AFP Fundraising Conference Takeaways: Putting Passion Into Practice
Exhilarated and exhausted. That's me. And probably around 3,000 other fundraising professions who attended the 51st Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference on Fundraising in San Antonio.
I learned, refreshed, saw old friends and made new ones. I have ideas buzzing around on how we can better help nonprofits fulfill their potential — and even ideas on how we can market ourselves better.
But action is the key, as we all know. And now that I have a day full of meetings, deadlines and working on some terrific projects, I am challenged to take full advantage of my experience from San Antonio.
If you feel the same way, here's my plan that you may find helpful:
- Review my notes, and incorporate them into my goals and daily/weekly action lists.
- Review the program for sessions of interest that I did not attend and download available materials.
- Reach out and express thanks to those who made this possible, from the AFP staff and volunteers to presenters.
- Connect with those I met through social media and by entering their contact information in Outlook.
- Make a note of those I would enjoy reaching out to before I might ordinarily see them next — in this case at the AFP conference in Baltimore next year.
- Review the materials that I gained from the exhibit hall, and discern which resources can best help our firm and our clients.
The AFP conference is my favorite gathering due to its diversity. We saw Jerry Panas (who received the Chair's Award for Outstanding Service), Kay Sprinkel Grace and Jim Lord, as well as many of the professionals who are so familiar from today's books and online content. It is truly international, and we can learn from all cultures across the profession of fundraising. Every organization — every organization in each community — is different. By interacting with other types of organizations, and even like organizations of varying sizes, you can continually incorporate a fresh approach each day to your mission.
If you are eager to build on your AFP experience, or if you were unable to attend and travel to Philadelphia in two weeks is viable, let me encourage you to take advantage of another learning opportunity. FundRaising Success' Engage Conference is April 10. This is a small, interactive, case-study approach to fundraising with a direct-response focus. Last year's inaugural event was one of the best I have ever attended — check it out today!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.