Until earlier this week, I only had three more principles, but being a person who likes symmetry in life, I gave some thought to what my 12th principle might be. And while attending the AFP 2013 International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego earlier this week, I had an epiphany.
On Sunday, the Association of Fundraising Professionals kicked off its 50th International Conference on Fundraising, and it kicked things off in style. How? With fundraising legend after fundraising legend … as well as Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter John Legend.
A generous couple in Saskatchewan; an outstanding family foundation supporting causes around the world; a volunteer legend in Vancouver; a fundraising pioneer in Wisconsin; a dynamic brother-sister team in Georgia; an inspiring newspaper project in Calgary; and a heroic young woman in Minnesota are all recipients of the Association of Fundraising Professionals 2013 Awards for Philanthropy.
In my early career as a fundraiser, I worked in a small shop, a mission-based organization where I was the only professionally trained fundraiser working directly with donors. Previous fundraising had focused on mail, phone and whoever walked in the front door. Often, I was an outcast. In my first annual review I was asked to stop wearing suits, as it gave staff the impression I considered myself more important than everyone else. Moving to a large charity did not solve that awkward profile issue.
In Part One I discussed how training and professional development, along with a comprehensive development plan that has buy-in from key stakeholders, can help alleviate some of the challenges facing the nonprofit community. In Part Two, I tackle the all important culture of philanthropy nonprofits must adopt to be successful fundraising organizations.
If there is a firewall between leadership, program staff, the mission, the vision and the development office, the donor experience will be very shallow.
Fundraising success isn’t a question of have's and have-not’s. Sure, larger organizations may raise more money, but that’s because they have more staff, resources, etc. But smaller organizations can be just as successful with the resources they have. Fundraising success is a question of belief. Believe in fundraising, embrace it and invest in it long-term and you are bound to find success. Ignore it, or pay it lip service, and you’ll likely find a revolving door at your development director position.
Announcing the 2013 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards Rising Stars.
Three fundraising professionals on the front lines discussed a multitude of issues surrounding the fundraising sector, including corporate trends, major donor concerns and changes to the tax law at the Association of Fundraising Professionals New York City Chapter's annual meeting.