Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.

June 21st is National Aboriginal Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples*

At Fundraising Day 2017, the audience had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Duke Redbird’s original poem, The Power of the Land. We are delighted to share it with you in the spirit of the day:

In every Nation, in every Clan,
The Elders to a person.
Whether woman or a man,
Shared a common truth,
One Truth to understand,
That the spirit of the people
Is equal
To the Power of The Land.

The Mother of us all
The sacred Mother Earth,
Is constant in her giving,
And perpetual in her birth,
In meadows and in fields,
Where weeds and flowers grow,
She conceives the summer showers,
And spawns the winter snows.
In forests and in mountains,
She gives the birds that fly,
Every type of wing,
Then coaxes the wind to join,
In harmony, when they begin to sing.

In brooks and streams,
And rivers as they flow,
She generates the dreams
And makes the fires glow.

And in every creature,
Whether large or small
She buries gems of wisdom
In them all,

And in every grain of sand,
She plants the knowledge,
Of the Power of The Land.

And those that honour,
Her creations,

And acknowledge her grand design,
She gives the templates,
Of the sacred,
And the patterns of the divine.

And then with certain knowledge,
This to understand,
That the spirit of the people,
Is equal,
To the Power of the Land.

About the Dr. Duke Redbird

Dr. Duke Redbird is an Indigenous intellectual, poet, painter, broadcaster, filmmaker and orator. He brings his breadth of cultural knowledge and artistic practice to the benefit of a global audience.

Dr. Redbird is instrumental in the implementation of innovative multimedia technologies, bringing an Indigenous approach to arts education, that is rooted in his pioneering work at OCAD University. His legacy stretches far beyond his work in Canada. His art has been exhibited and his poetry has been published and translated in anthologies around the world.

Duke has been described as a multifaceted artist, practicing across a number of disciplines including literature, painting, theatre, cinema and most recently rap poetry. A well-known broadcaster and television personality, he is in demand as a public speaker in university, community college and elementary school settings. He delivers a unique perspective from his heritage that is both a positive and optimistic alternative to how we view our universe in the 21st century. In 2005, Dr. Redbird was honored by the Indigenous community of Toronto and recognized as an Urban Elder and Wisdom Keeper. In this capacity, Duke’s presentation is a message of inspiration, hope and vision for the future.

Presently, Dr. Redbird is an Advisor to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in the field of Indigenous Art & Culture; and the Curator of an inaugural art exhibition called Debwewin (Truth) of the Museum, Fine Art Collection and Archives of the TDSB. He is also an Advisor for the Board of Director’s of Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

*Introduction taken from Government of Canada: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website. 

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter is pleased to announce that Sasha Manes, Manager of Major Gifts and Stewardship at YWCA Toronto, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding New Fundraising Professional Award.

It has been said of Sasha that she epitomizes what is so wonderful about Generation Y fundraisers.  She excels at team work, embraces technology and is completely open to change.  She is deeply mission-driven and recognized at an early age that she could help the greatest number of people by choosing fundraising as a profession.

Sasha first joined YWCA Toronto in 2007 in a junior role within their women and children’s shelters. After leaving the Association to pursue a Master’s Degree in Community Development, Sasha returned to YWCA Toronto in a fundraising position and was selected by her CEO to represent the Philanthropy Department at the National YMCA/YWCA Conference in Edmonton. By the following year, she was named the lead in securing $1.3 million– which enabled YWCA Toronto to hit an all-time high in the philanthropic operating revenues for the charity.

Under Sasha’s leadership as Manager of Events, Sponsorship and Volunteers, the Women of Distinction Awards, YWCA Toronto’s largest fundraiser responsible for one third of the Philanthropy Department’s annual revenue, has been completely re-invented attracting a younger demographic and the future leaders of the sector. Sasha’s hard work and dedication has renewed the vitality of the event and made it hugely successful, growing total revenues by 25% and increasing corporate sponsorship by 47% from 2013. With no marketing budget, Sasha relied on her creativity and resourcefulness to leverage in-kind support from advertisers and media – Globe and Mail, CBC Toronto, BlogTO, CP24, TTC AdStop, and the Toronto Star to promote this event. From 2014-2016, the last year Sasha was in this role, she maintained a 55% growth in her corporate sponsorship revenue targets, 155% increase over three years. Sasha’s fundraising impact goes above and beyond the event as many attendees have become monthly and major gift donors, including a $1 million donation from an attendee just days after the event, the largest donation in YWCA Toronto’s operating history. Because of her innovative thinking and creative fundraising, this event continues to sell out and welcomes 1200 guests and volunteers every year.

