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




Posted by & filed under Special Events.

By Jennifer Meriano

I have always felt lucky to have a career that has been more of a winding road than a straight climb up the ladder. I began my work life on the for-profit side, doing everything from marketing campaign creation to customer experience mapping to creative direction. I then made a move to nonprofit life, applying my strategic and creative skills to donor engagement. Being a part of so many different industries and projects, one thing has always been a constant – attending conferences. I know whether you are attending your first conference or your first conference on a particular subject matter, conferences can be intimidating, especially if you are attending alone. So, if you are going to be a first time AFP Congress attendee this year, here are few things to help you make the most of your experience.


  1. Get Excited – There is learning afoot!

Congress is about you and your professional development. Preparation for the conference is essential to making the most of this opportunity. Come to the conference with a clear plan for at least one thing you want to learn more about. Focus on leaving the conference with one insight in this area and make a promise to yourself to apply it in your first week back to work. I also recommend attending sessions that are a little out of your wheelhouse – do not feel confined to sessions that cover what you already know.


  1. Talk to People – They will not bite!

Some of the most valuable leanings you will gain at Congress will come from networking. As a proud introvert, I understand this can be tough, but it is so important. Many people find the idea of starting a conversation with a stranger awkward, but just remember meeting people is on their agenda too. One of the best things about a conference is that it brings like-minded people together in one room to share ideas, so don’t let this chance go to waste. Stuck? An easy conversation starter is to ask what sessions they have attended so far. And don’t forget to end every conversation by asking for the person’s business card no matter who they are. If you really want to crush conference networking, follow-up the next day with a brief email letting them know you enjoyed meeting them and connect on LinkedIn.


  1. Exhibitor Booths – More than just SWAG!

Full disclosure, I have been an exhibitor at many conferences and I feel strongly that most attendees do not make the most of this opportunity. It is vital to remember that exhibitor booths are not just about immediate need. Let’s face it, if you had an immediate need you would already know who they are. Visiting exhibitor booths is about gaining a greater understanding of your industry’s landscape and learning what tools are available to you. Talk to the people at these booths and take the time to understand what they can provide. This can be invaluable when creating new innovative strategies in the future.

Attending a conference is a rare occasion to talk to people in your industry, learn from the mistakes and successes of others and better yourself. Embrace it; you are going to have a great time!


Jennifer Meriano is a Brand & Donor Strategist and member of the 2019 Congress marketing committee. She looks forward to welcoming you at Congress and connecting! 

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Congress, Fundraising, Inspiration, Leadership/Management, Opinion, Special Events, Volunteers.

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!


Take Pride

“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


Going Beyond

“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 »

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Fundraising Day, Opinion, Special Events.

For the second year in a row, we’re reaching out to the wider AFP community inviting proposals to make up a diverse and engaging 2020 Fundraising Day education program.

Fundraising Day provides a unique one-day opportunity to network with the sectors most sought-after professionals and to learn from Canada’s top educators about the unique challenges and opportunities within the realm of fundraising and development.

In 2020, Fundraising Day will focus on the digital future of fundraisingWe’re looking forward to where digital is leading and disrupting our practice and what this means for the sector. How does digital fit into your current fundraising practices? How is it changing your approach? What trends within the realm of digital are making the biggest philanthropic impact? And most importantly, where are we headed next? We’ll be exploring these questions and more at Fundraising Day on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Share your knowledge, passion, ideas and expertise with your fellow fundraisers – submit a proposal by Friday, December 6, 2019

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 Google to complete the form in order to upload your materials).


First time applying? Review our first-time speaker proposal guide here.

Please carefully review the application instructions – applications submitted in any other way or after the deadline will not be accepted. Please note that Fundraising Day does not offer any travel stipends for out-of-town speakers.




Event Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Event Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre – 255 Front St. W., Toronto (map)

Proposal Deadline: Friday, December 6, 2019


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

I thank you in advance for applying and look forward to exploring fundraising through a digital lens with you all in 2020!


Aaron Sanderson, MA, FAHP, ACFRE

Chair, AFP Toronto Fundraising Day 2020
Vice President, Philanthropy
Plan International Canada

Posted by & filed under Announcement.


October 31, 2019 — On behalf of the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), it gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of Penny Connors as the new Executive Director for the Chapter.

