Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion, Special Events.

By John Paul de Silva – originally published on the Social Focus Consulting blog.

 

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 »

Posted by & filed under Campaign, Congress, Donor Centric, Donor communications, Inspiration, Marketing/Communications, Special Events.

By John Paul de Silva – originally published on the Social Focus Consulting blog.

 

Where all my social impact peeps at?!? What! What! I’m still hyped up over attending the astronomically amazing 2018 Association of Fundraising Professionals Congress which had the theme “DISRUPT Philanthropy.”

 

Why do we need to disrupt this sector? Caroline Riseboro, plenary speaker and President and CEO of Plan Canada, summed it up nicely, “A hyper-focus on major gifts is disguising the problem that we have an erosion of donors in the Canadian market. Philanthropy as a whole is on a decline.” And it’s no wonder given the challenge to get people’s attention, nevermind donations. We see 10,000 marketing messages a day while having an eight second attention span, according to Vanessa Landry, Director of Client Services at Fundraising Direct. That’s why we need disruption. We need new ideas, new ways of doing things, to advance the sector and keep being socially impactful.

 

Then, how do we become disruptive? We do it by delighting donors and through leadership. Delighting donors involves giving them an experience they can’t stop talking about, according to Jen Love, Partner at Agents of Good. When donors can’t stop talking about a positive experience, that leads to engagement, repeat donations, referrals to others, and ultimately growth for charities.

 

This first part of a two-part blog will cover how to delight donors. Based on my takeaways from attending some of the sessions and engaging with the #AFPCongress2018 feed, there are three main opportunities to delight donors: personalized communications, experiential events, and frictionless webpage design. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Donor communications, Marketing/Communications, Speakers, Special Events.

By Mo Waja

 

For many nonprofits, ‘marketing’ has been­ — and remains — a support tool for fundraising; its purpose, mainly to serve as a medium to get the fundraising message out there to as many prospective donors as possible, via social media or otherwise. But this limited use fails to capitalize on the opportunity of marketing. For nonprofits making more robust use of marketing and communications, the act of ‘marketing’ becomes everything from a branding exercise to a recruitment tool, to a way to connect with key stakeholders, to community engagement, to profile building, to storytelling.

 

But it’s that last, storytelling, that sits at the core of good marketing. No matter what message your organization is looking to put out into the world, the story you tell is the heart of how you express the need of your population, how you connect with your community of supporters, and how you show the continuous positive impact your organization has. The question is, how do you tell that story well?

 

 

The thing is, ‘telling a story well’ encompasses more than simply telling a good story that (hopefully) raises fundraising dollars. Why? Because every charitable organization owes a duty of care to the population they serve that goes beyond the good work provided.

 

This, how to market, advertise, or tell a nonprofit story well, has been a topic of much debate. While, broadly, we can agree that tapping into empathy and, from that, compassion, is a key component of generating giving behaviour through storytelling, the real question is how do we get there. One common way is the use of ‘shock’ campaigns depicting imagery of people in desperate circumstances. Yet this strategy has been used so frequently that it has almost become a cliché, while simultaneously becoming an unfortunate standard by which many fundraising campaigns are set, particularly those for international aid (think your classic imagery of impoverished, starving Africa). While, even today, these shock campaigns — often more harshly labeled ‘poverty porn’ — can undoubtedly be effective in soliciting short-term donations, the problems with this approach are multifold. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress, Inspiration, Opinion, Special Events.

By Tara Irwin, CFRE

 

With AFP Congress only a few weeks away, I’m starting to get excited to reconnect with my fundraising friends, meet some new contacts, and learn a few tips and tricks to help me excel in my role. While some people find conferences overwhelming (they are), with a little preparation, they can be very rewarding. Here’s what I like to do in order to maximize my Congress experience.

 

Meet People

Whether you’re planning to meet specific people or just chatting with the person beside you at lunch, Congress is the perfect opportunity to connect with other great minds in our sector. I like to have a couple of questions prepared, so I don’t feel like a robot asking everyone I meet the same thing. It’s okay to write down some notes, especially if there is a key person you’d like to chat with. I also like to connect with new contacts on LinkedIn right away. It’s a great platform to grow your network and communicate with like-minded professionals in the industry. Try to send a personal message noting where you met.

 

Be Present

This can be a hard one for all of us, especially when there is temptation to check your email constantly throughout the day. Since I’ve made the commitment to attend Congress and learn something new, I do my best to focus my attention on the session content instead of worrying what’s going on back at the office. I like to check my email in-between sessions, so not to be distracted from an interesting presentation or discussion. I use my out of office message to let people know that I’m at a conference learning something new that will help make me better at my job.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Career Development, Congress, Mentorship, Networking, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion, Special Events.

With Congress a little over a month away and the latest AFP Speaker Discovery Series (Special Pre-Congress Edition!) just around the corner, let’s talk speaking!

 

Every industry has speakers who are a staple within the events circuit, familiar figures on the conference stage; but what happens when the industry changes? Or those speakers start to retire? This year has seen a number of speakers new to the non-profit world or, in fact, new to speaking altogether take the stage – and this is in no small part due to the launch of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s Speaker Discovery Series (SDS).

