State of the Industry: Highlights from AFP-NYC’s 2016 Annual Meeting
On Jan. 13, Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York City Chapter (AFP-NYC) held its fourth annual State of the Industry meeting at CURRENT at Chelsea Piers in New York. It was a remarkably productive event, accomplished in an impressively short amount of time. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are a few highlights, including key takeaways from a panel discussion about how to best approach corporate funders.
• Mark Kalish, CFRE, president of Kalish & Associates Inc., was honored with the Chamberlain Award in recognition of his leadership in the philanthropic sector and his commitment to the AFP.
• Mark Heftner bid his goodbye as president after two outstanding years and warmly welcomed incoming president Susan Shattuck. Her big-picture goal is to “elevate the profile and status of our profession and our sector, and to spotlight our significant contribution to the economy and the nation.” To see an outline of Shattuck’s specific goals, read her president’s letter here.
• Keynote speaker Jason Lee, general counsel for Association of Fundraising Professionals, shared some economic insights and updates for 2016. Among them was a reminder that a leading indicator of when the economy is down is how the nonprofit sector is performing. And since nonprofits can’t really help or grow the economy, they can at least, from a legislative position, work with the IRS to help ensure that the government does not create barriers that would restrict a donor’s ability to give. Recently, there were two wins for the sector:
- The IRS proposal to request social security numbers when donations are $250 or more was defeated, thanks in large part to the incredible amount of grassroots movement against it.
- The Charitable IRA Rollover was made permanent in December. To read more about it and other charitable tax breaks, click here.
• And finally, there was a panel discussion about how to best approach funders, moderated by Jill Kaplan, publisher and vice president for Crain’s New York. Panelists included Michael Haberman, managing director and Northeast Region executive of global philanthropy for JP Morgan Chase; Marcie Passarella, director of global citizenship and sustainability for PepsiCo Inc.; and Carmel Owen, vice president of leadership giving for The New York Women's Foundation.
Some of the top takeaways from this elite group of experts include:
- When considering what funders to approach, do your homework! Make sure there’s a good fit between your two organizations and mission.
- If the funder feels the missions don’t align, do not try to force it. But do stay in touch politely. Strategies can change.
- Make sure your program strategy is a good fit for the funder. For example, PepsiCo is looking for opportunities that meet its mission and its model, which must show a market or revenue-based solution. How will you sustain the program once those funds are gone?
- Understand your own capabilities and needs. How will the funder help you “move the needle” towards your shared goals? What is your long-term strategy?
- What are your points of differentiation? What makes you unique?
- Consider what you need beyond capital. Many funders also have other resources to offer, such as global reach and/or employee engagement.
- Have a communications strategy to share. Be cognizant that, yes, funders want to “do the right thing,” but they also want to further the world’s perception of them. How will you do that?
- METRICS. Sorry folks. This one is here to stay, no matter how small (or large) your organization is. Bring your numbers and be prepared to explain them.
- And lastly, remember the basics: know who to engage, do your homework/research, listen, follow-up.
And something to consider from Michael Haberman: “A really good fundraiser sets the CEO and board up to be a good fundraiser.”