Posted by & filed under Announcement.

COVID-19 Update

We recognize that we are in unusual times. The health, safety and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance to us at the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter and as such, we are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation as new information becomes available from health professionals.

Here’s what we’re doing to ensure the safety and security of our members (and non-members) over the next few months:

  • We are monitoring the latest news and medical updates and following recommendations by local and national health professionals.
  • We are tracking updates from AFP Global and working with them on promoting association best practices and encouraging members to take advantage of professional development opportunities through AFP ICON Virtual.
  • We are also tracking other associations’ plans for upcoming conferences and events over the next few months.
  • We are working with our vendors and suppliers to ensure best practices are followed and to provide extra precautions including hand sanitizing stations, regular facility cleaning and other health protocols.
  • We are encouraging staff, our Chapter Board, committees and volunteers to conduct meetings virtually and to stay home if they are sick.

With regards to our upcoming events, here is what we have planned:

  • Thursday, April 9 – The Sponsorship Masterclass with Chris Baylis – postponed until further notice
  • Thursday, April 16 – Senior leader Senate event – postponed until further notice
  • Thursday, April 23 – Speaker Discovery Series – postponed until further notice
  • Saturday, May 2-Sunday, May 3 – Fundamentals of Fundraising Weekend Intensive – postponed until further notice
  • Thursday, May 14 – How to Become a CFRE – postponed until further notice
  • Thursday, May 21 – CFRE Refresher course – postponed until further notice
  • Wednesday, June 3 – Fundraising Day: The Fundraising Frontier – a virtual option is being considered. Stay tuned for more information.

Further details and updates will be posted on our website as they become available.

For more information or questions, please contact us at or 416-941-9212.

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

On behalf of all us at the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, be well and take care.


Penny Connors, BA, BComm, CRM, CAE
Executive Director, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Board of Directors, Volunteers.

The AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is looking for individuals to join the Chapter’s 2020-2021 Board of Directors.

The Chapter Board of Directors oversees the strategy, business, and brand of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter as it relates to our Strategic Plan, policies and membership needs. We are the largest Chapter in the world and the Board currently has fifteen members.

We’re looking for members who have a strong commitment to the fundraising profession through service to AFP, other professional associations and the community at large. These attributes, together with demonstrated leadership skills that reflect the communities we serve, will all be considered by the Chapter’s Committee on Directorship. Those candidates selected for an interview should be prepared to discuss their interests in and potential contributions to the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter and the broader sector community.

If you are interested in learning more about this process and the criteria through which applicants are considered, please click here for details and to apply. Applications are due by 5pm on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Thank you in advance for your interest and involvement with AFP.


Caroline Riseboro
President, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
President & CEO, Trillium Health Partners Foundation

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Bursaries, Career Development, Corporate/Sponsorship, Digital, Fundraising, Fundraising Day, Leadership/Management, Mentorship, Networking, Speakers, Special Events, Volunteers.

AFP Toronto Fundraising Day 2020


AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Fundraising Day provides you with an exclusive chance to network with sector leaders and to learn from Canada’s top educators about the unique challenges and opportunities in the areas of fundraising and development.


We are excited to announce that this year, Fundraising Day will focus on the fundraising frontier – the digital future of fundraising and what this means for the sector. Digital fundraising is constantly evolving so if you’re looking to learn how you can make the best use of this essential tool in your practice, don’t miss this conference!


Featuring an array of engaging presentations from Ted Garrard, Jennifer Bernard, Maeve Strathy, Chris Baylis, Ken Mayhew & more!


Early-bird is registration available now until April 10! 



Back by popular demand…even further discounted group savings:

  • Register 2 or more attendees and receive 15% off *
  • Register 5 or more attendees and receive 20% off *

*Discount will be automatically applied at checkout.


Stay tuned for more information about available bursaries.



Posted by & filed under Announcement.

I want to take a moment to introduce myself to all of you. My name is Penny Connors and I am excited to be taking the lead as your new Executive Director at the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter. I am honoured to have been selected from a group of seasoned professionals after a comprehensive recruitment process led by the team at KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) and am honoured to have had the opportunity to meet some of you, our members, at Congress this past November. I look forward to working with our Chapter Board of Directors, staff team, partners and sponsors, volunteers, and you, our members, to continue to build on the success of the Chapter and contribute to advancing new initiatives in the Chapter’s Strategic Plan.