As part of the management team in the Philanthropy Department, Sasha helps to steer the direction of the strategic planning and, as of the beginning of this year, has been appointed to the newly created position of Manager of Major Gifts and Stewardship. This is first time in YWCA Toronto history that the Association will have a position dedicated to the major gifts portfolio. She is now excitedly working towards the YWCA Toronto Philanthropy Department’s strategic goal of doubling their annual revenue over the next five years.

Sasha currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rwanda Survivors Foundation, the first Canadian human rights education non-profit to focus specifically on Rwanda. In addition to assisting the Foundation in their fundraising efforts, she is dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge about Genocide. She also sits on a fundraising committee for Heritage Toronto. Prior to these current volunteer positions, Sasha was a long-term fundraising volunteer with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, where she helped coordinate general fundraising efforts, as well as their largest annual fundraising event for 4 consecutive years.

Sasha appreciates that she spends her days talking to, and listening to, donors who are devoted to making our city, and the world, a place where women and children can thrive.  Ultimately, she is deeply proud that, through her work in fundraising, she has the opportunity to connect the good someone wants to do, with the good that needs to be done. Sasha is deeply grateful for the path she has chosen.


Established in 2001, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter New Fundraising Professional Award recognizes a full-time fundraising professional who has displayed exceptional talent and demonstrated outstanding achievement early in his/her career. The recipient has between two and five years of experience in fundraising and is selected through submissions from Chapter members. The award encompasses career achievements, long and short term career objectives, personal volunteer service and a commitment to the profession.

About AFP

AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is a recognised leader in promoting philanthropy and providing education, training and best practices for those in the fundraising profession. With more than 1200 members, the Greater Toronto Chapter is the largest of the more than 244 AFP chapters throughout the world.


Cynthia Quigley
Director, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
Tel: 416-941-9212

New Fundraising Professional Award Sponsor

Sasha will be honoured with her award at the Fundraising Day Luncheon. Join us on June 8th to celebrate Sasha’s achievement, attending awesome professional development and education sessions, and network with your fellow fundraisers. Register today!


Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Here’s a Fundraising Day sneak peek from one of our speakers and special guest bloggers, Juniper Locilento, CFRE. Locilento is leading the session Y-07: Start from Where You’re At: a Practical Guide to Strengthening Your Culture of Philanthropy at #FD17Ideas on June 8th – register today! Follow Juniper on Twitter @JBerri.

You’re likely reading this because your job involves raising money. And perhaps your job involves raising more money this year than last year.

Well, read on if you believe that your organization needs a stronger culture of philanthropy in order to make that happen. While this is obviously not a new topic, it’s one that remains top of mind for many fundraisers because while we understand this inherently, we often struggle to move the needle in our organizations.

I believe the key word in culture of philanthropy is culture and I have been thinking about how we go about making cultural change in our organizations in order to support philanthropic growth. In other words, change management applied to how our organizations value philanthropy and where it sits in relation to other priorities.

It’s a myth that change initiatives lead to change, because somewhere between 50% and 70% of change initiatives fail. New practises are actually the consequences of the change, not the change itself. So we have to go deeper.


Finding the Root of the Issue

You can’t solve a problem without addressing the thinking that produced that problem in the first place, so you need to start by understanding where those cultural norms about fundraising and philanthropy came from. You need to dig up the dandelion root and really examine it, not just snap off the head.

This ties to values – what our organizations stand for and the opportunities we create for donors to make change in the world through our work. As the legendary Kay Sprinkel Grace says: “All philanthropy is based in values. Development of relationships is the process of uncovering shared values. Fundraising offers people opportunities to act on their values.” So, what does your organization value? What do your donors value? Finding the root issues and enhancing the synergy between values are keys to better fundraising results.


Why Now?

Once you’ve dug in to identify what got your organization to where it is today, you need to identify the “burning platform”. As humans, we resist change even when we understand the consequences, so we need to be razor sharp on this. Why do things need to change now? What will happen if things don’t change?


