#afpfc The 3 Gs – Give, Get and Get Off from a Board Member’s Perspective


Presenter: Marty Martin, JD

Board responsibilities that are core

~Leadership – single most important responsibility.  Sets the direction for sailing.
~Management – delegates  when there is a failure in the organization, there is ultimately a failure of the board.
~Resources – not Money but it is an indicator, board needs to understand the cukture of organization, compliance with 4 ares of the law local, state, intl, stakeholders, abide with public opinion

3 leadership challenges faced in orgs

~Technical – infrastructure
~Adaptive –  you have to change
~Collective – can not solve problem of mission alone, but collectively working outside of boundaries can do.

“No one makes you come or stay but if you chose to stay, step up your game.”

3 Board fun(d) Raising Rules

~Every board member contributes every year.
~Every board member participates in fundraising events every year.
~There are no rules or exceptions to numbers 1 and 2.

The Ask, a very good book.

Why serve on a board? The real reasons people want to be on
~The external motivators – business interests, community status/prestige, pressure to join, desire for power
~Internal – mission, accomplishment, desire for meaning, desire to learn; orgs that learn the fastest, are reflective will thrive

What board members need

~Mission strategy
~NPO knowledge and experience
~Team building and training
~Meaningful and substantive  work
~Accomplishments and achievements

Ten building blocks of leadership, Michael Guillot

Personal Building Blocks

~Purpose – Passion and commitment, you can not go out and buy it or replicate it. An individual brings it. The quiet question of, “why?”
~Knowledge – Seek to understand your role and create more effective structure of organization. Used to sustain and expand leadership. Connect to other practitioners, read. Don’t sit with the people you know when attending conferences.
~Courage – the will to do what’s right. Takes mental and moral strength to prevail. Focus on mission. Fight fear and keep it moving.
~Appreciation – see no value in the negative in the world. Each one of our organizations was created to change, touch someone in our communities.

Imagine your organization 5 years from now when everything is the way you want it to be. How does it look like? What colors do you see?

Organizational building blocks

~Vision is the heart of effective leadership. It creates a collective voice.
~Adaptation – responding change. ~Sustainability. Establishing early warning systems of people, systems. Try to anticipate change before it comes.
~Relationships – it’s all about this and based on respect, examples are not like the business model. People are placed over the task. Creating social capital.

Communal level

~Impact – looks at changing people in our community. The how and why we need data, metrics. Why we matter resides outside of the organization but is driven within it.
~Stewardship – not like corporations. 3 lessons: you are being trusted with assets of community, while in your care you have to handle with integrity, and you are accountable.
~Justness – To lead is to seek justice.

3 enigmas –
~executive and board relations ~philanthropic fundraising,
~leadership selection and development  

The best leaders have a fierce ambition to make good on their mission.

#afpfc What Road Will Get You There: Your Development Plan


Presenter: Robbie Henley, ACFRE, AFP Master Teacher

Real issue seems to be writing a plan that actually works. If you don’t have the right things in the plan and it doesn’t match your life cycle then you have a road map to nowhere.

Meaningful access to board, determines success or limitations. Do board members have the true depth of understanding of what we are talking about in the first place?

Why are so many people in the baby pool?

Giving board work that they are not competent, qualified and prepared to do. Dev plans must include the proper training.

Present budgets in such a way that indicates which streams pay for what. The dev plan is the ending plan not starting. You have to have a strategic plan in place. The strategic plan is a board responsibility. You can never create a dev plan until you have strategic plan because it is emeshed in it.

Marketing and communications planning highlighted.

Rethink board teams i.e. event planning, giving, corporate sponsorship. She has a paper she wrote on teams. Email her for a copy.

If you are raising funds for something not approved, it’s not in sync.

Need to understand where philanthropy fits in everything. See org characteristics, where are you?

