Posts tagged ‘AFP’

June 5, 2020

Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Fundraising [WEBINAR]

I don’t have to tell you that these are troubling times. We’ve had to cope with coronavirus (COVID-19), the economic fallout from the pandemic and, now, the heart-wrenching killing of George “Perry” Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

As nonprofit managers and fundraising professionals, we have a choice: We can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the horrible events of 2020, or we can continue to do what we always do and help those who depend on us. While the suffering around us pains me, I take some solace in knowing that. like you, I am a member of a noble profession that seeks to make the world a better place. We are needed now more than ever.

That’s why I want to invite you to join me and your nonprofit colleagues for a webinar to help you be more of the fundraising professional you aspire to be. The program is hosted by the Association Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Here are the details so you can register now:

Avoid the Seven Deadly Fundraising Sins and Raise More Money

Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM (EDT)

Description: Surveys show that the public’s trust in the nonprofit sector has been on a steady decline for years. At the same time, the number of charity donors has been on the decline and, in 2018, total giving fell by 1.7% in inflation-adjusted dollars.

This webinar will use real-world examples cited by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and pulled from news headlines to illustrate seven deadly fundraising sins involving: conflicts of interest, gift restrictions, accountability, tainted money, donor privacy, compensation, and cooking the books. By reviewing these examples, you’ll be better able to avoid making the same mistakes.

Because there are more than seven sins to avoid, you’ll also get a decision-making model to help you sidestep blunders, build trust, and raise more money.

Tickets: $15 (members), $40 (non-members)

Registration: Webinar seating is limited, so register now by clicking here.

As I have written previously:

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March 20, 2020

Free Webinar: Get Fundraising Tips in the Time of COVID-19

[GOOD NEWS UPDATE (March 21, 2020): If you attempted to register for my free webinar with the AFP Greater Philadelphia Chapter, you may not have been able to do so as the program was immediately over-subscribed. However, AFP-GPC has increased capacity to accommodate more participants. Please try to register now by clicking here. I apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.]

[UPDATE (March 20, 2020): Based on how quickly my free webinar became over-subscribed, I realize that there is a massive need for information about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the nonprofit sector and what we can do about it. If your charity or professional association wants to deliver an online training program on this, or any other subject, please contact me. Together, we’ll get through this.]

Join me for a free webinar hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter and sponsored by Merkle Response Management Group. During the program, I’ll outline 12 ways coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect your nonprofit organization. I’ll also share powerful, practical tips for coping with the current fundraising environment. In addition, you’ll get 10 useful survival tips to keep you, your colleagues, and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.

The webinar is free of charge and open to fundraising professionals and nonprofit managers and senior volunteer leadership everywhere. Here’s what you need to know:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Ways It Will Affect You and Your Fundraising Efforts

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (EDT)

You’ll Get:

      • Insights about key ways fundraising efforts will be affected by COVID-19.
      • Tips for keeping yourself, colleagues, and loved ones safe.
      • Bonus materials.

Click here to register now.

Each day, you and I are confronted by new information concerning the spread of the coronavirus and the related implications. It’s a lot to keep up with. Yet, we must for ourselves, our loved ones, and our organizations upon which so many depend. We try to stay on top of the story, but it’s an incredibly fluid situation. Then, there are the nagging questions we ask ourselves or the CEO asks or a board member asks, including:

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March 13, 2020

AFP Cancels Its In-Person International Conference

The Association of Fundraising Professionals has announced the cancelation of the in-person experience for its upcoming International Conference. However, AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still go ahead. Mike Geiger, President and CEO of AFP, issued a statement on March 12, 2020 that, in part, says:

The situation regarding COVID-19, the coronavirus, has changed dramatically. With Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement today of the executive order prohibiting gatherings and events over 250 people, we have canceled the in-person experience of AFP ICON 2020. However, despite the announcement, we have plans in place and AFP ICON VIRTUAL will continue on schedule.

In fact, we are looking at ways to expand the VIRTUAL experience to make up for the lack of the in-person event, including how to best integrate more education and networking aspects into AFP ICON VIRTUAL. If you are registered for AFP ICON 2020 and have not yet transferred or canceled your registration, you have four (4) options.