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with my predecessor, Cynthia Quigley, these past few weeks in order to begin to familiarize myself with the Chapter’s programs and events and understand that I have some pretty big shoes to fill! Cynthia has been a phenomenal lead for the Chapter for the past 25 years and leaves an inspiring legacy – something that I hope to build upon. I am grateful for all of her hard work and for her transferring of knowledge, so that I can continue to work with you, our members, to take our Chapter to new heights.

I come from a background of extensive experience in the non-profit and regulatory sectors, leading teams to enhance certification standards and processes, working with not-for-profit Boards and Board committees in Finance, Governance and Human Resource oversight and leadership of member service initiatives. You can read more about my experience here.

As a racialized woman with certification and experience delivering workplace discrimination and harassment prevention training through the Employment Equity Office of the Government of Ontario, I look forward to supporting, improving and advancing AFP’s inclusivity, diversity, equality and access (IDEA) initiatives and celebrating new and diverse voices and perspectives within the sector. This includes working with our Board, staff, sponsors, partners and volunteers to build effective and transparent processes to ensure programs are reflective of and responsive to the communities we serve.

Personally, I have lived and worked in the Greater Toronto Area my whole life and enjoy spending time with family and friends. I am a proud mother of three.

I hope to meet you at upcoming Chapter events and in the meantime, welcome you to reach out to me at or to connect with me on LinkedIn.

I look forward to working with you & wish you all the best for 2020!

Penny Connors, BA, BComm, CRM, CAE
Executive Director
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Fundraising, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

What fundraisers are thinking and how they are planning for the year ahead

By Gail Picco orginally published on the AFP Canada blog.

As 2020 approaches, many fundraisers are assessing what has—and hasn’t—worked for them in the past, even as they cope with the external dynamics buffeting the sector today and consider the emerging critique of the structure of philanthropy itself. From sector-wide issues to program planning for their own organizations, fundraisers across the country are heading into 2020 with their eyes wide open to the challenges and plans to meet those challenges or, at least, understand them better.

“What does it mean to disrupt our sector,” asks Rickesh Lakhani, CFRE, executive director of a community-based organization working with children and youth in Toronto.  “Whatever is happening now—whether it’s inclusion, harassment or lack of innovation—needs a critical eye. I’ve been looking at Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas and thinking about how people can be incentivized to break down the structure of the power imbalance.”

Juniper Locilento, MPNL, CFRE, chief development director of a national organization of community food centres, agrees. “After spending time in 2019 with the work of Rob Reich and Anand Giridharadas, I’m more oriented than ever before towards social change philanthropy and I’m thinking critically about the balance of power in philanthropy and demonstrating that my organization will strengthen democracy rather than plutocracy,” she says. Read more »

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

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 »

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Congress, Inspiration, Leadership/Management, Speakers, Special Events.


The things we think about a lot but need to talk about more.

We’re looking for speakers to navigate the critical conversations fundraising professionals in 2020 need to be having to develop and flourish in our industry.

If you’re ready to talk, we want to hear your ideas.



Submit your speaker proposals for #AFPCongress2020 by January 13!

AFP Congress provides delegates with an immersive, three-day professional development opportunity to learn from Canada’s top educators, explore innovative vendor products and services, and to network with the sector’s most respected leaders.


In 2020, Congress will focus on themes that are not exclusive to the fundraising profession, but have major impact on our work. From money asks (for your organization, for yourself), to gender dynamics, to legacy (your donor’s, your own), Money, Death, and Sex inform how we behave and what decisions get made.


At AFP Congress 2020, we’re bringing these taboo topics to the fore, to engage — respectfully, constructively, and BOLDLY — with the thoughts we’ve all grappled with during our careers.


Up for the challenge? Excited to share your knowledge, passion, ideas and expertise with your fellow fundraisers? Submit your proposal by Monday, January 13, 2019, and let’s start talking.


Laura Champion

Chair, AFP Congress 2020
Fundraising Strategist
Blakely Inc.


First time applying?

Check out our first-timer’s speaker proposal guide here.

This year at Congress, we’re trying something new: the CASE (Cultivating Amateur Speakers to Excellence) Studies session. If you’ve never spoken at Congress before, click here to learn more about this exciting new session and why you should consider participating.

Please carefully review the application instructions – applications submitted in any other way or after the deadline will not be accepted. 


We are always looking for ways to improve upon our speaker selection process and as such, will be ensuring that all submissions are reviewed by a committee of peers based on a systemic evaluation rubric. In order to encourage complete and high-quality submissions, all submissions must include detailed session descriptions, speaker bios and headshots (this requires you to sign-in to a Google account to complete the form in order to upload your materials).

For more information or questions about the conference, proposals or selection process, please contact