Three levels – Fundraising tactics

Level 1 fundraising – where we are missionary, we have a list to find people who want to be donors, mass marketing like a special event, yelling what they out to love

Level 2 donors impt., internalize concept of asking donors what excited about,  invites them to the US what they’ve,  segmented aporoaches,  cultivation activities,  someone realizes everyone has to be on development team, Ed and board chair realize importance of everyone being on team, small donor team management.

Degree of success is in direct relations to seeing fundraising as impt as programing

Level 3 everyone realizes they are part of fundraising team, if donor relations matched everyone is happier, one on one donor management becomes significant. Major prospecting, don’t let board over commit,  just rake on few.  See donors as investors.

Board engagement very impt, a year round thinking process about what we need and how we can involve others to get. Work through governance process.

1 Fundraising
2 Development
3 Advancement governance/philanthropy, find the 1 – 2 ppl who get it and will be natural allies.

Download free Nonprofit Fundraising Survey 2015 coming out soon.

Cultivation, stewardship most positively affects success. Dev tactics used, can’t do them all esp small shops – see slides.
Data helpful if looking for credible source that shows trends. See role of boards in fundraising slide.

AFP Code of Ethics
Donor Bill of Rights

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Question to ask today: What is working for you today at a best practice level?

Do you have all of the back office infrastructure in place to execute all you need to do?

#afpfc Corporate Sponsorship: Making the Strategic Shift


Presenter: Barbara Harrington

Lingo and Trends: interesting crossover in the past few years between philanthropy and corporate sponsorship often navigated poorly. Order that needs to be in place starting with the language. Ties into many other areas of Fundraising.

Need to educate everyone about what is happening between staff, board and executive director.

Focus and core benefits, differentiates sponsorships. Sponsorship equals marketing in their world.

Title/presenting sponsorships – requires naming of event, ABC presents. . . Gala. You will know there is a good fit when they (Corp) want to continue for 3 years or more.

Strategic philanthropy bettering community

Partnerships to corporations usually mean that there is no money involved.

Understanding language very important. Credibility of the nonprofit is the no 1 thing corporations need to be sold on.

Working with Corp sponsors is Relationship based, they are interested in measuring movement. Takes thoughtful integration to respond, benefits. Need some type of plan, not annual report. What are they trying to get out of sponsorship? One of biggest assets is who you know.

3 trends impacting nonprofits all sizes

1 – sponsorships are more than special events. What opportunities do we have?

2 – big committees sell alot of tickets when doing special events. Ask interested volunteers to sit in on planning mtgs.

3 – great collaboration may have no money exchanged but can be transformative for org. If you could get a corporation on your side in the community who would that be?

If you do not know anyone in a corporation, get in with the public relations people to start relationship.

If you look at your list of benefits and you are not excited, go back to the drawing board. Innovate. Rethink. Sponsorship should impact one of your top initiatives when done right.

3 things you need
Ways to get involved brochure, then 4 5 ways to do so, streamlined 2 page proposal prospectus and a full proposal. Comparison grid looking at various benefits will be helpful.

Deeper relationships, long term relationships this is very impt to think about and plan for. Are they a good fit for us? Identify corporations interested in.

Valuing benefits. Why are we doing this? Understanding fair market value. How much will this cost them? Setup special events in a grid level. Do your homework. Better to go in with larger package and able to trim. Corporation usually go mid or low when presented with options.

Pick your level sponsorships and send that info to them.

Doing first time special event, go after third prospect, not top. Reference another successful sponsorship. Have the right policy of how you are going to treat sponsorship.

Making shift

What are our shared values? Corporations want to be viewed as a fan. Give them something to do. Want to have ongoing points of contact with your people.

Shared philosophy. Attendance #s not necessarily the driver. Build relationship.

Asking for opinions is priceless. How are you going to share this knowledge. Create a Sponsorship Toolkit.

How can you build up knowledge of corporate sponsorship with board members?

Apr 8, 15 avail for 15-20 min support, contact Barbara@sponsorshipplus.com.

