Posted by & filed under Fundraising.

As I bounce back from vacation and start preparing for the year ahead, I’m struck by the changing environment the fundraiser of today faces. While each organization is different and a lot of the fundraising fundamentals still hold true, a review of the trends can give today’s fundraiser something to ponder and bring back to their organization. Here are three such trends that I’ve been chewing over lately.

While story telling is as old as fundraising, it’s the way we tell stories that now keeps fundraisers on our toes. In 2018, as technology gets both cheaper and easier to use, the best story tellers will be live streaming, blogging, and using virtual reality. One of the most powerful ways to connect to a donor is to get them “into the field” to see the work first hand. While this may be easier to do when building a hospital wing in a donor’s home town, it is possible to create a powerful experience for a donor who you can’t get there in person. Take at look at Clouds Over Sidra, a short virtual reality documentary following a 12-year-old Syrian refugee (you can view it here: This incredible VR experience raised 70% more than expected at $3.8 billion. While this size and scale may be out of reach for most organizations, this technology is not.

The second trend that I find fascinating is collaborative fundraising. With trust in our sector continuing to wane, and the cost to attract a new donor higher than ever, perhaps it is time to consider working with other organizations. Benefits include cost savings, broader reach, and increased credibility. While the challenges are real, and it may take creative and potentially difficult conversations to get started, the possibilities are huge. Check out this series on the subject:

Finally, innovation in the sector, whether we like it or not, is having an impact on our donors, our organizations, and our fundraising. Donors are wealthier, younger, and more sophisticated. This new group of donors is looking for new solutions – including innovation and creativity in how their money is used and invested  We have to rise to the challenge and meet our donors where they are. Some may view this trend as a threat to our sector, a sector which has operated in a largely transactional way with our donors giving them few opportunities to participate in our charitable work. I, however, think it can be a real opportunity.  With donors looking to deploy not only their philanthropic dollars but also their invested dollars, as well as seeking a deeper connection to their philanthropic work, organizations will have to be nimble, invest in building our own sophistication, and be able to partner strategically.

I’m excited to be reviewing the innovations in our sector and seeing which ones fit for the work I’m doing. I encourage all fundraisers out there to do the same.


About the Author

Elissa Beckett, MBA, CFRE, builds philanthropic solutions for donors at Tides Canada and is an instructor at Ryerson University where she teaches Entrepreneurial Fundraising, a course that looks a partnerships, trends, and entrepreneurialism in the non-profit sector. The course is offered in class and online through Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education.

Connect with Elissa on LinkedIn


Posted by & filed under Announcement, Board of Directors, Leadership/Management.

January 2, 2018

AFP sends its warm congratulations to the members who were recently approved by the membership to serve on the 2018 AFP Canada Board of Directors.

In a recent AFP Canadian member vote, the Board slate was approved with 94.4% saying yes, 1.47% saying no and 4.13% abstaining.  Almost eight percent of the full Canadian membership participated in the vote.

“2018 will be a critical year for the AFP Canada Board, which is only just nine months old,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “The Board’s second year will be focused on strategic planning, as well as identification of key issues and areas that are critical to our Canadian members. It’s an ambitious agenda, but one that I know our talented Board members can fulfill.”

Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, will continue to chair the board in 2018. “Great leaders have stepped forward to develop AFP Canada both last year and now, again, this year.  This member vote ensures that each brings a critical voice to help set us on a path as a voice for Canada.”

Here is the 2018 AFP Canada Board:

Dana Ades-Landy, CEO, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Montreal, QB.

Roger Ali, CFRE, Chair, AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada, President & CEO, Niagara Health Foundation, St. Catherines, ON.

Paula Attfield, Chair-Elect, President, Stephen Thomas Ltd., Toronto, ON.

Daniel Brunette, Director, Development and Donor Services, The Community Foundation of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.

Ms. Tracey A Comeau, CFRE, MA, CEO, QEH Foundation, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Scott Decksheimer, CFRE, Chair, President & CEO, Vitreo Group, Calgary, AB.

Leah Eustace, ACFRE, Founder & Chief Problem Solver, Blue Canoe Philanthropy, Ottawa, ON.

