“Leave something behind, be curious, and surround yourself with good people”.
These are simply a few of the takeaways I left Fundraising Day 2019 with; and as a first-time attendee I can confidently say that as I boarded the Lakeshore West train I was heading back home with a number of new tools in my fundraising toolkit.
I am early on in my career as a professional fundraiser, and have been a member of the AFP for less than a year. Always eager to learn and improve my skill-set I decided that it was time for me dig deeper and dive into my fundraising education. So naturally I found myself on AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day 2019 website, hovering over the “complete registration” button. At first I was a bit hesitant as not only would I not know anyone, this would be the first time I’ve attended an event like this. Of course, I could hear the little fundraiser voice in the back of my head saying “you won’t know unless you ask”, or in this case, attend. So after debating over which sessions I wanted to participate in I found myself looking at that same registration button, and clicked.
May 30, 2019 – I was at a conference today filled with around 500 attendees from small to large not-for profit organizations. The conference, called Fundraising Day and appropriately themed “The Fabric of Fundraising” in celebration of its 25th year, was organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter. I made remarks at one of the sessions at the conference about the importance for fundraisers to understand the changing fabric of Canada.
Canada now has over 40,000 immigrants every year and 7.1 million Canadians’ mother tongue is neither English nor French. By 2036, 34% of Canadians will be multicultural consumers. Charities and not-for-profit organizations have to understand that their current and future donations, sponsorships, volunteers and employees will come from these immigrants. Fundraisers need to adapt their fundraising and marketing strategies to the fast changing demographics. With that being said, I wonder how many of them have hit some roadblocks along the way before they realized they need a different approach to this unique audience segment.
The Chinese, for example, are known for their charitable giving and generosity, but they are not keen to give just because you have a good cause. With so many good causes, how can you push the right buttons to get results? Many organizations make the mistake of asking before the right relationships have been built. From my own personal history and experience, I have learned that doing business with the Chinese requires building positive relationships and trust. This same principle applies to fundraising in the Chinese community (and in the sector at large). While immigrant Chinese are trying to integrate into the Canadian culture, it is important to keep in mind that most were brought up with a very different set of values, which still shape how they think and behave.
So, how do we embrace these values and diversity in our fundraising?
Ann Rosenfield shares her thoughts on how the sector has changed over the past 25 years…
You’ve come a long way, baby. Maybe.
“Let’s face it. Women are not major donors.” said the head of fundraising in my first job in 1994. Some things have sure improved since then while other areas are the same, or worse. In honour of this year’s Fundraising Day throwback theme, here’s what’s what in our profession then and now.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
What’s with us fundraisers and planned giving? In 1994, fundraisers were always trying to carve out some time for planned giving with limited success. The same issue still seems true today. As a sector, we still seem to think this is something to focus on tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. This short-sighted approach is part of a continuing problem with an over-emphasis on immediate revenue over long-term growth and stability.
Meanwhile direct mail has proved the doomsayers wrong! Back in 1994, you would have heard all kinds of workshops on how direct mail was going to disappear. While mail has changed with the times, paper letters in paper envelopes are still an important part of a fundraising strategy.
In 1994 all jobs were permanent, full-time positions with benefits and pensions. The rise of contract employment has meant that young professionals (and even senior leaders) find themselves in unstable employment today. This is bad for us as professionals and bad for the field. In a sector that is supposed to provide solutions to social problems, it is inexcusable that an increasing segment of our employees can’t enjoy stable, secure employment with benefits. Read more »
Those who are interested in fundraising and want to know all about the important aspects of it can get really valuable information from fundraising blogs. The confusing part is that there are so many blogs which are concerned with this topic that it is hard to pick the best ones.
For this purpose, I have done some research and surfaced 7 best fundraising blogs for 2019 that offer inspiration, good ideas, and informative content. If you want a high-quality education in fundraising these are the blogs you should look into.
The AFP Toronto Blog (the one you’re currently reading) – As the largest AFP Chapter in the world, the AFP Toronto blog hosts content that benefits both members and non-members to provide varied resources for today’s fundraisers and those working in the non-profit sector. The Chapter also frequently accepts submissions from guest contributors to provide an array of diverse perspectives from people working directly in the field! Interested in contributing? Contact email@example.com to find out more.
