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As a newly wed, much of the last year has been spent working and planning my wedding. Now that my wedding has passed, I have been reflecting on the many life lessons that the wedding planning process has taught me. Here are my top six learnings:

  1. People matter more than things: This is one of my Bubbie Helen’s (grandmother’s) favourite sayings (which my mother often reminded me of when I broke something around the house as a child). And it applies to both weddings and fundraising equally. You can have mountains of the finest flowers, fountains of champagne and a scrumptious, towering wedding cake but none of it matters if the people who you love most are not there to celebrate with you. Similarly, dazzling donors with glossy brochures and Academy Award worthy videos means little compared to building meaningful, personal long term relationships with those who give to your cause.
  2. Personal touches go a long way: My husband and I spent much time and energy figuring out how to make our wedding feel like us. It was those touches, big and small, that we and our guests loved most about our wedding. Your donors will not remember the flashy events you invite them to, but guaranteed they will keep a card you send them that has a dog that looks like theirs on the cover and read articles which you send them because you know they will be of personal interest.
  3. Don’t skimp on the hors d’oeuvres: Hungry wedding/event guests are angry guests! No further explanation necessary.
  4. Trust your partners: The early stages of the wedding planning process are often the hardest, because they involved finding vendors that you like and trust. They are key to ensuring your wedding is exactlyas you want it. The same is true in a fundraising shop, you must trust your colleagues, volunteers and the countless other stakeholders who are crucial to success in fundraising campaigns.
  5. A handwritten, heartfelt thank you note never goes out of style: Always send out hand written, personal thank you cards in a timely manner. There is not a person inthis world who does not appreciate being thanked. Whether it’s for a wedding gift or ongoing organizational support, those 5 minutes you spend writing the card will pay dividends in your relationships.
  6. Always keep the bigger picture in mind: And last but most importantly, don’t get bogged down in the process. Weddings are stressful to plan and it’s easy and natural to get overwhelmed by the endless decisions and details. Fundraising campaigns are no different. But in both cases, the key is to always keep the bigger picture in mind. Throughout the process, when we got stressed, we stopped, took a deep breath and reminded each other how excited we were to marry each other. When a campaign deadline is looming, take this simple advice. Pause, take a deep breath, and remember how much good your cause is doing. You will get through it.

 

Hava Goldberg is a passionate fundraiser and community builder who is currently the Senior Development Officer, Community Engagement at the Sinai Health Foundation. She is a proud alumunus of the University of Guelph and holds a Masters in Non-Profit Management (specializing in Jewish Communal Services) from Spertus College (Chicago). Hava has worked in the non-profit sector for nine years and in fundraising for the last four years. She has been an active volunteer and fundraiser for as long as she can remember.

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That’s china, with a lower case “c” as in a set of fancy, old plates, not the country. Allow me to explain, this morning on my commute to work, I read yet another article about how Millennials are eschewing their parents’ Royal Doulton figurines and heirloom china in favour of minimalist lifestyles. Apparently this applies even to the lucky few who are home owners. The article, like many others that have been written over the last few years, suggests that this is the case because Millennials value experiences more than things (especially Instagrammable experiences).

This is a lesson that we, in the fundraising sector, must take to heart. As fundraisers, it is crucial that we take our cues from the daily habits of our donors outside of the non-profit sector. Newsflash, human behavior does not change drastically simply because someone is giving to a good cause!

As a 30-something year old, who often has to remind others she’s a Gen Y not a Millennial, I can tell you that I have far too often received fundraising appeals that are directed at someone twice my age. Return address labels, greeting cards, key chains…ugh! If I don’t want my family’s tchotchkes, do you think I want yours unnamed but well intentioned non-profit?!

It’s high time for us to start segmenting by age and stage of life when it comes to our mid-level giving strategies. Millennial and Gen Y donors have no interest in freebies. Indeed, receiving these things may make donors under the age of 35 less likely to continue to give to your cause. Subsequently, this will likely cause them to question how you are spending their hard earned donations.

