Posted by & filed under Board of Directors, Career Development, Ethics, Financial/Legal, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy.

by AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Ethics Committee

De-stigmatization – An Odd Lesson for Ethics

There is a lot we can learn from various de-stigmatization initiatives that have captured the public’s attention of late. Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Campaign for mental health is a shining example. Decades ago people were too ashamed to talk about depression or anxiety, and now it is commonplace to understand and appreciate that nearly one quarter of the entire workforce have a mental health struggle.

In an odd way, we need to de-stigmatize talking about ethics in fundraising and the charitable sector. People often have one of two reactions: It is either, “… our organization’s ethics are fine; it’s everyone else that has a problem,” or “… ethics? We don’t have the time or resources to worry about ethics.”

photo credit: vanhookc via photopin cc
photo credit: vanhookc

Talk About Ethics

Just like mental health, a bit of knowledge is a powerful thing. When you know what ethics actually are, the causes and symptoms of healthy (and unhealthy) ethics, and how to sustain balanced personal and organizational ethics, you have the ability to diagnose and remedy problems. Better yet, you are able to create and sustain operational excellence, increase and deepen your relationships, and be a leader for your donors and volunteers, who deserve your utmost respect.

The first place to start is to talk about ethics – to put ethics on your personal and organizational radar. One of the best places to begin is to acknowledge what you know and just as importantly what you don’t know. Ethics relates to governance matters such as a board’s fiscal responsibilities or care of duty for staff. Strategically, ethics relates to fundamental fundraising practices such as the integrity of your case for support. Ethics on an operational level can be about the information you use and share when it comes to determining a potential donor’s ability to give. Personally, ethics can even be about the level of information you share about a donor with whom you have worked during a job interview, and if you promise to “deliver” said donor to demonstrate your fundraising prowess.

At its core, ethics is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand where they are coming from – good, bad or indifferent. It is through the sharing of each other’s stories that we discover solutions to differences in values and ethical conundrums. Again, the key is to talk, to engage, and to do what’s right – together.

Share Your Story, and Help Build the Ethics Library

To that end, the Ethics Resources Committee of Greater Toronto is promoting AFP’s growing library of ethics case studies. These are reality-based overviews of ethical situations that executives in the charitable sector have faced and managed successfully. They are fascinating. The case studies are also excellent learning tools and are available for download.

The Committee has created a new case study template to chronicle new examples of challenging ethical situations. We invite you to share one of your stories anonymously so that others can learn and continue to understand best practices, and apply them as the highest level fundraising practitioner. When you talk and share, you and your organization succeed. Best of all, donors and volunteers will be moved to give and continue giving because they know at a fundamental level they can trust.

Please fill out the case study submission form to either suggest a new case study not already covered, or to submit your own case study example.

It’s a Big Deal

Chances are that whatever ethics challenge or success you have faced or are facing, someone else is in the exact same boat. One story at a time, we give staff and volunteer leaders the ability to make their charity and fundraising everything they can be.

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 Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Networking, Next Generation Philanthropy, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Colin Hennigar, Associate Director, SickKids Foundation 

How do you engage a group of young professional major gift donors? Listen to them.

Fundraisers are frequently challenged to grow their pipeline to secure major gifts, often with the expectation of a donation to be confirmed over a year or two. But what happens when you invest in laying the seeds of philanthropy in the next generation? Results.

When we asked what is important for young professionals who make a donation, over and above purchasing an event ticket, we directly heard that they want a tangible impact, exclusivity, and networking opportunities. Solicitations for unrestricted funds don’t often appeal to this group – they want to know how their donation will make an impact. They want to meet the experts who will use their donation. They also want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to look around the room and see like-minded philanthropists who are all at the same stage in life and have rallied together to make a difference. They want to share their involvement with their peers and get them engaged as well. We see this in donors who come together to build a house or school or participate in a team fundraising event, but now we’re starting to see it in major gifts programs.