#afpfc Stewardship in a Small Shop: Lasting Relationships with Donors


Presenter: Jennifer Pelton, CFRE, AFP Master Trainer


Gratitude as the word of the year – feeling, connecting to another human being. Everyone is involved. We are stewards in relationships witb donors, everyone! One way to engage board members in helping to show gratitude is by having them write thank you cards to donors.

When going to events, all program staff should know and be aware of who is going to be in the room. This reinforces that everyone is in this together.

It’s very important to connect donors to the mission of the organization. Test messages. Can an 8th grader understand what you do?

Once you are employed by an organization, you are part of the family. Start with teaching staff how to say thank you, and build a culture of gratitude.

What’s your favorite part of your job (the speaker’s is saying thank you)?  

Create a postcard with events listed for the year. Connect with others to sponsor events i.e a food vendor who could sponsor events like a breakfast.

Seek new donors. All board and staff should be involved in this. Ask all to provide of list of potential donors. Volunteers are a good source. Donor stories can be powerful.

Ask for advice and help. Find out what donors want to know more about. Find ways to engage donors. There are some great ways.

Really engage everyone and train them to be stewards of the organization, ongoing.

#afpfc Emerging Trends in Philanthropy


Presenters: Stacy Palmer, Jeffrey Wilklow

A lot of people were in this session, a lot!

1-Mega donors: 50 ppl gave over 10.2 billion $ last year – alot more on the list were young this year, under 30. More from tech industry than finance. The young mega donors tend to give more generously, not be institution focused, and are often rule breakers.

Questions fundraisers should ask, Are we doing enough to take care of our top donors? Are you giving them a reason to think about you?

One way to improve outcomes for the above (and others) is to expose and engage top donors more in mission.

2-Legacy donors are moving their money into foundations, or giving directly to organizations. Childless legacy donors are 5x more likely to put legacy dollars into a foundation or by giving directly. This is a long term conversation that will require relationship building.

3-Social donors tend to be small crowdfunders, they use social media, tend to be younger. They are mobile responsive. A lot of this type are viewing websites via their phones, want no more than 2 – 3 clicks to a donation, and want few info fields to fill in when giving their info. Think about changing the word ‘submit’ to an action word when using on donation page. Gen. Z’s, teens now, get them involved creativity. The are the ones to watch! They like shorter messages, concrete. Videos work better than photos and, of course, they like visuals considered ‘cute’.

4-Big Data: particularly wealth screening. We need to get better about how we use data. How to use data to personalize messages to donors. We are already seeing this more in places were they are measuring performance i.e universities.

5-Professional Development Professionals: Only 2% of what we are doing goes toward the Gross Domestic Product. What do u need to do your job? We need to do a better job of communicating why this important and invest in this area. Mentioned Dan Pallotta messaging. Short message, be good to your staff to keep and recruit the best talent (and even grow). We are the overhead! Giving more flexibility as well for people to work in their best way. Training very important. Also, seek out more diversity.

6-Economic Cycles: We really don’t know what we got until it’s gone. Fortunately we are no longer in a recession. People are feeling good and want to give. Don’t miss the opportunity. People following the research are doing twice as well. Need more nonprofits to work with researchers to test. Important to spread this message in the board room. The old ways are changing really fast.

One last thought, ask for recurring donors. They are more likely to double their donations.

Checkout philanthropy.com.

#afpfc Becoming an Organizational Architect: A 7-Step Formula for Leading Happy & Healthy Fundraisers

This session could have easily been named, Fundraisers Deserve More Respect!

Presenter: Tycely Williams, CFRE

The fundraiser position is not for everyone so if a person shouldn’t be in it, that’s another story. This is more about those who are in it and may want to continue.

This session covered some of the reasons why fundraisers resign – there are many reasons – and was based on findings from focus groups of 8 individuals and 4 groups. Individuals particpating in the focus groups were asked to identify negative and positive voluntary resignations i.e. an individual saying, “I no longer wish to be employed at the organization”.

Position succession planning was discussed and encouraged. Made me think about having a transition plan in general because I am the founder, executive director and fundraiser!