The Destination Postcard

It’s also really important to identify vision or the destination, and here’s where those books and articles can help: they paint a picture of what a thriving culture of philanthropy might look like, from strong Board giving to fundraising being a strategic priority within the organization to donors being treated with love and respect.


A Roadmap

Do you want to improve what you are currently doing (developmental change)? Are you trying to replace the status quo with a new and clearly defined destination (transitional change)? Or is transformational change needed – a future state so different that you don’t even know what it looks like when you start? Once you understand the root of the issue, have identified the reasons that things need to change and have articulated a future vision, you can start to build a roadmap for how you might get there. (Hint: it’s possible, but it will take longer than you think. And there will be hand-wringing).


The Bottom Line

Culture can only be changed by the people in it – as liaisons between our organization and our donors, fundraisers have an important opportunity to be catalysts for that change.


AFP Fundraising Day Session Description:

Fear of fundraising remains pervasive outside of our profession – which can make our jobs a lot more challenging. But as fundraisers, we know that the relationship between a strong culture of philanthropy and successful fundraising is a given. So how can we close the gap? Using cases that span organizational size and sector, we’ll explore the nature of cultural change and what you can do today to move philanthropy closer to the centre of your organization.



Juniper Locilento, CFRE
Director of Annual Giving, Operations & Strategy
YMCA of Greater Toronto

Juniper Locilento, CFRE is driven to advance philanthropy as a means to create change. She has worked alongside social profit change makers for more than a dozen years, both as a fundraising practitioner in arts & culture and as a philanthropic consultant with KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.). She is currently Director of Annual Giving, Operations & Strategy at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

A passionate teacher and learner, Juniper is a student in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program at Carleton University. She also holds a B.A. and a Diploma in Operatic Performance from the University of Toronto and a postgraduate certificate in Arts Administration from Humber College. Juniper studied Organizational Development and Change Management at York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre. Follow Juniper on Twitter @JBerri


Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.

We are privileged to be joined by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, as our distinguished guest at Fundraising Day 2017.

At Fundraising Day on June 8, join more than 450 colleagues and special guest, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, as we celebrate Canadian philanthropy and the important role of fundraisers like you!

Her Honour has had an incredible public service career spanning sectors and borders, including work in international relations and the environment. Her work is proof that the power of Canadian ideas and ideals in building a better world.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Listening to each other is a first step in creating the communities and country of which we can be proud. Let thoughtful and peaceful engagement be our gift to the future and our legacy to the world at large.”
– The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Don’t miss out on the Canada Celebrates rate in the spirit of Canada150! Register for Fundraising Day 2017 and receive this special rate using promo code CANADA150! HURRY- the deadline is FRIDAY!

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day.


Caroline Riseboro, President & CEO of Plan International Canada and President Elect of AFP GTA Chapter, is our esteemed Fundraising Day 2017 keynote speaker!

Caroline Riseboro
President & CEO
Plan International Canada

It is through the diversity of ideas, in themselves unique but working alongside one another in concert, that we allow something new to take root – new perspectives, new values, and a new way to see the world.

More than the history of Canadian philanthropy, this is the story of our country’s first 150 years. Now, we look toward the future and the important role that philanthropy will play in shaping the values, perspectives and approaches of the Canada to come.

In her keynote, “Distinguishing Good from Great,” Caroline will share with us the secrets, insights and vision that will ensure fundraisers play a critical role in shaping Canada’s future – and, in the process, help build a better world for us all.

About Caroline Riseboro

Caroline Riseboro was appointed President & CEO of Plan International Canada in January 2016, where she is responsible for leading one of Canada’s largest international development and child-rights agencies, working with children, families, communities and governments in over 70 countries to bring about positive change.  Caroline is well respected for being a champion of innovation and is credited with launching numerous ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns that have engaged Canadians in new ways on some of the world’s toughest issues.  Before joining Plan Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, where she played a key role in expanding CAMH’s reach among Canadians and helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness.  Prior to CAMH, Caroline held several senior executive positions, most recently as Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Engagement at World Vision Canada where she was responsible for raising $270 million annually. In addition to serving as chair of the GTA chapter’s government relations committee, Caroline also chaired the Canadian Marketing Association’s nonprofit council as has sat on various task forces with Imagine Canada. Caroline holds a Bachelor (honours) degree from McGill University, and is currently pursuing her Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University.

