I Got to Engage. Now It's Your Turn!
What a joy for someone who lives in Indianapolis to take two planes and travel to Philadelphia to participate in the recent 2014 Engage Conference hosted by Fundraising Success magazine. I met many individuals who were born in one place and live in another. I also met many people from an array of organizations from small, rural shops to large, international entities. Everyone was hungry to learn how to use tools to integrate their fundraising plan and use case studies as a catalyst to improve their fundraising organization's performance.
I was impressed by the format of the day-long conference. The meet-and-greets were beneficial. The case studies were comprehensive and outstanding. The roundtables were inspirational, and everyone wanted to engage. Even lunch and breaks were long enough for professionals to share ideas, experiences, dreams and thoughts for the future. The atmosphere was very positive, and the location of the day was perfect. By design, attendance was limited, and yet there was great diversity of thought and presence. The day went by very quickly, and I learned that both problems and opportunities exist for all of us. There was also a nice balance from those new to the profession to senior-level executives and consultants.
Having written articles and blogs for Fundraising Success for more than six years, I was humbled by a conference participant who commented that she was inspired by my blogs. You never know who you touch. The only reason I write weekly blogs is to share my career lifetime of experiences with others through my eyes. My personal philosophy will always be to blend theory and practice. With the state of technology and the ever-changing world of fundraising, to succeed you will have keep up to date with state of the art and best practices to stay ahead. Fundraising Success gives you so many different perspectives by an array of talented writers. Each person views the world in a different way. I enjoy reading these articles, and I encourage you to do the same.
We all have a habit of going to work, doing our jobs and then going home. Have you thought of truly engaging with others? Ask questions, and learn why donors give to meeting face to face with them. Seek peers of various backgrounds and experience levels in order to learn new techniques. Read what others have to say about the profession, future trends and ways to improve your personal and organizational performance.
While I have been in this career for many years, I still get excited when I learn something new. The fundraising world is a painting involving art and science. Many variables affect our success that are out of our control. Communication and education is vital to acquisition, retention and long-term support for those in and out of your organization. In my opinion, you have no choice but to engage with others starting today!
As I left Philadelphia and the 2014 Engage Conference, I smiled as I walked down the street on a beautiful evening. The conference validated the fact that Fundraising Success is an outstanding tool for everyone in our profession. The professionals who work for the organization are dedicated to the advancement of our profession. I look forward to the 2015 Engage Conference, and I hope you look forward to my future weekly blogs. We are all in this together.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.