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In that spirit, we’re offering a special discount on Fundraising Day registrations: the “Canada Celebrates” rate. Use the promo code CANADA150 and save up to 17% on your registrations. Hurry – this offer will disappear on Friday, May 26! Register now!

In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Jennifer Di Santo, Associate Director, Marketing & Communications at Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation 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: The countdown to Fundraising Day is on! What are you most excited about?

Well, all of it! But if I have to get specific, there are a few sessions that come to mind. I’m looking forward to some of the ones around diversity and inclusion. It’s such a hot topic right now and given what’s going on in the world today it can’t be ignored. As a marketer, I’m very excited about the SickKids session – not only because it’s a great campaign (as I’m reminded every day I travel to the office!), but also because somehow they managed to get so many stakeholders to rally behind a single idea – one that was so radically different from anything they’d ever done before. I hope they let us in on their secret! And, I can’t wait for the design thinking session. To me, that session, in particular, embodies this year’s theme and will help us think differently about how we approach fundraising.


AFP GTA: This year’s theme centralizes around big ideas. What’s your philosophy around ideas?

Given that I’m a marketer with a radio and TV production background, and who dabbles in photography, the creative process is one of my favourite things. It’s precious. Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, and they morph and change. What you started out with might not be what you end up with because you gain new insights as you move through the idea process. I saw Canadian musician David Usher speak at a marketing conference a few years ago, and he used this analogy about how different ideas collide to create brand new ones. It’s so true. And it’s amazing when the collision happens.


AFP GTA: What would someone in a marketing and communications role be able to take away from Fundraising Day?

Our management committee has put together an amazing educational program for this year’s Fundraising Day. Aside from some of the more obvious marketing sessions around the SickKids campaign and events, I truly feel that a marketer can learn so much from this year’s sessions. My marketing philosophy – and it goes back to my philosophy around ideas – is that you can gain insight and inspiration from things that aren’t always directly related to what you’re doing. This year’s sessions will help any marketer get a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this ever-growing and ever-changing philanthropic sector, and that context will only help them build better marketing strategies that are relevant in today’s world.


AFP GTA: What advice do you have for anyone attending this year’s Fundraising Day?

Keep an open mind. Choose sessions that might not be directly tied to what you do every day. Again, ideas come from everywhere. If you hear something that seems kind of interesting, or some neat soundbite, jot it down. Sometimes the “eureka” moment we’re looking for isn’t so obvious, but I promise that ideas twice removed (or even farther removed than that!) can still find a home in the work you do. One more thing. Clearly, it’s impossible to attend all sessions, but not to worry – we’ll be keeping tabs on the best ideas of the day! See you there!

 

Jennifer Di Santo
Associate Director, Marketing & Communications
Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

Jennifer Di Santo is an award-winning marketing and communications professional focused on building brand awareness, changing behaviour and getting people to transact. For nearly a decade, she has built and executed integrated programs for a range of organizations in both the private and public sectors, including financial services, education, public transit, healthcare and the arts.

At Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, University Health Network, Jennifer works with major gifts, annual giving and stewardship teams to engage donors, prospects and the general public through what she calls “strategic storytelling” to drive fundraising efforts.

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Maeve Strathy, Fundraising Strategist at Blakely Inc. 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! Special thanks to Blakely Inc. for hosting this year’s Pre-Fundraising Day networking event held on May 11, 2017- this exclusive invitation can be unlocked by registering for Fundraising Day – REGISTER TODAY!

 

AFP GTA: Fundraising Day 2017 is only a few weeks away! What are you looking forward to most on the big day?

Maeve: I am most excited for “The Application of #DonorLove” panel discussion, featuring Jacqueline Bell, Brady Hambleton, John Lepp, and Kesheyl van Schilt, moderated by Claire Kerr.

This is a topic I’m passionate about – loving your donors is critical but do some donors not want to be loved? And when we have to raise money to keep the lights on, is it wrong to use response-driven tactics vs. donor- love ones?

These are the right people to lead the discussion, and I can’t wait to absorb as much information as I can.

 

AFP GTA: Tell us about the planning process for the program. What are some of the key considerations the Management Committee had in mind when piecing together the sessions?

Maeve: The planning process for Fundraising Day was all about what delegates want and need to know. What kind of sessions have they responded to before, and how can we deliver more of that great content (without repeating ourselves)? And what about what’s happening in the marketplace? How can we get ahead of trends and make sure fundraisers are informed and ready to take on the next challenges – and opportunities – that are around the corner.

We also wanted to make sure all fundraisers were represented, whether you’re in major gifts, annual, events, legacy, marketing and communications, small shop, big organization… the list goes on! After all the work, we’re confident there will be something valuable for everyone.

 

AFP GTA: Thinking of this year’s theme, “Every Idea is a Universe” – tell us about the last time you had a “EUREKA!” moment.

Maeve: In our agency, my role is responsible for briefing the creative team when they’re developing creative for a client’s fundraising campaign – whether it’s direct mail, DRTV, a digital campaign, or all of the above. I have to come to them with the fundraising insights and what we’re aiming to motivate the donor to do, and give them what they need to develop art and copy that will inspire the donor and achieve the results we’re aiming for. For a while, the briefing process felt like spoon-feeding – can’t I just brain dump on the creative team and they’ll go away and know what to do? After getting creative that didn’t meet my expectations a few times, I had a “EUREKA!” moment. Sure, the brief can be time-consuming and take a lot of thought, but the better I brief, the more likely I am to get what I want, what the client wants, and – at the end of the day – what the donor wants. It seems a simple experience, but it’s been a game changer.

 

AFP GTA: Finally, if you were to give a Fundraising Day participant one piece of advice on how to maximize their experience there, what would it be?

Maeve: Don’t get overwhelmed by all the awesome ideas and strategies you hear about and don’t get discouraged trying to imagine implementing them at your organization. Focus on leaving the day with 1-3 (maximum!) ideas you can start to work at implementing. It’s about quality over quantity!

Maeve Strathy
Fundraising Strategist
Blakely Inc.

Maeve Strathy is a passionate fundraising professional, focused on inspiring donors to make an impact on the causes they love through philanthropy. Maeve works at Blakely Inc. as a Fundraising Strategist where she provides and executes on strategy for integrated direct response campaigns.

In her spare time, she likes to work out, watch TV and movies, read, cook, and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

Follow Maeve on Twitter @fundraisermaeve and Blakey Inc. @BlakelyJourney