Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Diversity, Ethics, Inspiration, Leadership/Management.

Originally published on AFP Global’s President’s Perspective blog.

 

As we enter another week of fundraising in the COVID-19 era, we again find that the landscape is changing.

We continue to adjust to the challenges brought about by the coronavirus and the resulting impact on the economy. Now though, other events have taken center stage: the anguish and anger over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—a black man killed by police officers in Minneapolis and a black woman killed by police officers in Louisville, Ky.—and the resulting protests and violence that continue to unfold in cities across the United States and around the world.

I have often said that fundraisers are the voice of those who are not heard. And that point has never been more important than now.

Part of the job of the charitable sector centers on service provision, whether it’s in partnership with the government, or helping out in service areas where the government cannot provide them or has failed to do so.

But we, especially as fundraisers, also play a critical role in creating connections and bringing people together—uniting communities to work on a cause. We provide a safe haven for different perspectives and unheard voices. We work to ensure that the principles we espouse so much in our society—such as diversity, fairness, compassion and justice, to name a few—become a reality.

Even if our causes appear to be unrelated to these issues, we must understand that people will want and need to talk about them. We need to provide a platform so they can express themselves, and we need to be sure to listen, understand and help find solutions to bring about change.

This is the fabric of our world—and frankly, always has been. This is what people are experiencing and living. This is the world in which we raise funds and provide services. If we don’t meet people in that world—and have empathy and seek to create change—then we are doing them, and our causes, a disservice. And we are not living up to the principles and values that undergird our work every day.

At AFP, we understand that the profession and world in which we work are not yet equitable, and that is why we’ve made inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) such a priority. That is why we support the project, Our Right to Heal, which highlights the challenges that black women face every day. That is why we are holding an online panel discussion in the near future to talk about institutional racism, social justice, fundraising and other issues raised by recent events.

Whatever our cause—and AFP members represent thousands of different missions—we can all agree that stamping out institutional racism must be a priority for all of us.

I have termed fundraising the impact profession, and you can see our impact most clearly in the programs and services our organizations provide. But our work is so much deeper and more powerful than just that. You’ve probably all experienced this sense of impact as you’ve talked with donors during the COVID-19 crisis and hearing their need to reconnect and feel part of the broader world. Now, it is even more critical we have these conversations with our supporters and stand up for our values and what is right.

I invite you to share your thoughts with me. Please feel free to email me at Mike.Geiger@afpglobalorg.

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Posted by & filed under Diversity, Donor communications, Fundraising Day, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

By Loretta Lam

Understand Your Audience Before You Ask

 

May 30, 2019 – I was at a conference today filled with around 500 attendees from small to large not-for profit organizations. The conference, called Fundraising Day and appropriately themed “The Fabric of Fundraising” in celebration of its 25th year, was organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter. I made remarks at one of the sessions at the conference about the importance for fundraisers to understand the changing fabric of Canada.

Canada now has over 40,000 immigrants every year and 7.1 million Canadians’ mother tongue is neither English nor French. By 2036, 34% of Canadians will be multicultural consumers. Charities and not-for-profit organizations have to understand that their current and future donations, sponsorships, volunteers and employees will come from these immigrants. Fundraisers need to adapt their fundraising and marketing strategies to the fast changing demographics. With that being said, I wonder how many of them have hit some roadblocks along the way before they realized they need a different approach to this unique audience segment.

The Chinese, for example, are known for their charitable giving and generosity, but they are not keen to give just because you have a good cause. With so many good causes, how can you push the right buttons to get results? Many organizations make the mistake of asking before the right relationships have been built. From my own personal history and experience, I have learned that doing business with the Chinese requires building positive relationships and trust. This same principle applies to fundraising in the Chinese community (and in the sector at large). While immigrant Chinese are trying to integrate into the Canadian culture, it is important to keep in mind that most were brought up with a very different set of values, which still shape how they think and behave.

So, how do we embrace these values and diversity in our fundraising?

 

 Here are 6 quick tips to get you started:

 

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Posted by & filed under Congress, Diversity, Opinion, Special Events.

By Tricia Johnson

 

AFP Toronto’s Congress was an empowering and highly personal experience that is changing my outlook towards the fundraising sector. But it didn’t start off that way.

 

It started with my arms crossed against my chest and my mouth drawn tightly into a straight line. It was a frown to be honest, but it could have been mistaken for concentration.

 

Hadiya Roderique was giving the first plenary speech at Congress, Canada’s premiere educational forum for fundraisers. Ms. Roderique’s experience as a black lawyer on Bay Street made front page news of the Globe and Mail last fall, and here, her powerful and informed speech tackled the racism and exclusion present in Canada’s corporate culture. Her observations, statistics and personal experience brought the conference’s theme, “Disrupt Philanthropy” sharply into focus. It showed that philanthropic culture in Canada was not immune to the “-isms” that affect other sectors. For me it touched a nerve that I was used to covering up.

 

“Why is she talking about this?” I thought. “We already know this! Just deal with it and move on!”

 

Well, that’s exactly what she was doing. Head on. I too am a black woman. I am a fundraiser working in Ottawa since 2005. I know what it feels like to be the only person of colour in a crowded room. But I don’t talk about it. Instead I’ve gotten used to the discomfort and moved on. But am I moving? Really?

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