Countdown to Fundraising Day 2017: Interview with UHN’s Jennifer Di Santo
We are in the spirit of celebrating Canada150, 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 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.