  1. Transfer your registration to AFP ICON VIRTUAL. You can learn more about AFP ICON VIRTUAL at afpicon.com/virtual.
  2. Transfer your registration to AFP ICON 2021, April 18-20 in Minneapolis, Minn.
  3. Cancel your registration for a full refund.

If you are contemplating canceling your registration, we invite you to consider the fourth option of donating part or all of your conference registration fee to the AFP Foundations for Philanthropy. This would be a tax-deductible donation. To donate, simply email foundation [at] afpglobal.org by March 31, 2020, stating your intended donation amount.

I’m sorry we won’t be able to offer the full AFP ICON 2020 at this time, because the education and networking experience in-person is always exciting, unique and inspiring.

The AFP community is a strong one, and I know we all remain dedicated to our causes. Thank you for your patience, and I commit to you that we’ll continue to look for ways to offer education and training this year that will help you advance your cause.”

To read Geiger’s full statement, which includes relevant contact information, click here.

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March 12, 2020

Worried about Going to AFP ICON? Now You Can Attend Online!

[BREAKING NEWS (March 12, 2020): The AFP ICON in-person experience has been canceled. The AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still take place. Learn more by clicking here.]

The World Health Organization declares that the global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a pandemic. Nonprofit organizations around the world are beginning to limit non-essential travel, events, and even routine group interactions (e.g., sporting events, performances, classes, visitation, etc.). As the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference draws near, Mike Geiger, AFP President and CEO, continues to closely monitor the evolving situation.

With the AFP ICON scheduled for March 29-31, the organization issued two recent announcements:

  1. At this point, the conference will open as planned in Baltimore, MD. Both AFP and the Convention Center are taking precautions. You can learn more by clicking here.
  2. If you cannot or do not want to attend the AFP ICON in-person, you now have the option of participating online.

“AFP knows it’s not a normal time—and your organization may have placed a ban or restriction on your travel, or perhaps you’re unsure and concerned about traveling. But you still need to learn and develop your skills and be inspired by extraordinary speakers from around the world. You still need what AFP ICON can offer, which is why we’re offering AFP ICON VIRTUAL, your online fundraising conference,” says AFP.

Registrants for AFP ICON VIRTUAL will receive:

  • Three days of AFP ICON sessions — that’s 9 different education sessions — featuring some of the best content and speakers that AFP ICON has to offer—and each one video-recorded so you can also watch them at your leisure;
  • Q&A participation to help you get involved as if you were with us in Baltimore;
  • Access to bonus materials including new live content, webinars and micro-learning videos in between education and plenary sessions;
  • Keynote sessions with activist Zainab Salbi and Chef José Andrés; and
  • Audio recordings of EVERY breakout education session offered at AFP ICON, so you still get all of the training you need to be an effective fundraiser!

The registration fee for AFP ICON VIRTUAL is $1,249 for AFP members or  $1,499 for non-members. If you have already registered to attend the conference in Baltimore, AFP permits you to convert your registration to AFP ICON VIRTUAL if you choose.

There are a number of benefits to attending AFP ICON VIRTUAL:

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March 6, 2020

How will Coronavirus Affect Your Fundraising Efforts?

Coronavirus is spreading with profound implications for the nonprofit sector. As I write this post, there have been 98,088 global documented cases of COVID-19 resulting in 3,356 deaths.

This is my third post about coronavirus. Previously, I looked at how you can keep yourself and your colleagues healthy, and I have written about what the Association of Fundraising Professionals is doing to ensure a safe, successful International Conference later this month.

Now, I want to look at some of the ways the advance of COVID-19 might affect your fundraising efforts. Most of the points were shared with me by Ken Wyman, a Canadian-based consultant and Professor Emeritus from the Fundraising Management graduate program at Humber College. I thank Ken for generously sharing his insights.

