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 »

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

Bernie Colterman, Managing Partnereducate-your-employees

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

As the competition for philanthropic dollars increases, more and more nonprofit organizations are looking at sponsorship as an alternate revenue source to more traditional fundraising methods. However, the transition to the marketing-based approach that is required for sponsorship-driven revenue is not easy for many organizations because it requires a mind-set that is radically different from traditional models. Some of these challenges include:

  • Working with large numbers of stakeholders who do not understand sponsorship and how it is different from the philanthropic environment;
  • Establishing “fair market value” for organizational assets;
  • Unrealistic expectations of what revenue can be expected (and when) from various opportunities;
  • Limited internal expertise to market and deliver the program; and,
  • A “business-oriented” culture that is typically not in line with the entrepreneurial approach required to market, negotiate and deliver on sponsorship agreements.  Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Major/Planned Gifts, Marketing/Communications, Speakers.

Trevor Zimmer, CFRE
Major Gifts Communications Specialist, 
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

A $250M donation is a pretty big deal, especially for a small college like Centre College, in Danville, Ky. They recently made a lot of waves for this donation, but unfortunately it was for the wrong reason. Apparently the donation was contingent on a “significant capital market event”, that being $3.4 billion loan deal involving  a large privately held company that provides software and services to car dealers. When the deal did not happen the gift that was promised, faded away.

The problem is, the College had made the gift public already. One lesson here is that perhaps it is better to hold off on making announcements on large gifts until they are actually in the bank. Of course we trust donors and their pledges, but often the financial markets rule, and those are things that cannot be trusted. I wonder if someone at the College lobbied to not announce it, and was overruled by a higher up? 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 Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Jennifer Auten, Resource Development Communications Amnesty International

I’m the first to admit that fundraising often doesn’t make sense to me. As a professed perfectionist with a Communications background, I tend to get excited about slick-looking, brief creative. In other words, it’s a good thing I’m not responsible for our Direct Mail program.

Fundraising laughs in the face of our assumptions. Here we are in this so-called paperless digital age, attached to smart phones that we rarely use as phones, and yet, where do we find our new donors? On the street, at their doors, in their mailboxes and (gasp!) on the phone. Read more »