Instead, we must start speaking to them in a way that appeals to them. Why not send them an invitation to experience your cause in a hands on manner? For example, if you work for a health based charity that partakes in research & care, plan an opportunity for donors to do basic health science experiments with some of the young researchers. I assure you from my own experience, not only will your young professional donors relish this opportunity to deepen their understanding of the cause, they will Instagram, Tweet and Facebook about it and create fantastic earned publicity for your cause.

These opportunities exist within many non-profit organizations but are often offered exclusively to major donors who are frankly so saturated with opportunities to don fake scrubs or swing a hammer that they often do not attend or appreciate these events. Reimagining these events could allow you to organically grow young professional ambassadors for your cause. And we all know how much Millennials love anything organic…

Hava Goldberg is a passionate fundraiser and community builder who is currently the Senior Development Officer, Community Engagement at the Sinai Health Foundation. She is a proud alumunus of the University of Guelph and holds a Masters in Non-Profit Management (specializing in Jewish Communal Services) from Spertus College (Chicago). Hava has worked in the non-profit sector for nine years and in fundraising for the last four years. She has been an active volunteer and fundraiser for as long as she can remember.

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Next Generation Philanthropy, Uncategorized.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter is proud to announce Samantha Banks, Director of Operations and Development at The House as the 2016 New Fundraising Professional Award recipient.

Samantha Banks
Director of Operations and Development
The House

Samantha is an enthusiastic and inspiring fundraiser with a deep commitment to the fundraising profession.  As she says, “There are so many incredible professionals who have dedicated their lives to the philanthropic sector.  It is a tremendous honour to be recognized as one of them.”

After only two years working at The House, Samantha has tremendously helped to raise the profile of the organization. She has significantly increased young adult programming and engagement and raised corporate sponsorship three-fold for their marquee event JEDx. Samantha has added a new level of flair and creativity while keeping true to the mission and vision of the charity.

In addition to her impressive day job at The House, Samantha is known for her tireless commitment to improving the non-profit sector through her volunteer work.  She has made vital contributions to AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, as well as Sinai Health Foundation, Toronto Public Library Foundation, and Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.   As a Contemporary Dance Major (BFA) at Concordia University, she was President of Hillel Concordia, Hillel Montreal and the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students.

Samantha is passionate about supporting networking events and conferences that bring young professionals together and build community.   As Chair, Next Gen Philanthropy Advisory Committee, she was instrumental in planning the AFP Next Gen Philanthropy Conference (March 2014), as part of the Diversity to Inclusion Series – a groundbreaking initiative organized by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. This conference brought together philanthropists, community leaders, fundraisers and volunteers in an effort to start a conversation about how charities are working with the next generation of philanthropists in Ontario.

She has demonstrated her dedication to the fundraising profession by being an active member of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s Marketing, Membership & Communications Committee (present), and on AFP Ottawa Chapter’s Board of Directors.  Samantha has also shared her expertise by presenting at Congress (2014) and Fundraising Day Ottawa (2013), and serving as a moderator at the International Conference (2014).

Samantha says, “I consider myself fortunate to get the chance to be in the same room as those who have carved the path of what philanthropy looks like today and those who are shaping what it will look like tomorrow.”   She is now recognized as one of the top young professionals who will help shape the future of the fundraising profession in Toronto.  Samantha is a graduate of the Humber Fundraising and Volunteer Management Program, and plans to go for her CFRE in 2016/2017.

When asked what she values most about fundraising, she answered: “The people. The characters who walk through the door just wanting to give. The passionate personalities of the volunteers on the ground. The loyal attendees who support rain or shine. The fearless people who have made this industry their career.”  Samantha is an inspiration with an incredible career ahead of her.    As Samantha always says, “I will continue to change lives until the day people stop changing mine.”

Background

Established in 2001, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter New Fundraising Professional Award recognizes a full-time fundraising professional who has displayed exceptional talent and demonstrated outstanding achievement early in his/her career. The recipient has between two and five years of experience in fundraising and is selected through submissions from Chapter members. The award encompasses career achievements, long and short term career objectives, personal volunteer service and a commitment to the profession.