 

Recently, Laura Champion, Chair of the Education Committee for Congress 2018 and Founder and Chair of the AFP Speaker Discovery Series, sat down with Mo Waja, one of our Congress 2018 Speakers, on the Let’s Talk Speaking podcast to discuss what speaking looks like in the non-profit sector, discovering new speaking talent, and how organizations within and beyond the non-profit industry can begin building their next generation of speakers.

 

Check out the episode below as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher, and don’t forget to buy your tickets for the next SDS – Special Pre-Congress edition happening on October 24!* 

 

 

*This edition of the Speaker Discovery Series is free for Congress delegates!

Learn more about our 2018 Congress sessions, speakers, and register here.

Posted by & filed under Inspiration, Speakers, Special Events.

By Yunis Kariuki

 

Now in its third edition, the Speaker Discovery Series (SDS) is becoming AFP Toronto’s premiere event showcasing the most promising upcoming speakers in the fundraising profession. Speakers come prepared to tell their personal stories in 8-minute speeches with no slide deck or props, and what transpires are powerful, emotional and dynamic presentations connected to the fundraising profession.

 

Each Speaker Discovery Series is centered around a theme chosen by the SDS Committee. Dilemma was chosen for this past Speaker Discovery Series, held in May at the Gladstone Hotel, on Queen and Dufferin. The speakers shared the difficult choices they faced in navigating the complexities of their careers and how they dealt with their choices. The presentation topics ranged from the fear of not speaking up, to dealing with racism in the workplace, professional struggles and successes with Asperger’s, making the decision to walk away from a successful career opportunity, and finally, the challenges non-profits face when marketing vulnerable populations. What made each of the presentations so captivating was the speakers’ ability and skill in storytelling. The speakers’ stories contained conflict and struggle that kept the audience curious about what will happen next. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Speakers, Special Events.

The night featured seven new storytellers and had an unprecedented turnout (over one-hundred listeners!)

I had the good fortune of joining this project on the ground floor. My president at Stephen Thomas Ltd, Paula Attfield, introduced me to this brand-new committee and provided my credentials for working at various nonprofit mixers and conferences in the past. The Speaker Discovery Series (or, as the cool kids say, SDS) was the brainchild of Laura Champion – Fundraising Strategist at fellow agency Blakely Inc.

Laura saw that a few rungs were missing on the ladder to the speaking circuit in fundraising and nonprofit marketing. A lot of untapped talent was just waiting for an opportunity to hit the stage, share a story, and build their portfolio as presenters. The plan was simply to give new speakers that audience and provide a few coaches for valuable professional feedback.

But what Laura didn’t know was just how successful her idea would become.

The first night of this series took place in July of 2017 and it was a marvelous proof of concept – we were proud to see nearly fifty people attend and thoroughly enjoy the night. It was fresh, they’d say. Grassroots, candid, offbeat. And they couldn’t wait to attend another.

Our committee regrouped and began planning. We wanted each event to have a theme and decided our second night would encourage people to share ‘Whoops’ stories from their fundraising careers. Pobody’s nerfect. And we wanted to celebrate that fact.

It was a fitting theme choice because numerous mistakes and surprises were ahead of us. A confirmed speaker ended up having a conflict; there was a miscommunication with our venue and they ended up cancelling our reservation; one of our coaches caught the flu and cancelled at the last minute; and finally, one of our committee members ended up having to drop out. Life happens. I’m sure you can relate. Best-laid plans, and all of that.

Somehow everything still fell into place… New volunteers stepped up, we continued to promote and fine-tune the event, and (to our amazement) it was going to be more than twice as popular as our first night of the series.

Yes, over a hundred people filled our space. Our new venue, the Gladstone hotel, provided a room that delightfully resembled a swank comedy club. Our speakers got a stage with a bare-brick backdrop and rows of theatre-style seats filled with peers, colleagues, and new friends. A few stories earned an uproar of laughter and others compelled misty-eyed contemplation. And, as a committee member, I opened the night for our speakers with an ice-breaker story about when data goes hilariously wrong.

This evening was such a hit, in fact, that you may hear about other Speaker Discovery Series starting up at other AFP chapters across Canada. I’m proud to be on this pioneering committee alongside Sam Barr, Jess Wroblewski, Yunis Kariuki, Dela Kumapley, and our champion Laura who invited us all along with her.

Our next event is May 9th so mark your calendars now. Stay tuned for other details. If you missed the first two nights of this series, you can file that under ‘Whoops’ and we will hope to see you next time. And if you do want to catch up, you’ll be pleased to hear that we recorded a podcast of the big night and you can listen to it here.

Interested in speaking? The Call for Speakers will be coming soon.  If you are nervous about submitting – please reach out, as we’re always happy to have a chat.

 

Scott Jeffries
Stephen Thomas Ltd.

Scott is a senior manager specialized in data brokerage at Stephen Thomas Ltd. He is also on the committee responsible for the annual Digital Leap conference. While Scott’s background was originally book publishing – with a specialization in sales & marketing – he has redirected his passion into a unique career using analytics and tenacity to connect charities with their ideal prospective donor audience. In his free time, Scott runs a monthly discussion group for science and philosophy enthusiasts. And he’s a donor to (or participant in) every charity walk that’s brought to his attention.