Editor's Note: Good Call
I like it when readers contact me with feedback on things they see in the pages of FundRaising Success, or on our Web site, or in our e-letters. Believe it or not, I even like it when they have something less-than-positive to say. At least they’re reading, and they care enough about what we do here to take precious moments out of their days to let us know how they feel.
This month, we heard from Eric Foley, vice president of training for the Mission Increase Foundation, who called me on perpetuating a damaging, old-school attitude — albeit inadvertantly — with the May cover of the magazine.
The image was that of a cowboy brandishing a lasso, and it was meant to illustrate our special report on acquisition. Very graciously, Eric pointed out:
“ … it unintentionally perpetuates an implied identification of donors and nonprofits that tends to nip at the margins of our field at our worst moments, namely: If nonprofit = cowboy, then donors = cattle.
“That’s certainly not the attitude of FS, to be sure. But it’s a temptation we all face in this work from time to time, and I think cover photos can either confirm or challenge our worst stereotypes.
“I’m hopeful for the day I open my mailbox and see an FS cover photo that portrays the donor … on the horse! It’s exciting to see our field recognize more and more that [donors] spreading the cause in their sphere[s] of influence (with nonprofits serving as the supporters and convening mechanisms) is an ever more emergent model.”
I couldn’t agree more, and I appreciate that Eric was quick to acknowledge that FS doesn’t subscribe to that donor-as-cattle mentality. We fully believe in and support the donor-as-champion model. And while I think we’re done with cowboys on the cover for a while, we will continue to encourage our readers to think that way as well. Thanks for your input, Eric!
Better late than never
Kudos all over the place to the folks behind the 46th AFP International Conference on Fundraising, which took place in New Orleans in March. This was my sixth year attending, and I think it was the best one I’ve been to yet. The plenary speakers were relevant and mesmerizing; the bulk of the session presenters were energetic and highly capable; the curriculum managed an impressive balance of the basics and more advanced tactics and issues; and there was a healthy nod to new technologies and e-strategies. Overall, the buzz was good and the energy level higher than I’ve seen at this conference in years. Thanks, AFP! We’re already looking forward to next year.