By Maryann Kerr originally published on Hilborn: Charity eNews
No matter how you look at it, when you attend an outstanding conference like #AFPCongress2019, you wish you could clone yourself. You can only do so much. I was focused on sessions that were strategic and covered topics like leadership, coaching, culture and personal growth.
The agenda was jam packed with many incredible speakers and subjects and I will not do it justice here. Raise the Work, speaks to “the combination of passion, grit, and intelligence we need to raise the quality of our practice to meet the challenges of fundraising in the 21st century.” Congress offered almost 100 sessions across a wide array of topics that focused on both how to do better and how to be better.
The three plenary speakers, Janet Bannister, Kishana Palmer and Alvin Law carried a thread throughout the three days with stories that spoke to resilience, personal mission, determination, belief in self, and perhaps a touch of audacity. The sessions I attended had a common theme that spoke to our personal responsibility to own our part in establishing work/life balance, culture change, leadership development, and recognizing unconscious bias. However, to shift systems and affect change requires us to look not only at individual action but also organizational and sector change. It was the only small disappointment from an otherwise stellar conference.
The first session I attended was a panel that included Josh Bowman, Kimberley Blease, Amanda Rocheleau and Cathy Mann facilitated by Jaya Mootoo called: True Grit: Keeping the Wheels on in your Professional Life when your Personal Life is Falling Apart. Suffice it to say, we laughed, and we cried and I’d say there was even a little healing done. Josh, Kimberley, Cathy and Jaya shared their personal stories of adversity and struggle and with the help of social worker Amanda Rocheleau provided some coping mechanisms and strategies including leaning into the discomfort and allowing yourself time and space to heal.
Then on to a session called Culture Club 2.0 The Connection between Culture and our Ability to Thrive! Another panel, this one facilitated by Stephen George, included panelists Mide Akerewusi, Caroline Riseboro, Maeve Strathy and Kishshana Palmer and was a follow up to a panel held at IFC. Each panelist spoke to the importance of culture in facilitating great fundraising results. (More on this in a future article.) A few tidbits: Attention to culture is the number one issue to unlocking fundraising results. Culture is how we show up in the world. Cultures express our identity and creates a sense of belonging. That was in the first five minutes. Read more »
This year’s AFP Congress is a rallying cry for fundraisers to take a step back, recharge, discover new ways of thinking, support each other, and collaborate in elevating the profession.
In this blog entry, the volunteers behind Congress share their perspective on what it means to ‘Raise The Work’ in 2019. Please share your own thoughts in the comments below!
“I think we need to get better at celebrating ourselves. Not everyone gets to fund social good with their day job. That meaningful impact is a benefit of our career choice and we shouldn’t be shy or equivocate about that fact. We should own it.”
– Scott Jeffries, Director of Media & Data Services, Stephen Thomas Ltd
AFP Congress 2019 Marketing Committee Chair
Tell the World
“Some may view our sector as small or lacking innovation. But we know better. Fundraisers see the results of innovation everyday in the life-changing impact we have on the communities we serve. Fundraisers change the world in a big way – let’s make sure the world knows it.”
– Molly DeHaan, Manager of Annual Giving, Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation
AFP Congress 2019 Marketing Committee
“To me raising the work means understanding the challenges faced by your colleagues. Because when you get out of your ‘silo’ in this way, you can discover new ways of working together so that you’re not just serving your own goals but perhaps helping other departments more readily achieve their goals too.”
– Jennifer Meriano, Mid-Level Giving, Canadian Red Cross
AFP Congress 2019 Marketing Committee
Read more »
By John Paul de Silva – originally published on Hopeful Inc.
Whatever your personal beliefs are regarding cannabis usage and cannabis legalisation in Canada, one thing is clear. Cannabis is big business and so much so that a panel was built around the subject matter at the 2019 Smith School of BusinessScale-Up Summit which was recently held in downtown Toronto. After attending the panel, I noticed that there are many similarities between the cannabis industry and the non-profit sector.
First, they’re both highly regulated by the government. Second, they’re both worth billions. Michael Garbuz of Materia Ventures, a panelist at the Summit, said cannabis is worth over $100 billion in market capitalization worldwide. That’s a lot of green (pun intended). Similarly, over $10 billion is donated annually by Canadians alone.
With this in mind, here are some key takeaways on what non-profit organizations can learn from the cannabis sector:
1. Data is important: Summit panelist Afshin Mousavian of Responsible Cannabis Use has collected over 35,000 data points about Canadian public perception of cannabis. Why? There’s power in knowledge, especially with that much data. With that information, everyone from public policy makers to cannabis producers can better serve the market. Similarly, your non-profit should consider better collecting, managing, and analyzing its data. In turn, you can make more effective decisions on who to target for fundraising and which social media channels are the best use of your time, for example.