Mike Geiger, CPA, MBA, President and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Arlington, Va.

Ann Hale, CFRE, Chair, AFP International Chair, Chief Development Officer, Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, Alaska

Jennifer Johnstone, President & CEO, Central City Foundation, Vancouver, B.C.

Ken Mayhew, President & CEO, William Osler Health System Foundation, Brampton, ON.

Pamela G. Simmons, Owner, Coreniche Consulting, Winnipeg, MB.

Dino Constantinos Sophocleous, CFRE, President & CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation, Regina, SK.

Wayne Steer, Secretary, Director of Fund Development, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Calgary, AB.

Karen Willson, ACFRE, Treasurer, Senior Vice President, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.), Toronto, ON.

Mr. Adam Zawadiuk, CFRE, Manager, Fund Development, YMCA of Northern Alberta, Edmonton, AB.

Posted by & filed under Announcement.

With all this change, there’s no better time for another D3! Mark your calendars for February 13, 2018 when Canada’s charity leaders will join together for another great day of debate, debunk and delight.

We don’t get a chance to meet together as often as we’d like and I encourage you to join me, and the best lineup of speakers we’ve ever had to think, discuss and reconnect.




Posted by & filed under Announcement.

December 12, 2017

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada is pleased to announce it has received a grant of $96,160 from the Minister of Canadian Heritage under its Multiculturalism Program to expand the Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy Program across Canada in 2018.

The Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy is a one-year program targeting under-represented groups in the fundraising profession.  The program will train diverse fundraisers from across Canada to promote intercultural understanding of diverse philanthropic practices to increase engagement with the communities they serve.

Roger Ali, CFRE, Chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada shared that, “This grant will allow the Foundation to expand our successful Fellowship program which began in Ontario with 61 Fellows graduating over two years, into a national program for all of Canada.”

The one-year Program includes:

  • Education in ethical fundraising and specialized training in diversity and inclusion through  conferences/courses and webinars
  • One-on-one mentorship with a seasoned fundraising/non-profit/diversity executive
  • Fellow and Alumni networking based on collaborative learning in-person and online

More information about how to apply for the Fellowship will be forthcoming in the near future.

“The Foundation has made diversity and inclusion a strategic priority and this grant will provide important resources to make that happen,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “The Fellowship was such a fantastic program, and to be able to offer it across the country is critical for the future of our profession.”

There has been growing concern within the sector that fundraising and organizational leadership needs greater diversity and is lacking inclusive leadership.  Enhancing diversity better reflects the demographic and ethno-centric composition of Canada, especially those who voluntarily support and/or receive service from Canada’s charitable organizations and nonprofits.  It also expands best practices in inclusion training, allows career paths to be strategically developed for people from a wide-range of backgrounds, and increases intercultural understanding and awareness of the benefits of diversity for the social, economic and civic life in Canada.

The Fellows will represent ethno-cultural, racial, religious and immigrant groups, aboriginal peoples, women, youth, people with disabilities, francophone and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ2) populations.  These fellows will be poised to become the sector’s future leaders and thereby help to disseminate their knowledge and practices across local communities.

For more information about the Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy program go to

Article originally posted on AFP IHQ

Posted by & filed under Congress.

Through the generousity of the AFP Foundation of Philanthropy – Canada and Vitreo, this AFP Congress session can be presented here. Listen to AFP Congress 2017 Session, R-04: The Disrupters’ Panel – Breaking Barriers, Smashing Ceilings and Changing Minds through Effective Leadership with Sharon Avery, Peter Dinsdale, Sandra Hawken, Caroline Riseboro, and Jill Zelmanovits.

Special thanks to the webcast sponsors:

Posted by & filed under Announcement.

(Arlington, VA) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has bestowed the Barbara Marion Award for Outstanding Leadership to AFP, the association’s highest volunteer and leadership recognition, to James (Jim) Allen of Toronto, Ontario.

Allen, currently philanthropy officer for The Living City Foundation, has been in fundraising since 1970 and has been a member of AFP since 1980, serving in a variety of leadership positions and remaining a staunch champion for continuing education, certification and research.