What we’re doing at SickKids Foundation is challenging young professionals to think big – to make an investment through a program that will see them surrounded by their peers, that will give them access to the organization’s leadership, and that will allow them to make a collective impact. The result of listening to this demographic is SickKids Innovators which saw 20 individuals invest $100,000 in an underfunded priority of the hospital last year.

Access to the hospital’s leadership and exclusive experiences isn’t free. In terms of stewarding this group of young professional donors, we do have to bend the rules or adapt the conventional donor matrix to develop meaningful events and opportunities. What we have to keep in mind is that we listen to what will engage this group. As they progress in their careers, with the philanthropic seeds planted, their involvement can expand to additional gifts through cause marketing campaigns or third party events enhancing their commitment to the organization.

Today, fundraisers need to adapt our traditional ways of engaging donors, especially as we work with groups of like-minded philanthropists, such as young professionals. What we need to do is listen, create, engage and then wait patiently for the results, if not today, then definitely tomorrow.

Colin Hennigar is an Associate Director on the Major Gifts Team at SickKids Foundation. Prior to joining SickKids Foundation in 2010, Colin held a number of roles at the Royal Ontario Museum Governors Office. Colin graduated from the University of Toronto with a Double Major in Fine Art History and Classical Civilizations and a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies. He will be speaking at Fundraising Day 2014 on May 28th in Toronto. You can follow Colin on Twitter @travellercolin 

Posted by & filed under Leadership/Management, Metrics.

Brian Emmett, Chief Economist, Imagine Canada

Results definition and management are hot topics these days, given additional attention by the recent decision of the Hewlett Foundation to cease funding “groups that provide research on philanthropic strategies that produce measurable results.” (Hewlett Ends Effort to Get Donors to Make Dispassionate Choices on Giving) Amidst the wide and understandable debate about the Hewlett decision, some of the fundamentals at stake are at risk of drifting into a distant mist.

As Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in the Government of Canada, I was impressed with the auditor’s motto: “What gets measured gets done”. This struck me as a simple but profound management insight. It was a neat explanation of why environmental values – so important to Canadians in general – were routinely neglected in government and private decision making. The underlying causes were measurement and management; that is, these values were often intangible and difficult to measure and to incorporate in management frameworks.

Measure more, measure better

It followed that one key way to improve performance in this area was not to make ever more sincere promises about doing better, but to turn to the difficult and demanding process of developing stronger measures of environmental quality. This would lead to better management and decisions that produce the results Canadians value. Conversely, measuring less or measuring badly would lead to approaches that were at best inefficient and at worst counterproductive. Now that I am working as Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector, I find these insights equally applicable to many social programs with their hard to measure objectives such as equity and justice.

The emphasis on results definition and management is now widespread in government where some of the best work on developing results is being done and where results-based approaches are being used in the design and development of a wide range of government programs. This insight underlies the movement to create social investment partnerships between government, charities and the private sector where it is thought a major benefit would be the access to private sector experience with innovative metrics and management. It is an insight which appeals directly to a younger generation of potential donors who have grown up in the metrically oriented knowledge economy.

Stronger focus on metrics generationally driven?

Leaving aside the thorny question of whether existing donors respond to measurement of results, metrics will become more important over time. First, all of we (charities, government and private sector) are being relentlessly pressured to be more efficient and effective and to manage a wider range of social, environmental and economic issues. Better metrics are an important tool – a necessary but not sufficient condition – for making the improvements that society is demanding. Second, we have to be aware of today’s and tomorrow’s donors. I haven’t noticed that the younger generation is any less committed to social and charitable issues than is my boomer cohort. However, they are a lot more accustomed to using metrics when making decisions.

An emphasis on results is a win/win. Measurement can lead to better management and more impact per charitable dollar and appeal to a new more metrically oriented generation. The bottom line is that the results movement is here to stay – and to grow.

Mr. Emmett is an economics graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Essex in England. He was Canada’s first Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in the late 1990s. He also served as Vice-President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in the early 2000s and has been an Assistant Deputy Minister in a number of federal government departments. He will be participating in the Plenary Panel at Fundraising Day 2014 on May 28th in Toronto.
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Posted by & filed under Leadership/Management, Mentorship, Networking.

