In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Melissa Leite, Senior Development Coordinator at Tides Canada and an incredible member of the Fundraising Day 2017 Management Team to get the latest on what we can look forward to on June 8th!
AFP GTA: What is new and exciting about this year’s Fundraising Day program? Are there any highlights that should be on our radar?
Melissa: This year’s Fundraising Day program offers a strong roster of educational sessions that are both relevant to the fundraising profession, and address issues of importance here in Canada and abroad. This was my first year sitting on the Fundraising Day Committee and it was rewarding to see everyone’s ideas come together into the program that we have today. A highlight I am most passionate about is this year’s focus on diversity and inclusion. I’m proud of the fact that this year’s program is championing big ideas around diversity and inclusion in fundraising and features five sessions on the topic. As an alumnus of the AFP Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy program, I feel inspired and encouraged by AFP’s commitment to becoming inclusive and celebrating diversity.
AFP GTA: This year’s theme is In Every Idea is a Universe. We’re going to turn the question back to you: Where do good ideas come from?
Melissa: For me, good ideas come from having conversations and listening to diverse perspectives. No two ideas are the same, everyone has something unique to bring to the table. It’s the diversity of people’s experiences that can strengthen a good idea and create truly innovative solutions to today’s most pressing challenges.
AFP GTA: Fundraising professionals are generally quite open to sharing ideas and best practices from within their organizations with one another. Where do you think this culture of collaboration stems from?
Melissa: I think this culture of collaboration stems from the type of work that we do and the type of people it attracts. Fundraisers are responsible for creating strategies, cultivating meaningful relationships, and raising funds to create durable solutions to address societal issues. There is an inherent desire to do good in the world. I think this desire to serve and give back also translates into wanting to support our peers. Fundraising can at times be challenging, it requires creativity, fresh ideas and perspectives, and the ability to adapt and seek out new sources of funding. Sharing good ideas is the only way we will continue to be successful as a profession and build on the best practices that exist today.
AFP GTA: If you were going to give a Fundraising Day participant one piece of advice on how to maximize their experience there, what would it be?
Melissa: Attend as many sessions as you can and participate in the full day of activities. Come to Fundraising Day with an open mind and ready to meet fundraisers from all walks of life. This is your day to learn, reboot, and to be re-inspired. Seize the day and come prepared to share ideas and build on what you already know.
About Melissa Leite:
Melissa Leite is a senior development coordinator at Tides Canada, an innovative charity that supports people in building healthy, vibrant communities that have the social, economic, and natural capital to steward their environments for generations to come. In her role, Melissa is responsible for leadership annual giving and supports all aspects of major gifts fundraising. She holds an honours degree in Public Policy and Administration from York University and a postgraduate certificate in Public Policy and Administration from Humber College.