While there is no reason for you to panic, you and your nonprofit organization should prepare for what is happening and what could happen. To help you with your planning, here is a list of just 17 ways your fundraising efforts could be affected:

1. Special events may need to be canceled. Already, the American Physical Society canceled its annual conference; the Global Health Conference has been canceled; the American Bar Association canceled its National Institute on White Collar Crime; Chicago State University has canceled some basketball games; and other nonprofit and for-profit events have been canceled. You might need to cancel certain events out of real health concerns or because attendance would be low because of fear.

2. Staff and volunteers may need to work from home, and/or take sick days. Sick people should stay out of the office rather than come in and risk infecting colleagues. Not only will this protect people from coronavirus, but it will also protect them from many other illnesses as well. To allow for this, your organization might need to revise its policies and procedures.

3. Donors may value your health-related projects more. If your nonprofit is a healthcare organization or a charity that offers health-related programs, you may find greater donor interest in your services. Be sure to let people know how your organization is responding to the current health situation.

4. Corporate donations may go down as profits and stock markets decline. The US stock market has seen several days of sharp decline and extreme volatility. Leading economists anticipate a global reduction in Gross Domestic Product because of COVID-19. A decline in corporate profits will likely result in a decrease in corporate giving. When appealing to corporations, be sure to demonstrate how giving to your organization will deliver value to the corporation.

5. Don’t lick envelopes for thank-you cards. Eww! The same goes for any correspondence you mail. Instead, for high-volume mailings, automate the process; for low-volume mailings, use a damp sponge or paper towel to moisten envelopes. The bonus is that you won’t risk getting a paper cut on your tongue.

6. This is a good time to remind donors about gifts in their Wills. A gift in a Will is a great way for someone to support their favorite charities when they might not be able or willing to do so with a current cash gift.

7. Isolated lonely donors may welcome phone calls. As people start spending more time at home rather than risking a trip out in public, some will begin to feel isolated. These supporters will appreciate a phone call from you even more than ever. Call donors to thank them, update them about a program, survey them, etc.

8. Virtual board meetings are less infectious and better for the environment. Instead of gathering your board members around a conference table, you can host a virtual board meeting. You have a number of technology options to accomplish this ranging from a simple conference call to a video meeting. The bonus is that using technology will reduce greenhouse gases as board members will not have to drive or fly to the meeting.

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March 4, 2020

Is the AFP International Conference in Jeopardy?

[BREAKING NEWS (March 12, 2020): The AFP ICON in-person experience has been canceled. The AFP ICON VIRTUAL will still take place. Learn more by clicking here.]

[UPDATE (March 16, 2020): The Association of Fundraising Professionals has announced the schedule for the AFP ICON VIRTUAL while slashing the price. The cost is now $799 (members) and $999 (non-members). You can review the schedule, discover the extras included with registration, and learn how to register by clicking here.]

Will thousands of fundraising professionals from around the world have their plans derailed by the coronavirus (COVID-19)? With the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference scheduled to run from March 29 – 31, in Baltimore, MD, it’s natural for people to have concerns.

As I write this post, there have been 95,481 global documented cases of COVID-19 resulting in 3,285 deaths. Business supply chains have been interrupted. The stock market has fallen significantly. Airlines have canceled flights. Governments have imposed quarantines and travel restrictions. The World Health Organization says that the spread of coronavirus could lead to an international pandemic.

While the threat from coronavirus is real, we need to keep it in perspective. For example, influenza has resulted in over 18,000 deaths in the US this flu season alone compared to 11 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

I’m not being dismissive about the threat from coronavirus. I’m just suggesting we need to prepare rather than panic.

That is exactly AFP’s perspective.

Mike Geiger, AFP President and CEO, announced the show will go on:

AFP ICON 2020 in Baltimore is ready to go, featuring over 100 educational sessions, two amazing keynote speakers and plenty of networking opportunities for you to see old friends and make new ones.”