Paul Nazareth, Philanthropic Advisor
Scotia Private Client Group 

solar-system-orbits

Me personally, I make it point to observe the careers of business people I admire.I study people who have achieved what I value in life – and I then I ask them for advice on how they did it. Often the more brilliant ones have confessed to me that although their career looks like a straight line it was more like a squiggle and when it came to mentors they didn’t have just one, but many. What does a multi-mentoring universe look like?

Let’s explore…

Just above the atmosphere are your digital teachers.  With today’s interconnected world of Twitter and LinkedIn, like satellites they are transmitting educational articles daily. World leaders, great CEOs, authors, journalists and great fundraisers from the around the globe are now serving as social mentors more often.

Mentors are all around you, it doesn’t need to be a formal mentoring relationship. Like that person at work whose advice and guidance you value, good mentors are people who add value. In this orbit too are the formal mentoring programs like through AFP, other professional associations, your alumni programs and local community organizations.

Further out are the big planets. The leaders you have access to but see less frequently, you need a couple of these experienced people. Deep thinkers with lots of experience. Maybe you only see them twice a year but they will help guide your way in critical decisions of career and ethics. Here’s a great read on how to find mentors like these.

Remember too that you need to be in the orbits of others – let me confess it’s not about ‘giving back’. Younger professionals, or mentoring people outside your professional network bring big value. New ideas, new skills (like coaching on things like technology and social media), new contacts. You have a lot to give but what you get back is of serious career value too. Don’t just be nice, consider the give and take to make it an equal partnership of learning.

Key traits of these successful people I observe though, is that they reach out to mentors outside their field of work and manage these relationships carefully. A great phrase I once heard was, we need to create a personal board of directors. Want to get recruit more board members of your own? Consider using the new web platform Ten Thousand Coffees or ask for referrals from your current mentors.

It need not be a lot of effort. An excel spreadsheet, using LinkedIn’s new contact management software or just your calendar – but be sure to schedule it and prepare for the meeting. Here are some more mentoring resources and articles to help you as you build your mentoring relationships and network.

Remember there is NEVER a good time or enough time to find and spend time with mentors. Come out to events held by AFP Greater Toronto Chapter to meet and spend time with yours!

PN2013Paul Nazareth is a former charity fundraiser turned philanthropic advisor with Scotia Private Client Group. Networking as an AFP member has had a big impact on his career and he is obsessed about helping peers do better and live better through connecting with each other. Find him on the web or follow him on Twitter at @UinvitedU. Connect with Paul and other mentors at AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s April 29th Mentor Meet ‘n Greet Event.

Posted by & filed under Corporate/Sponsorship, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications.

Jennifer Jones, MBA, Director, Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

I recently was on a panel at an AFP session on the topic of what corporations are looking for from their charity partners. The room was full which was a pleasant surprise and yet, also disappointing. It’s 2014 – why are we still learning to navigate these critical relationships? Building successful partnerships is hardly a new concept yet it was a lively discussion. Here are some of the key insights.

Charities, follow the process: If a corporation asks you to follow a specific process to submit a grant or a sponsorship request, please do that. We’ve given this process a lot of thought. When you honour it, you have the opportunity to put your best foot forward. And maybe, as you start the process you’ll realize how poor a fit the partnership would be and you’ve saved yourself – and me – time. And that’s a good thing considering how time strapped we both are. There’s a misconception that corporations have big teams and big money but believe it or not most of us run really lean – I run Indigo’s social responsibility portfolio as a team of two.

Leverage relationships: Sure, you can use your network to jump the queue – maybe one of your Board members knows my CEO – in fact, that’s very smart. But it’s not a guarantee. Thankfully most executives these days understand we have a strategic focus, which isn’t overridden because of relationships. Our cause is children’s literacy and no matter how much an executive might love dolphins, we’re not redirecting funding for dolphin research! What that introduction will do is expedite the conversation and we’ll both figure out, probably with a quick phone call, if there’s a potential partnership to explore.