About AFP

AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is a recognized leader in promoting philanthropy and providing education, training and best practices for those in the fundraising profession. With more than 1200 members, the Greater Toronto Chapter is the largest of the more than 244 AFP chapters throughout the world.

Contact

Cynthia Quigley
Director, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
Tel: 416-941-9212
Email: cquigley@afptoronto.org

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Uncategorized.

When two friends and former clients simultaneously moved from one employer (which I will call Alpha) to a new employer (which I will call Beta), they already knew a lot about the new employer’s donors and prospects, because of their experience at Alpha. And they had collaborated on many major donor solicitations.

This presented an ethical dilemma for them. Standard No. 18 in the AFP’s Code of Ethics says “Members shall adhere to the principle that all donor and prospect information created by, or on behalf of,

an organization or a client is the property of that organization or client.”

The question put to me was: “How do we manage knowledge of donors when crossing to another organization? How do you ‘pretend’ to not know what you know?”

Here’s what I said (edited for confidentiality and length.)

That’s a tricky question. You know what you know.

We face this as consultants: we must studiously avoid porting any “proprietary” information from one client to another that might “improve” the result for the lower-performing charity. When we must, we can say “We can’t comment on that.” It works because we’re not making final solicitation decisions.

This will be harder for you.

The AFP principle is clear, but doesn’t speak to how you manage the accumulated knowledge you have. Always, the spirit of your effort is key, rather than the letter of a policy. But I propose these boundaries.

  • You can never report outside of Alpha what any Alpha donor has done or even that they are Alpha donors, unless that information is public.
  • You cannot approach specific Alpha donors with news of your move UNLESS you had relationships prior to joining Alpha.
  • You and your former/current colleague should never discuss the history of Alpha donors, even privately. That information is no longer yours.
  • You cannot comment to any Beta donor about his/her giving history at Alpha UNLESS the donor raises it.
  • Even if it wanted to, Alpha cannot give you a dispensation to build on its information for selected donors – in the end, it’s not their information.
  • You cannot create a prospect list for Beta based on donors you met through Alpha. Some other route to identifying and qualifying those prospects must be followed.
  • Because prospect identification and solicitation is part of your job, you must be honest with yourself about the prospect’s signs of interest/ affinity for the cause, and other parameters that would put someone new on the radar for your new employer, or elevate their priority. Involving others with no history of your former employer will help.
  • Ideally a legitimate ask amount will emerge organically through prospect identification, considering affinity, history and estimated capacity of the donor. Jacking up proposed ask amounts for certain Beta prospects based on their giving to Alpha violates confidentiality. It also mistakenly assumes that a donor weights each case the same way, when they certainly do not. Because your knowledge will undoubtedly be a factor in your own inner dialogue, involving other staff or even volunteers in setting ask amounts can protect you somewhat.
  • Once a prospect is legitimately identified for your new employer, and you know, for example, that the prospect likes breakfast meetings, it’s stupid to ignore that knowledge. It’s also stupid to flag your knowledge: keeping your own counsel is smart.

The passage of time will help. If a year from now you’ve diligently qualified a bunch of people who happen also to be Alpha donors, so be it. But if your first 10 calls are on Alpha donors not already known to Beta, you have a problem.

Exercise restraint. Do the work that would yield prospects. Create the profiles so you have a paper trail. Be scrupulous about what you talk about. Soon there will be no issue.

This is an interesting challenge. Few people likely care as much as you will – I always liked that about you.

So, what would you say? We know what and who we know. How do we ethically steward that information?

For more on Article 18 of the Ethics Code click here.

Larry Matthews

Larry Matthews, CFRE, is Vice-President of KMA Consultants Inc., which specializes in campaigns and pre-campaign studies, annual fund reviews, and major gift planning and coaching. Larry has been a fundraiser since 1983 and a consultant since 1995, with specialized expertise in case development, research among donors, and donor communications of all kinds. He writes an occasional blog which can be found at http://www.kmaconsultants.ca/  email to: lmatthews@kmaconsultants.ca