Charities have a harder job than most when it comes to their marketing. While most brands offer their customers something in return for their custom, charities have to appeal to their donors’ generosity to see donations — easier said than done.
Charities need to up their game to see results. As a consequence, their marketing campaigns are often creative, innovative, and truly inspiring. Here are four of the best (and what you can learn from them).
Back in 2014, the UK-based charity Save The Children partnered with creative agency Don’t Panic to arguably create the most hard-hitting marketing campaign on this list. Titled If London Were Syria (or Most Shocking Second a Day on YouTube), the first ad followed the life of a London schoolgirl whose life is turned upside-down when a civil war erupts in the UK. Created to bring the plight of Syrian child refugees to an otherwise distant audience, the ad was followed up two years later by another video following the same girl as she continues to survive in a war-torn UK.
What you can learn from it: charities often work with terrible events or situations that seem unimaginable to western audiences.
War, genocide, and even domestic issues such as homelessness are incomprehensible to most donors. But by making these things relatable to your audience, even by forcing them to painfully confront these issues as Save The Children did, you’ll create an effective and impactful marketing campaign. Read more »
AFP Toronto’s Congress was an empowering and highly personal experience that is changing my outlook towards the fundraising sector. But it didn’t start off that way.
It started with my arms crossed against my chest and my mouth drawn tightly into a straight line. It was a frown to be honest, but it could have been mistaken for concentration.
Hadiya Roderique was giving the first plenary speech at Congress, Canada’s premiere educational forum for fundraisers. Ms. Roderique’s experience as a black lawyer on Bay Street made front page news of the Globe and Mail last fall, and here, her powerful and informed speech tackled the racism and exclusion present in Canada’s corporate culture. Her observations, statistics and personal experience brought the conference’s theme, “Disrupt Philanthropy” sharply into focus. It showed that philanthropic culture in Canada was not immune to the “-isms” that affect other sectors. For me it touched a nerve that I was used to covering up.
“Why is she talking about this?” I thought. “We already know this! Just deal with it and move on!”
Well, that’s exactly what she was doing. Head on. I too am a black woman. I am a fundraiser working in Ottawa since 2005. I know what it feels like to be the only person of colour in a crowded room. But I don’t talk about it. Instead I’ve gotten used to the discomfort and moved on. But am I moving? Really?
Vanity A La Mode, in front of podium, disrupting philanthropy in all the right ways
In my previous article on AFP Congress 2018, we explored how charities can reverse declining revenues by delighting donors, more specifically, by personalizing communications, running experiential events, and designing frictionless webpages. Ultimately, it’s people that drive and nurture such decisions, but how do we facilitate this kind of innovation and disruption? We do it through transformational leadership which requires introspection followed by extrospection.
Kishshana Palmer, presenting on transformational leadership and emotional intelligence
In Kishshana Palmer‘s session, she focused on emotional intelligence (EI) and its ability to help us motivate, inspire, boost, and push others, in turn, helping us become transformational leaders. According to Ms. Palmer, EI can be broken down into four domains or competencies: self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. Although the framework is centred around emotions, I believe it’s a good general framework for all contributing aspects of transformational fundraising leadership. Read more »
Originally published on LinkedIn by Debra Thompson.
As I sit here on this unseasonably cold November day, I am reflective. This week, I spent 3 days in Toronto, starting very early Monday morning, at my very first AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Toronto Congress and I am in awe. Before I share why, let’s take a step back.
Earlier this year, I embarked on a quest to investigate my next career move. After over 20 years in corporate sales, it was time for a change. A shift in my way of thinking. It had been a rough 4 years, including family health issues, mom’s second cancer diagnosis and the suicide of my dad. I recognized it was time to reflect, recalibrate and regroup to decide on my future career choices. This explorative journey with my career coach, Barbara Wilson, of Thrive Career Coaching, by my side, landed me smack in the middle of the non-profit sector, and specifically, into the world of fundraising. I realized that my corporate sales skills were transferable and in alignment with my values as a lifelong volunteer and I had a strong desire to do good and give back. In conversations with some amazing non-profit sector leaders, all roads led to AFP. Read more »