide. That’s a lot of green (pun intended). Similarly, over $10 billion is donated annually by Canadians alone.

 

With this in mind, here are some key takeaways on what non-profit organizations can learn from the cannabis sector:

1. Data is important: Summit panelist Afshin Mousavian of Responsible Cannabis Use has collected over 35,000 data points about Canadian public perception of cannabis. Why? There’s power in knowledge, especially with that much data. With that information, everyone from public policy makers to cannabis producers can better serve the market. Similarly, your non-profit should consider better collecting, managing, and analyzing its data. In turn, you can make more effective decisions on who to target for fundraising and which social media channels are the best use of your time, for example.

 

2. Education is important: Mr. Garbuz said that education is required to dispel the myths and stereotypes around cannabis usage. Similarly, I’ve encountered non-profits who have had challenges in gaining community support because of the misconception of what they are doing for the community. For example, a youth organization that had after-school programs was seen as a “hang out spot for troublemakers.” This negatively affected donations to the organization. Educating the community on your mission through transparent messaging and open houses, for example, creates conversations and increases education to bolster support for your non-profit.

 

3. Branding is important: Michael said that most people can’t tell the difference in quality between  cannabis products, therefore the importance of brand building to help differentiate increases. The same can be true for some non-profits who are experiencing the effects of donor fatigue. For example, you might be a non-profit that is helping kids with cancer but have the challenge of getting through to those who are already donating to SickKids Foundation. They’re a great charity, but are you clearly communicating how you’re different? Ensure this is coming across through the development of your brand.

 

Are there any other key takeaways you’ve noticed from the cannabis sector which can help non-profits? Comment below and please share this post with your colleagues and friends. Thank you!

 

2019 Smith Scale-Up cannabis panel (right to left): Alison Gordon, Michael Garbuz, Afshin Mousavian; with moderator Brett Larson on far left

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Coming to #AFPCongress2019? Don’t forget to check out our sessions on cannabis and the non-profit sector:

  • Y-06: The Cannabis Conundrum – How Charities are Addressing the Cannabis Donor – Presented by Anne (Coyle) Melanson & Diana McLachlan
  • G-10: Lessons in Pot – What Have we Learned about Combining Charities and the Cannabis Industry a Year after Legalization? – Presented by Sam Laprade, CFRE

Learn more & register.

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John Paul de Silva

Written by John Paul de Silva

Hopeful Inc.’s Director of Marketing

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Case Study, Donor Centric, Ethics, Next Generation Philanthropy, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Originally published on Imagine Canada October 1, 2018.

This summer, I had the privilege of working as the Behavioural Insights Assistant with the Strategic Communications and Research & Evaluation teams at Imagine Canada. We are currently exploring the meaning, influences on, and importance of trust in charities.

I started the summer with curiosity and the desire to further unravel this mysterious concept. As many academics do, I started my search for answers by collecting hundreds of academic articles on the topic. It soon became clear that there isn’t a single unified definition of trust that captures the concept. In fact, a vast majority of articles commented on this lack of cohesion or an agreed upon definition within the literature.

As a thought leader in the charitable sector, Imagine Canada is working on a Trust Project in an effort to better understand the concept and to make it accessible to charity leaders, so they can in turn, work on increasing their trustworthiness with the public and other stakeholders. I invite you to think about how trust impacts your organization and your mission. Here are some key insights from the literature so far. Read more »