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As we look to the future, there is no doubt that some who are presently in their formal educational years, will be the leaders of the future in our sector.

AFP believes in cultivating and supporting young and emerging professionals as part of its mission to advance philanthropy by enabling people and organizations to practice effective and ethical fundraising.

To engage students and to enhance their educational experience, AFP offered special student rate to make Congress accessible to these emerging young leaders.

This year, over 50 students joined us as part of the over 960 Congress delegates and we’d love to learn about their Congress experience.

I hope some will share it here!

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Yesterday, at Congress, we ran a twitter contest for delegates to share their best ideas they heard so far. Thanks for your thoughts!

To build on the idea and to create a more lasting record, I’m asking people to share at least one thing they learned.

There are several for me but Dr. Judith Nichols (I’ve been a fan for years) is such an authority in learning us learn about implications of demographics, and translating the target audiences to your fundraising programs. Dynamite!

What were your favourites?

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Within the Congress Community, there are a number of groups that enjoy getting together to meet new friends and talk about specific topics.

On Monday, November 30th, we have organized 6 rooms, each with a specific topic including:

– Small Shops
– Diversity
– Stewardship
– Success Stories
– Job Hunting
– open topics

This is a new format and we’d like your feedback on how to make these conversations meaningful!

Any ideas anyone would like to share?

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We’re listening!

At past conferences you have told us that you not only value the great education and thought provoking discussions at the formal sessions at Congress. You have also said that networking is important. (We’re a community, after all!)

We know it is not always easy to simply walk up to someone and start talking. Last year, I was talking to one young professional who expressed hesitance to introduce herself to an experienced executive she wanted to meet. After introduced them, they ended up having great discussion and the more senior of the two also said she appreciated the introduction.

The Congress Committee wanted to figure out a way to enable many more such introductions and decided to introduce a new door opener.

Our new name badges will clearly show your name but also space at the bottom where you can fill in.
“Ask me about…”
1.
2.
3.

What will your three topics be? They can be serious, or something you’re passionate about.

Here are some I am thinking about.
Ask me about…
1. Engagement marketing
2. Cause-consumers
3. My passion for chocolate

We are looking forward to seeing you on Monday! It’s going to be a great conference!

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For those who don’t subscribe to “The Agitator” news blog, yesterday they wrote about the results of their 2010 Fundraising Plans (where charities plan to invest in 2010). While this study was broader than Canada, I thought it interesting that among their respondents:
– 55% said they will spend more on online giving
– 51% on major gifts
– 33% who plan to spend more on DM
– 22% on events.

Some questions that crossed my mind relating to the line up for our educational conferences include:
– How does Congress education line up to your needs?
– From your perspective, are your priorities changing?
– Where is your organization investing in 2010?
– Do we need to add new topics to meet the areas where you are investing?

Congress is almost here. We have tried to listen to your past comments but we want you to keep them coming.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Mark

P.S. You can find The Agitator article I referenced above at http://www.theagitator.net/

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Last week, I had a most interesting conversation with a colleague about the value we get out of conferences.

We spoke about the typical things we go to conference for, like:
“I always take away one or two ideas that pay for the conference 5 times over!” or,

“The networking is great because I can discuss big challenges with my colleagues (…not to mention making new friends and connections!”

I added that the “change of pace” away from the office is important to me, even as I am learning. It helps me take a deep breath and gives me new energy, and a fresh perspective.

“In fact,” I confided, “I often have two pages open in front of me – one for taking notes on the session I am sitting in – and the second, to sketch out a strategy for some work-related deadline I am facing.”

My friend immediately LOL. “You do that too? I wrote one of my best proposals ever during a completely unrelated workshop! And I learned something at the session too.”

While I am not a proponent of being AWOL when at a conference, I was reminded we all need professional time away from the office. It is energizing and gives us a fresh perspective…and a great learning opportunity.

We’ve designed Congress just for this purpose.

I can’t wait for Congress. And you? What are your “other” reasons for getting away to Congress?

Have a great week!

Mark Hierlihy
Congress Chair

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We know this has been a challenging year for many charities and the funds to attend good conferences are not always available. For this reason, AFP works with sponsors to help provide free opportunities to attend Congress on Nov 30, December 1,2 in Toronto. (www.afptoronto.org/congress)

Pareto Fundraising is passionate about helping charities grow. One of the best ways to do that is through training and professional development to help enable you to be a better fundraiser so you can raise more funds and make the world a better place faster.

We are excited that Pareto Fundraising is offering 4 full
AFP Congress passes to fundraisers who would otherwise not be able to attend. Each pass covers the registration fee (excluding travel and hotel) for the full three days of Congress.

We invite you to go to their website to learn more about how to apply.
http://www.paretofundraising.com/events/pareto-fundraising-north-america/

We’d love to see you there so you can learn and be inspired by some of the best speakers in the world on the topics related to fundraising.

Have a great week.

Mark Hierlihy
Congress Chair

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This has to be a question everyone asks themselves at some time or another. It would be a lackadaisical professional who’s not interested in bettering their skill set.

AFP Congress aims to help create highly skilled professionals, better at what they do, more prepared to respond to the twists and turns that we encounter on our daily drive toward our vision.

We’re working with leading thinkers to accomplish our goal. From the moment Matt Flannery – co-founder of Kiva steps to the podium on November 30, Congress will bring to you new and leading thing as well as more traditional training in a great mix of value for you.

Click through to our topics and let us know if you agree. We want to know how we can improve and most of all, we want to give YOU what YOU NEED!

We’re looking forward to spending 3 days with you.

Regards,

Mark Hierlihy
Congress Chair

P.S. The early bird registration ends on Monday. Register by then and save over $100.

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Are you feeling the pressures of change and not sure where to focus?

We’ve got a series of speakers to help you think through the the challenges of this great time of change.

For example, Dr. Judith Nichols, in her session entitled:
– It’s All About to Change: How Important Trends Are Driving Philanthropy In New Directions

Dr. Nicols will set out to speak to 4 objectives to address issues we know many of you are facing:

1. Rethink assumptions behind your organization’s fundraising strategy

2. Understand the trends impacting philanthropy

3. Understand the implications for fundraising

4. Leave feeling confident to apply to one’s own organization

But…you have to be there to benefit. Hope you’re planning to register soon so you don’t miss out on this very popular session.

Have a fantastic week!

Mark Hierlihy
Chair

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One of the biggest questions that used to go through my mind as I was deciding which conferences to attend is “will I learn anything I actually can use?”

I am told by a number of my colleagues that this is the year when everyone is watching their education dollars – and yet – it’s probably more important than ever to stay on top of your game. Is this your challenge?

Click through to see the full list of topics.
http://afptoronto.org/index.php/congress/conference-topic

But here are just a few:

– Social media: We have some of the hottest professionals around who will help you learn about this timely subject on everything from – the basics of how to get started with Nicci Noble – to how to use it do increase your fundraising through social media, with Ted Hart.

– Major Gifts: Not forgetting sessions in more traditional fundraising methods, guru Tony Myers will help you with your “Major Campaigns – in a Tough Economy” And that’s just a start.

– Small Shops: We know everyone doesn’t work at a large organization. And while there are sessions that you will find useful, regardless of your size, we have a few that are specially focused for small charities.

And that’s just a start. I know our speakers would love to hear from you on what you need – so don’t be shy.

Tell us what you need and we’ll be happy to pass it on.

We’re looking forward to a great conference. Are you coming?

Regards,

Mark