Don’t miss out on the Canada Celebrates rate in the spirit of Canada150! Register for Fundraising Day 2017 and receive this special rate using promo code CANADA150! HURRY- the deadline is May 26!

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

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
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,

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

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Here is a sneak peek of what is coming to Fundraising Day 2017 on June 8 from guest blogger and speaker, Laura Syron.

Incorporating diversity into your shop’s fundraising portfolio? Where do I even start?

Sound familiar?

This is where I found myself back in 2012 when I had just started at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. I’m sitting in a wildly successful fundraising organization with a wonderful, uber-competent staff and a highly-engaged, passionate Board. And I’m walking around a Cancer Centre that is top 5 in the world, and is as diverse in its patient population as is the market in which it finds itself – the GTA.

Why is it then, that when I do a deep dive into our donor records, less than 3% of our donors are from the ethnically diverse communities we serve? And what can I do about the fact that many of our very established programs do not yet have a purposeful focus on engaging ethnocultural communities? And where would I even start given that I have no dedicated resources or official mandate?

Fast forward to 2017. Here at The Princess Margaret, I now have 1 & 1/3 full-time staff focused on ethnocultural strategy; a Board that is actively recruiting for highly-engaged, passionate leaders from the GTA’s ethnocultural communities; a strong and growing set of relationships with key community leaders, and colleagues who have built ethnocultural activities into their plans. And, to date, we have delivered over $2 million net revenue to conquer cancer in our lifetime.

How’d we get there? Come and find out. Join me at AFP’s Fundraising Day 2017 for my session “Modifying your Fundraising Programs to be more Inclusive.” Not only will we talk about my lessons from the trenches, but I’d love to hear about yours. Sign up today!

Laura Syron
Vice-President, Community Programs
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Laura is Vice President, Community Programs at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in Toronto, Canada.   In this role, Laura helps achieve the Foundation’s fundraising goals through oversight of five business units:  Annual Giving, Leadership Giving, Tribute & Memorial, Special Events, and Ethnocultural Strategy.   The Foundation raises and stewards funds for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada’s leading cancer research hospital and be one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.

Prior to her role at The Princess Margaret, Laura was Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Health Promotion at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  Laura joined the Foundation in 1996 and held increasingly senior positions in the organization.  Laura has also worked in the for-profit sector, including senior marketing positions at Procter & Gamble Canada.

Laura holds a Bachelor degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraSyron1

Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

Here’s a Fundraising Day sneak peek from one of our speakers and special guest bloggers, Jerrold McGrath. McGrath is leading the session Y-02: Design Thinking for Fundraisers at #FD17Ideas on June 8th – register today! Follow Jerrold on Twitter @JerroldMcGrath

I have a favor to ask of you. As you shake hands with old friends and new peers at Fundraising Day, I want you to remember the first time you touched the person you love, bare skin on bare skin. I want you to remember being allowed to hold a newborn. I want you to remember turning toward a friend in pain, even though you were frightened and felt inadequate to the task. I want you to remember how you felt and to remember that everyone you meet, however briefly, holds their own versions of those feelings inside of them.

The moments that last are overwhelmingly those that help us feel and generally involve the attention and active participation of other human beings.  And yet we design the places where we work and the transactions that define our work as if how people feel didn’t matter at all.

In meetings, at conferences, in pitch sessions, and in performance reviews we follow a script and we rarely ask about the script’s authorship or how suitable the script is to the performance underway. Luckily or unluckily, I’ve worked in many rooms where no shared script exists. Bringing together artists, leaders from Indigenous communities, frontline social workers, engineers, researchers, and energy sector executives quickly reveals the inadequacy of the scripts we’ve inherited and a desperate need to start over if we hope to build a shared commitment to a better future.

Over time and through often painful experimentation and failure, some recurring themes have emerged that suggested a way of thinking about designing the moments when people come together. My workshop will be an elaboration of these themes, but they are pretty straightforward for anyone that relies on other people.

Firstly, we need to make moments special. When we make them special the moments are enhanced, because taking pains convinces us that the activity is worth doing. Essentially, socially important activities need to be emotionally and physically gratifying.

Secondly, when we focus on our own needs, we are apt to ignore how others feel and we are less likely to get where we want to be. However, when we focus on how we want others to feel, we ignore our own needs, yet paradoxically are more likely to achieve our goals. For example, when we follow a script to seek financial support from a potential donor we can quickly get an answer to a question we have. Will this person support us? However, when we take time and energy to focus on how we want that person to feel, no answers may be forthcoming but all-new questions may emerge that suggest new opportunities for action.