While Geiger looks forward to welcoming thousands of fundraisers to Baltimore, he remains focused on the health, safety, and comfort of all participants. Underscoring this, Geiger issued a statement saying:

  1. We have been in contact with the Baltimore City Health Department to let them know of our conference and open lines of communications.
  2. We have been in discussions with visitors’ bureaus, health professionals and other associations to gain an understanding of the true travel and health environments across North America and around the world.
  3. We continue to monitor announcements and updates from the US Department of Labor and the Centers for Disease Control and will take our guidance from them and other key agencies.
  4. At AFP ICON, we will institute the following policies and procedures:
    • We are encouraging participants to make AFP ICON a “handshake-free” meeting.
    • We will be providing hand sanitizers and recommending hand washing as much as possible.
    • We will have a medical office onsite in case participants are feeling unwell and would like medical guidance.
    • The Baltimore Convention Center is increasing the amount of hand sanitizing stations that are available throughout the facility and taking a pro-active approach to cleaning the facility every day.

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October 29, 2019

Raise More Money When You Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Fundraising

Fundraising success depends on having a good cause. It also requires that fundraisers do things the right way. But, none of that is enough. To successfully raise money, fundraisers must also avoid making costly mistakes, either unknowingly or (and you would never do this, right?) knowingly.

Making mistakes can cause your organization to lose donors and have a difficult time finding new ones. In some cases, one charity’s mistakes can harm the reputation of the entire nonprofit sector causing even innocent organizations to lose support.

Philanthropy researchers have shown us that the more someone trusts a nonprofit organization, the more likely they are to give. Furthermore, the more they trust a charity, the more money they are likely to donate. A report issued by Independent Sector stated:

The public is demanding a greater demonstration of ethical behavior by all of our institutions and leaders ….To the extent the public has doubts about us, we shall be less able to fulfill our public service.”

In short, trust affects both propensity for giving and the amount given. Those who have a high confidence in charities as well as believe in their honesty and ethics give an average annual contribution of about 50 percent more than the amount given by those sharing neither opinion.

You can read more about the research into trust and philanthropy in an article I wrote a number of years ago for the International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing.

For the Association of Fundraising Professionals Ethics Awareness Month,  I wrote a feature article for the October issue of Advancing Philanthropy magazine: “Ethics, Fundraising, and Leadership: Avoid the Seven Deadly Sins of Fundraising.” As I pointed out:

You’re a good person. At the very least, you try to be a good person.

However, that’s not good enough. Effective fundraising demands more of us. Every action we take, no matter how small or large, has the potential to build or erode public trust, which could have a corresponding impact on philanthropic support.

Among other things, being a fundraising professional means you must always strive for excellence while avoiding missteps that could have costly consequences for you and/or your organization. Fortunately, you do not have to endure risky mistakes to learn from them. Instead, thanks to media headlines, you can learn from the mistakes of others.”

In the AFP article, I discuss seven missteps made by real charities. While there are certainly more than seven deadly fundraising sins, my article highlights common issues of concern. For example, conflicts of interest was rated among the top ethical concerns of fundraisers, according to a recent AFP survey. In my article, I explore this issue citing a real-world example:

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August 19, 2019

High Fundraiser Turnover Rate Remains a Problem

Here we go again. There is yet another report about the high turnover rate among fundraising professionals.

According to a Harris Poll study conducted for The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, more than half of the fundraising professionals in Canada and the USA that were surveyed say they plan to leave their job within the next two years. Among respondents, 30 percent say they plan to leave the fundraising profession altogether by 2021.

The ongoing high turnover rate among fundraising professionals is costly to nonprofit organizations. There is the cost of hiring and training new staff. There is also the enormous cost associated with the loss of continuity and the abandonment of relationships with prospects and donors.

Social media and the blogosphere have been reacting to the new report. For example, Roger Craver, at The Agitator, offers a well-done summary of the data and shares some additional resources exploring the problem. Unfortunately, much of the discussion I’ve seen overlooks what I view to be the real problem that allows high fundraising staff turnover to continue. Let me explain.

Soon after becoming a fundraiser, I began hearing talk about the problem of high staff turnover. That was back in 1980. Many causes were identified. Many solutions were offered. Sadly, nothing substantive has changed over the intervening four decades. Nothing! NOTHING! N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

I’m fine with surveys that continue to point to the turnover issue. I’m fine with many proposed solutions to the situation. However, do not expect me to believe anything will actually change.