AFP is the largest association of fundraisers in the world, and the award is named for Barbara Marion, ACFRE, the first woman to chair both AFP and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy boards of directors. The Barbara Marion Award is given to a leader in the fundraising profession who has worked on the local, regional, national and international levels of AFP to help build, advance and promote the association and the fundraising profession.

Allen has been involved in the formation of two AFP chapters, serving as a founding board member of both the Greater Cleveland Chapter in 1980 (where he served as president from 1982-1984) and then the Greater Toronto Chapter in 1994 (where he served as secretary), now the largest AFP chapter in the world with over 1,200 members. He served on the board of AFP (then known as the National Society of Fund Raising Executives) from 1980 – 1984, as well as in 2011.

Allen was one of the first fundraisers in the world to receive the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential as part of the inaugural class in 1981. He was recognized in 2006 as just one of 22 fundraisers to maintain their certification for the first 25 years of the credential’s existence. He later earned his Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive (ACFRE) credential in 2004, just the fourth Canadian and one of 100 fundraisers around the world to possess that credential.

Allen served on the ACFRE Board from 2009 – 2012, including one year as chair in 2011. He currently leads the ACFRE Mentor Committee, and in an informal capacity continues to serve as a mentor to numerous aspiring ACFRE candidates.

“Barbara Marion was a professional colleague whom I greatly admired and respected,” said Allen. “She was a true pioneer in the history of NSFRE and AFP, and I am humbled and honored to receive this award in her memory.”

Allen was instrumental in the development of the Greater Toronto Chapter’s Fundraising Day and Fundraising Congress, having co-chaired the first two Fundraising Day Committees in the mid-1990s, and served on the Congress Committee for several years when it was first created.

Allen has always been committed to giving back to the profession, both through mentoring and through giving to the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. He has been a Leadership Society member of the Foundation for several years. He has served on the AFP Canada Foundation Board and the Foundation’s Major Gifts Committee, as well as led the Greater Toronto’s Every Member Campaign in 2013and 2014, increasing gifts by 25 percent.

“Jim has been a true pioneer for the profession and has made such an extraordinary, long-lasting impact on AFP—internationally, across Canada and in the chapters where he has served,” said Ann Hale, CFRE, chair of AFP. “He’s been one of the greatest advocates for certification and continuing education, and all of us at AFP are so excited to be able to recognize him with the Barbara Marion Award.”

Allen will receive his award during AFP’s 2018 International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans, La., April 15 – 17.

* * *

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has been the standard bearer for professionalism in fundraising. The association works to advance effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s 33,000 members raise more than $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, go to

Posted by & filed under Announcement.

Each year, the AFP International Conference on Fundraising brings together nearly 3,000 fundraising professionals from around the globe. These professionals come to attend educational workshops, discuss emerging issues, explore the latest technology, and exchange ideas about ethical fundraising, nonprofit management, and volunteerism. The International Conference focuses on a broad range of topics on philanthropy and offers educational programs for all levels of experience and all areas of fundraising.

The International Chamberlain Scholarship Program, sponsored by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, has been specifically created to help individuals serving nonprofit organizations develop their knowledge and skill in fundraising.

The Scholarship, valued at $1,500.00 is intended to cover the registration fee to attend the Conference plus limited travel expenses. A cheque in the amount of $1,000.00 will be sent to the scholarship recipient from the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter. The AFP Foundation of Philanthropy will pay the $500 balance directly to the International Conference for the recipient’s registration to attend the Conference.

Chamberlain scholar recipients are responsible for registering themselves for the Conference and for making all travel and hotel arrangements using the Chamberlain Scholarship Registration Form that will be provided to them by AFP International Headquarters. All Chamberlain Scholars qualify to register at the $10.00 rate at any time prior to the conference.