After 25 years of incredible service to the Chapter, Cynthia Quigley will be retiring this January.  Recently, the Greater Toronto Chapter Board launched a comprehensive search, led by the team at KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.), to identify a seasoned association professional to provide leadership to the Chapter during this exciting next phase of growth.  Penny was selected from a long list of qualified candidates due to her extensive experience in the not-for-profit association and regulatory sectors, including leading subject matter expert 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. Read more »

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

By Jacquelyn Folville

Originally published as part of DM Magazine’s October 2019 issue.


From November 25 to 27, 2019, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter will host its 24th annual Congress conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The conference is one of the Chapter’s signature events that provides a unique professional development and networking opportunity.

“I look forward to Congress every year; as a fundraiser, it’s my Christmas,” says member Laura Champion, who is also a part of this year’s volunteer conference management committee and incoming Chair of Congress 2020.

Each year, the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Congress hosts approximately 1,000 delegates made up of fundraising and non-profit professionals from across the country who come to learn, connect and be inspired. With over 80 sessions ranging from beginner-level how-to fundraising workshops, to intermediate practical and skills-based presentations and to senior-level discussions, Congress has something for everyone.

“Congress is a great way for both our members and non-members to connect professionally, exchange ideas, ask questions and network with experts in the field and to re-charge outside of the office,” says AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Director, Cynthia Quigley. “It’s an opportunity for individuals at all skill levels to engage in new ideas and to leave with practical takeaways they can implement right away back at their organizations to advance their causes and their careers.” Read more »

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Congress, Inspiration, Opinion, Special Events, Uncategorized.

By Cynthia Quigley, Director – Canadian Services & AFP Greater Toronto Chapter

Originally published as part of a special tribute edition of DM magazine




No, I am not writing my obituary. I am writing to say “thank you all” for believing in me and allowing me to serve and devote myself to you for almost 25 years. I am grateful to have played an important role in making the AFP Toronto Chapter the success it is today and being the number one Chapter in the world.

I have been reading the e-mails from many of the members who responded when the announcement went out. One person wrote: “Your legacy has been amazing: the largest chapter, birthing the foundation, AFP Canada, building AFP’s best conference and growing our profession. I hope you take some time to soak in your impact.” Read more »

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Bursaries.

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, not-for-profit 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 not-for-profit organizations develop their knowledge and skill in fundraising.

The Scholarship, valued at $2,000.00 is intended to cover the registration fee to attend the Conference plus limited travel expenses. A cheque in the amount of $1,500.00 will be sent to the scholarship recipient from the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter. The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy will pay the $500 balance directly to the International Conference for the recipient’s registration to attend the Conference. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Ethics, Government Relations, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

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!


2019 Smith Scale-Up cannabis panel (right to left): Alison Gordon, Michael Garbuz, Afshin Mousavian; with moderator Brett Larson on far left


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.


John Paul de Silva

Written by John Paul de Silva

Hopeful Inc.’s Director of Marketing

Posted by & filed under Announcement, Philanthropy Awards.

The AFP Philanthropy Awards Selection Committee, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is very pleased to announce your 2019 award recipients.“On behalf of all us at the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter, congratulations to the 2019 honourees. They are an extraordinary group of people who have made truly catalytic contributions to the field of philanthropy and most importantly the communities we serve”, said Caroline Riseboro, President of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter and Chair of the Philanthropy Awards Selection Committee.

The 2019 honourees are:

As Ms. Riseboro said, “This year’s recipients, through their philanthropy, volunteerism and vision, have improved the quality of life for millions of Canadians. Not one part of our community has gone untouched by their passion and generosity. I am thrilled to celebrate them with them, their loved ones and our AFP community on November 27th.”

The 2019 recipients will be honoured at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, November 27th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, as part of Congress 2019, the Greater Toronto Chapter’s annual conference. Please visit the Philanthropy Awards website to order tickets, book a congratulatory advertisement, and learn more about the past recipients.

About the Awards

The AFP Greater Toronto Chapter has honoured leadership in philanthropy through its annual awards program since 1995. This year’s group of extraordinary recipients will join a long list of generous Canadians. These awards celebrate the outstanding contribution of time, leadership and financial support of a special group of Canadians who set new benchmarks of excellence in the acts of giving and volunteering.

For more information, please visit the 2019 Philanthropy Awards website.