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June 11, 2019

4 Major Problems with Nonprofit Compensation

Salaries are a big problem for nonprofit organizations. However, the problem, or rather problems, might not be what you think they are.

Let’s look at just four major issues:

1. Nonprofit staff earns too much money. The mainstream media regularly trumpet the high salaries that some nonprofit executives receive. Through their selective reporting, many in the media advance a narrative that suggests nonprofit professionals earn too much money. As a result, donors focus frequently on charity overhead, including salaries, rather than program and service outcomes when evaluating charitable organizations.

2. Nonprofit staff earns too little money. Simply put, many people working for nonprofit organizations are grotesquely underpaid. For example, I recently came across an advertisement for a nonprofit Administrative Manager and Marketing Associate in Washington, DC. The charity requires candidates to have a college degree and an automobile. The organization offers an annual salary of just $35,000. Take a moment and think about that. The job pays $35,000 a year in Washington, DC! In case you don’t know, Washington, DC is the fifth most expensive city in the US, according to Kiplinger.

Yes, some charity executives are overpaid. However, many high-paid nonprofit employees are worth every dollar because of their skills and proven results. Geographical cost of living is another reason some nonprofit professionals earn higher salaries. On the other hand, the story that the media seldom cover is that of underpaid nonprofit staff. The failure to provide a competitive salary, or even a salary someone can live on reasonably, makes it difficult for charities to attract and retain talented staff.

Maclean’s examined nearly 600 charities in Canada with gross revenue of over $2 million (Canadian $). The publication found charities that significantly overpaid or underpaid chief executives, relative to peer organizations, were less likely to be transparent or efficient. “Analysis of charity data suggests extremely high compensation is linked to poor results for charities. But intriguingly, so is extremely low compensation,” according to the report. “High salaries receive the most attention, but Maclean’s found a stronger correlation with poor performance at charities that underpay their staff or have no staff at all.”

Ideally, nonprofit organization would provide employees with competitive compensation packages taking into account the type and size of organization, the job position, and geographic area. Compensation does not have to be precisely average; it can be high or low though it should be within the average range. Compensation that is excessively high or low can be directly problematic and could be a symptom of other problems at the organization.

This brings me to a third compensation problem:

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April 29, 2019

Update: Get a Free Webinar, Magazine Article, Poll Results

I want to update you about three posts I recently published. In addition, for National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I wish to draw your attention to one of my older posts that will help you keep the children you love safe.

Free Webinar:

Did you miss it? Recently, I presented a webinar for SEI Investments Management Corporation: “Investing in Your Future: Practical Strategies for Growing Your Planned Giving Program.” If you missed the program or wish you could share it with colleagues, I have some good news for you. The webinar is now available for free download by clicking here.

In just 30 minutes, you’ll learn:

  • 8 reasons you should be a planned giving “opportunist”
  • Why you should invest more in planned giving instead of current giving
  • 5 Tips to boost your planned giving results immediately

In addition to the webinar itself, you’ll also be able to download additional resource materials including a list of 20 factoids about planned giving, a planned giving potential calculator, an executive summary of recent research findings from Dr. Russell James’ report “Cash is Not King in Fundraising,” and a digital copy of Dr. James’ book Visual Planned Giving: An Introduction to the Law & Taxation of Charitable Gift Planning.

Advancing Philanthropy Article:

Have you read my recent article published in Advancing Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals magazine? “To Sir/Madam, With Love” shares stories from a number of fundraisers about their favorite teachers. Great teachers:

  • help us develop broad skills such as critical thinking,
  • help us develop specific skills such as how to write an effective appeal letter,
  • inspire us,
  • encourage us,
  • move us to think beyond ourselves and better understand others,
  • open our minds to lifelong learning,
  • motivate us to giveback by sharing our own knowledge.

After downloading the free article by clicking here, check-out my recent post that will give you tips that will help you find excellent teachers who can help you enhance your skills and inspire you: “Are You Really Just a Fundraising Amateur?”

Poll Results — Presidential Candidate Philanthropy:

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