Recommendations for Shifting into the Solution (to retain talent particularly the right talent):

1–Adopt shared values. Values and mission are not the same – putting these in words is important. Adapting a values driven leadership style – what does that look like for your organization – should definitely be demonstrated.

2–Assess and adjust your organizational structure and make sure it works. Assessing is important with internal/external stakeholders, what seems to be working and not. Agree to realistic fundraising strategies, have human and financial resources behind it i.e., consultants, staff, etc.

3–Attain fair systems. Hone in on a rewards system. Celebrate fundraising staff. Make sure IT systems are working and connected to strategy. Acquire and assign qualified people – that would be the most important thing to do. When you let people “invade the sanctuary” who aren’t qualified that upsets the balance with other staff. Make sure you put in place the right skillset for the position. Expertise + ability.

4–Agree to professional development.

Speaker asked attendees to post conference commitments. There is a document download for this session.

This is why I stay up late!


On the eve of the start of the AFP International Conference in Baltimore, not only am I reviewing my schedule for the next day; but, also reflecting on all that has lead me to this point. 2014 was a whirlwind for my small nonprofit. We elected an entirely new board of directors with the exception of one returning besides me, we moved into new office space, I hired the organization’s first full time manager of programs, was selected to host a full time Americorps VISTA partner engagement specialist, added three part-time afterschool program facilitators, gained three new partner schools, worked about 60 hours+ per week, and managed to have one week of vacation.

In all of that, I did not spend nearly enough time fundraising, something I actually enjoy. I did however make it a priority to join AFP having not been a member for several years. I thought this could kickstart my move towards less hours of doing everything to focused hours of doing what I must now, with so much growth, do best for In Reach, diversifying our streams of funding, writing, and building partnerships/relationships. Being able to do the latter well has contributed to the longetivity of my small shop.

So here I am on the eve of what I am already claiming will be an educational, inspring, support network building and perhaps the most important conference I will attend this year.

The 3 most important lessons that I have learned as a nonprofit leader – Lesson 1

Be a jack of all trades, master of at least one. For me it is operations. My financial and administrative skillset are impeccable. Trained in trial coffee spilland error, blood, sweat and tears, this skillset has been my saving grace.

Although it is not my favorite area – I love creating, organizing and implementing programs – I knew I was headed towards it when I worked as an administrative assistant while in undergrad for a small nonprofit organization. At the time, this nonprofit was being audited by the government for one of its international program grants. As fate would have it, the person who was to work with the auditors in our small shop quit and I ended up having to provide assistance to the auditors. I learned a lot from them. Who knew I would spend the better part of my future career mostly cleaning up behind administrators who should have never been in operations?! I was prepared.

It worked out very well for me. I learned everything one would need to know about how to keep an organization financially sound. Simple things like coding checks, submitting program reports on time, and asking for help when needed are the foundations of operational success. Keeping files and records orderly and simply following the instructions required by funders, reading, would prove invaluable lessons just as working with boards and understanding human resources. Business classes in undergraduate and graduate schools gave me perspective and were very helpful, especially in graduate school, but nothing could beat my on-the-job training.

As the founder and executive director of a nonprofit organization my most valuable skill is in operations – understanding how finance (funding) and administrative processes work have enabled me to properly manage my organization. Loving programs is not enough, an organization has to operate and there is a lot to know and understand, a lot!

Stay tuned for lesson 2. Coming soon.

Read my latest post on #Money

MsToniASmith Pink Dollar Sign


With financial literacy month a little more than a week away, today I met, for the first time, with a “fiduciary standard” financial adviser, she was wonderful. I am looking forward to working with her to increase my investment portfolio, honestly, to just seriously get into better practice.

Check out Daily Worth’s 8 Basic Money Lessons Everyone Should Know, http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/3422-how-to-save-and-track-your-money/1. And wife.org is an awesome resource. Mint.com is a very useful tool for managing budgets and daily expenses.