Date 1 introductions: If we meet in person to dig a little deeper, please don’t come with what you believe is the solution for how we’re going to work together. Slow down, after all, this is only our first date! Show that you’ve done your research about our organization, as I have done about yours. This is the time to really understand each other’s business goals and how working together can be mutually beneficial. This is the time for both sides to come with thought starters and have the other react to them. This is the time to decide: do we go on date two?

Date 2 and beyond: Assuming our goals are aligned, we’ll keep dating as we dig deep to develop our goals and strategic plan. You’ll have to trust me to sell it internally so we get the resources we need to be successful. After all, as a team of only 2, or 4 or 5, corporate foundations and CSR teams lean heavily on the corporate resources to run a successful partnership.

A beautiful marriage: When we’re committed partners, like in any relationship, the work isn’t done. There needs to be clear and consistent communication on progress and results as originally agreed upon. And if all those criteria are met, then this could turn into a beautiful marriage. After all the time and effort put into the partnership, that’s what we really hope for. It’s way more productive than always being on date number one!

Corporations, pay it forward: if your first date doesn’t work out, consider introducing the charity to organizations you think would be a good fit. If I don’t have anyone in mind, I often suggest a quick brainstorm session over the phone to identify untapped opportunities. Yes, it reflects well on me and Indigo but it also is just the right thing to do and it’s one more way I can pay it forward.

Lastly… I just received this question from the organizer of an event bringing together a NFP and its charity and corporate partners.“What changes have you seen in the role of partnerships between nonprofits and corporations, and what in direction do you see these partnerships heading?” My answer? As charities are increasingly able demonstrate their social impact I feel the power imbalance between charities and corporations is slowly starting to equalize. And I’m all for it.

Jennifer spent her early years in marketing communications, across industries in Toronto and Asia. She worked at CIBC Small Business marketing and sponsorship and then joined the CIBC Corporate Sponsorship team to run the CIBC Run for the Cure and Weekend to End Breast Cancer. Jennifer joined Indigo six years ago with responsibility for Indigo’s social investments, overseeing the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation and the launch of Adopt a School, Indigo’s first cause marketing program, which unites stores, schools and their communities to puts books into the hands of children across Canada. 

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 Congress, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Alan Clayton, Director, Clayton Burnett Ltd.

If it doesn’t, I’m leaving.

Human emotions are complicated and infinite in their variety and combinations. I was asked recently by a journalist ‘Does guilt have a place in fundraising?’ I asked her, ‘please define guilt.’ When she failed to do so, I politely declined the interview. Of course guilt has a place in fundraising as does every emotion that anyone is capable of experiencing and transmitting.

‘Guilt’ is only a hair’s breadth away from ‘pity,’ which in itself is only a razor’s width away from ‘compassion.’ Only a judgmental fool would try and define the difference and preach to us which of our emotions is acceptable and which is not. What I feel as guilt, you may feel as compassion and someone else may feel as religious duty. We are all right.

live-laugh-loveFor fundraising to succeed, and for donors to have the experience of it they deserve, a gamut of emotions is involved. The donor journey is a repeating loop of:

• ‘Reward’ emotion.

• ‘Need’ emotion.

• (rational pause to check out the facts.)

• Gift.

The power of the need emotion is the cause of much controversy, of course. It’s a debate we should have widely in our sector. I look forward to it. Read more »

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

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Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE, Principal, Joyaux Associates

canaryinthecoalmine

Toronto colleague Cathy Mann says: “I think fundraising is the canary in the coal mine for the organization.”

Brilliant!

If fundraising isn’t going well, what does that say? Maybe the fundraiser doesn’t know the body of knowledge. Maybe the chief executive doesn’t listen to the fundraiser. Maybe the board and its members are lost in space when it comes to fund development. Maybe the quality of your program isn’t what it used to be.

Most fundraising problems are not really fundraising problems. They are problems elsewhere in the institution. But those problems elsewhere do impact fundraising. For example, unhelpful board members are a recruitment and performance problem. And sometimes a chicken problem… because the organization won’t fire lousy board members. Read more »