(a) Candidate is a member in good standing of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter

(b) Candidate has at least 5 years of full time experience as a professional fundraiser

(c) Candidate is employed as a fundraising professional OR if candidate is an executive director, 20% of their time must be devoted to fundraising OR if candidate is a consultant, 50% of their time must be conducted on behalf of other organizations to fundraise

(d) Candidate must agree to complete an evaluation report at the conclusion of the Conference

(e) Have never attended an AFP international conference

The conference is held in New Orleans, LA – April 15 -17, 2018

Please submit the completed APPLICATION FORM by email only to Cynthia Quigley at by Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

If you have any questions, please call Cynthia Quigley, Director, AFP Canadian Services & Greater Toronto Chapter at (416) 941-9212.

Posted by & filed under Corporate/Sponsorship.

Last week we looked at the first head of the hydra that can be corporate sponsorship in our sector. This week, we’ll look at vanquishing those other two heads, and set you on course to be a hero in your organization of Herculean status.

The second head I was up against was the most daunting……the valuation. Now this is the head that’s tough to conquer, and that can be time consuming in the short run. The starting point will be to list out all the different events/initiatives/campaigns you’d like sponsorship for, we’ll call them “properties”. Then what you’ll do is build out an “inventory” which is a collection of all of the opportunities (or “assets”) that you have to sponsor: These can be everything from speaking time, to a logo on a program, to an e-blast. You’ll do this for each of your properties, no cheating and just creating one single one. You’ll then take these assets and group them into custom packages for your potential sponsors. How do you know what to put in these packages? Ask your sponsor! I’ll guarantee you two things: One, if you ask your sponsors what they want in their package, and if you’ve done your homework beforehand that this is a property they want to sponsor (don’t know this yet? Check out this blog post to learn more about audience data and how to collect it) , they will tell you exactly what they want in their package; Second, if you customize your package, and don’t give people a pre-set basket of assets you’ll be able to bring in even more sponsorship dollars, and have even happier sponsors. But wait! What about how much to charge my sponsor? Great question, you’re on fire today! We’ll get to that right now. All you need to do is look at what similar properties are charging based on your audience! If your audience, as was in my case, post-secondary university students, then look to some of the student newspapers and magazines! If it’s social media, run an Ad campaign. If it’s a speaking opportunity, look at how much other events charge for a speaking spot at leadership conferences. When you’ve done your research, and looked around, you’ll see how quickly the dollars start to add up for your event. Have more questions about the inventory building and valuation? Check out this great webinar for more in-depth information. Still want more details on valuations? Check out this great guide for even more info

The third head I did battle is getting my office on board, especially my bosses. Now I’ll admit…. this is a tough nut to crack, I can almost feel the eyes rolling in the back of an ED/Fundraiser’s head. In our resource-constrained environment we don’t get a lot of chances to mess up, or even to experiment, to see what might possibly work if something else is a sure-fire thing. So, this is what I suggest as an approach. The first is to have a conversation with your boss and let them know there is this new way of doing things……we all know how this normally goes, I feel the eyes rolling again. The second thing to do then is to start small. Try some of the above techniques with a few sponsorship prospects, and let the results speak for themselves, showing that you’re landing more meetings and getting more replies than you were before. The final step is to actually involve your boss in the process. I did this at my own work, and did so in a smoke screen of “I’d really like a second, more senior person at the table to help me” Sure enough, my boss trusted my judgement from thereafter seeing the positive response from sponsors. You can do the same thing with your board, and in fact it will likely motivate them to go out and talk about sponsorship more with their contacts. Want some more examples of getting your board involved in sponsorship? Here are 7 ways to get your board involved.

So, from one small shop warrior to another I say this: YOU CAN DO IT! You can beat the three-headed Hydra, and slay that beast of corporate sponsorship. And to you, the victor, will go the spoils!

Missed Part One: Small Shop Sponsorship – The Three-Headed Hydra? You can read it here.
About the Author

Christian Robillard, Sponsorship Consultant

Christian’s expertise is firmly within the event and cause sponsorship space. Christian helps our clients identify sellable assets, determine the value of their opportunities, and, most importantly, implement strategies that work.

In addition to his work with The Sponsorship Collective, Christian is completing his masters degree in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at Carleton University, with a focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate giving, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and fundraising.

Christian is the founder of the AFP Collegiate Carleton Chapter in Ottawa.

Follow Christian on Twitter and LinkedIn