2. Education is important: Mr. Garbuz said that education is required to dispel the myths and stereotypes around cannabis usage. Similarly, I’ve encountered non-profits who have had challenges in gaining community support because of the misconception of what they are doing for the community. For example, a youth organization that had after-school programs was seen as a “hang out spot for troublemakers.” This negatively affected donations to the organization. Educating the community on your mission through transparent messaging and open houses, for example, creates conversations and increases education to bolster support for your non-profit.
3. Branding is important: Michael said that most people can’t tell the difference in quality between cannabis products, therefore the importance of brand building to help differentiate increases. The same can be true for some non-profits who are experiencing the effects of donor fatigue. For example, you might be a non-profit that is helping kids with cancer but have the challenge of getting through to those who are already donating to SickKids Foundation. They’re a great charity, but are you clearly communicating how you’re different? Ensure this is coming across through the development of your brand.
Are there any other key takeaways you’ve noticed from the cannabis sector which can help non-profits? Comment below and please share this post with your colleagues and friends. Thank you!
Coming to #AFPCongress2019? Don’t forget to check out our sessions on cannabis and the non-profit sector:
- Y-06: The Cannabis Conundrum – How Charities are Addressing the Cannabis Donor – Presented by Anne (Coyle) Melanson & Diana McLachlan
- G-10: Lessons in Pot – What Have we Learned about Combining Charities and the Cannabis Industry a Year after Legalization? – Presented by Sam Laprade, CFRE
Learn more & register.
By Harry Southworth
A career development plan is something that you decide to do for yourself to gain clarity on what you are doing, why you are doing it and where you want to end up. In essence, it is a written summary of all your professional ambitions and objectives and how you plan to achieve them. Taking the time to write a career development plan can assist in clarifying what your career goals are and in turn, sharpen your focus on achieving them.
Why write a career development plan?
When it comes to career development, you can often feel like the whole process is out of your control and that it all depends on opportunities that others offer you. That’s where you are wrong because you have a lot more control over your career path than you may think. Writing a plan is important for defining goals, implementing a goal-achieving strategy and executing that strategy successfully. By writing a career development plan, you are acknowledging all the things that you can do to achieve your goals and how you’ll set out on accomplishing them.
Taking the time to write a career development plan can also help to:
Prevent career ruts
When the paperwork starts to pile up and you forget why you chose your career path, having a career development plan reminds you of the bigger picture and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
You cannot expect yourself to be the best at everything, it’s in our DNA to have weaknesses but that doesn’t mean they cannot be addressed and corrected. Your career development plan will help to identify these weaknesses and set up a strategy to work on improving them in order to achieve your professional goals.
Read more »
By Emily Barrie
“Leave something behind, be curious, and surround yourself with good people”.
These are simply a few of the takeaways I left Fundraising Day 2019 with; and as a first-time attendee I can confidently say that as I boarded the Lakeshore West train I was heading back home with a number of new tools in my fundraising toolkit.
I am early on in my career as a professional fundraiser, and have been a member of the AFP for less than a year. Always eager to learn and improve my skill-set I decided that it was time for me dig deeper and dive into my fundraising education. So naturally I found myself on AFP Toronto’s Fundraising Day 2019 website, hovering over the “complete registration” button. At first I was a bit hesitant as not only would I not know anyone, this would be the first time I’ve attended an event like this. Of course, I could hear the little fundraiser voice in the back of my head saying “you won’t know unless you ask”, or in this case, attend. So after debating over which sessions I wanted to participate in I found myself looking at that same registration button, and clicked.
Read more »
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:
Where were you in 1994?
Ann Rosenfield shares her thoughts on how the sector has changed over the past 25 years…
You’ve come a long way, baby. Maybe.
“Let’s face it. Women are not major donors.” said the head of fundraising in my first job in 1994. Some things have sure improved since then while other areas are the same, or worse. In honour of this year’s Fundraising Day throwback theme, here’s what’s what in our profession then and now.
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
What’s with us fundraisers and planned giving? In 1994, fundraisers were always trying to carve out some time for planned giving with limited success. The same issue still seems true today. As a sector, we still seem to think this is something to focus on tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. This short-sighted approach is part of a continuing problem with an over-emphasis on immediate revenue over long-term growth and stability.
Meanwhile direct mail has proved the doomsayers wrong! Back in 1994, you would have heard all kinds of workshops on how direct mail was going to disappear. While mail has changed with the times, paper letters in paper envelopes are still an important part of a fundraising strategy.
In 1994 all jobs were permanent, full-time positions with benefits and pensions. The rise of contract employment has meant that young professionals (and even senior leaders) find themselves in unstable employment today. This is bad for us as professionals and bad for the field. In a sector that is supposed to provide solutions to social problems, it is inexcusable that an increasing segment of our employees can’t enjoy stable, secure employment with benefits. Read more »