Thirdly, existing scripts too often assume causes and effects that rarely are realized in the world. People are complex, messy, and often contradictory. Scripts imagine people as complicated machines that will respond in appropriate ways to the right sets rational arguments. We don’t believe this about ourselves so we certainly shouldn’t apply this to others. We all want our children to grow up as strong, capable, and happy individuals. Few of us believe that we can force this to happen. We need to focus on creating conditions rather than creating outcomes.

Most of this may seem obvious but remarkably few people are this intentional when preparing to bring people together. We are very good at creating spoken and unspoken rules. We are less good at understanding the unintended consequences of those rules on others and how they affect the experience of our collaborators and friends in the work that we do.

Jerrold McGrath

Through organizational design, leadership development and strategy facilitation, Jerrold supports partner organizations to synthesize their ambitions and the needs of their stakeholders, communities and audiences.

Jerrold was previously the Director of Innovation and Program Partnerships for leadership programming at Banff Centre. Jerrold completed his Master’s in Strategic Innovation and Change at the University of Denver with a focus on strategy formulation in creative sector organizations.

He has developed partnerships, cross-sector collaborations and development programs to leverage the strengths of various sectors in addressing complex, systems-level social and cultural issues (hopelessness, economic inequality, city building, etc.). He has also directed the creation of leadership and entrepreneurial programs that prepare individuals, project teams, and organizations to connect with other sectors, organize to leverage digital creation and consumption, benefit from greater diversity in audiences and creators, while setting a point of view and a path forward.


Posted by & filed under Fundraising Day.

In preparation for Fundraising Day 2017, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter sat down with Melissa Leite, Senior Development Coordinator at Tides Canada 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: What is new and exciting about this year’s Fundraising Day program? Are there any highlights that should be on our radar?

Melissa: This year’s Fundraising Day program offers a strong roster of educational sessions that are both relevant to the fundraising profession, and address issues of importance here in Canada and abroad. This was my first year sitting on the Fundraising Day Committee and it was rewarding to see everyone’s ideas come together into the program that we have today. A highlight I am most passionate about is this year’s focus on diversity and inclusion. I’m proud of the fact that this year’s program is championing big ideas around diversity and inclusion in fundraising and features five sessions on the topic. As an alumnus of the AFP Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy program, I feel inspired and encouraged by AFP’s commitment to becoming inclusive and celebrating diversity.

AFP GTA: This year’s theme is In Every Idea is a Universe.  We’re going to turn the question back to you: Where do good ideas come from?

Melissa: For me, good ideas come from having conversations and listening to diverse perspectives. No two ideas are the same, everyone has something unique to bring to the table. It’s the diversity of people’s experiences that can strengthen a good idea and create truly innovative solutions to today’s most pressing challenges.

AFP GTA: Fundraising professionals are generally quite open to sharing ideas and best practices from within their organizations with one another.  Where do you think this culture of collaboration stems from?

Melissa: I think this culture of collaboration stems from the type of work that we do and the type of people it attracts. Fundraisers are responsible for creating strategies, cultivating meaningful relationships, and raising funds to create durable solutions to address societal issues. There is an inherent desire to do good in the world. I think this desire to serve and give back also translates into wanting to support our peers. Fundraising can at times be challenging, it requires creativity, fresh ideas and perspectives, and the ability to adapt and seek out new sources of funding. Sharing good ideas is the only way we will continue to be successful as a profession and build on the best practices that exist today.

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

Melissa: Attend as many sessions as you can and participate in the full day of activities. Come to Fundraising Day with an open mind and ready to meet fundraisers from all walks of life. This is your day to learn, reboot, and to be re-inspired. Seize the day and come prepared to share ideas and build on what you already know.


About Melissa Leite:

Melissa Leite is a senior development coordinator at Tides Canada, an innovative charity that supports people in building healthy, vibrant communities that have the social, economic, and natural capital to steward their environments for generations to come. In her role, Melissa is responsible for leadership annual giving and supports all aspects of major gifts fundraising. She holds an honours degree in Public Policy and Administration from York University and a postgraduate certificate in Public Policy and Administration from Humber College.