Filtered by category: Fundraising Clear Filter

A Little Time Management Can Yield Big Gifts - 03-14-2019 Newsletter

Learn a new system now and enjoy the rewards later

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January 31 Educational Program - Life Balance: Managing Work and Life as a Professional Fundraiser

It's possible to create a bold fundraising plan and still have time to see a movie with your bestie.

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New to Fundraising? We'll Help You Learn the Fundamentals - 11-2-2018 Newsletter

This week's newsletter hot off the press.

In this issue...

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How Making Connections Advances Your Fundraising Career - 10-19-2018 Newsletter

This week's newsletter hot off the press.

In this issue...

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Board Members as Ambassadors

“What do my board members need from me, and what do I need from them?”

Each Monday I pull out a list of my board members, on a grid with tasks, and ask myself this question for each and every member. Do I need someone to call a supporter? Help close a gift? Take a new donor out to lunch? Do I need to support them as a committee member? This incredibly strong relationship with my board triples the size of my development team, and makes my work as Director of Development easier and incredibly rewarding.

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Understanding Intersectionality and Compensation Among Fundraisers

The recent 2018 Compensation and Benefits Study released by AFP International included a wealth of data on areas of progress and stagnation in compensation for fundraisers, as was shared in the August newsletter. The news from the survey included disheartening statistics on the persistent pay gap between men and women in the profession as well as lower average compensation for people of color.

The AFP Advancement Northwest Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Committee discussed the survey findings in September, particularly digging into the fact that fundraisers who hold intersecting oppressed identities may not see the realities of their compensation reflected in parsed-out data that reports separately on race/ethnicity and gender identity.

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Superfeet: 2018 Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation


Have you ever heard of a company that gives two paid days to employees to Be the Awesome? Now you have - Superfeet! Please join us in honoring Superfeet exceptional commitment to philanthropy at AFP Advancement Northwest's 2018 National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 1 at The Westin Seattle. Superfeet might be best recognized worldwide for the doctor-recommended insoles and footwear they sell. In the philanthropic world, they are known as an awesome partner and a great place to work.

Here is an excerpt of what one nominator shared about Superfeet's commitment to a philanthropic culture: 

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Bob & Mary Ann Wiley: 2018 Outstanding Philanthropists

The winners of this year’s Outstanding Philanthropists embody what generosity means in all forms. Bob and Mary Ann Wiley gave of their time and treasure to sustain and grow the missions for which they were most passionate.

The Wiley’s commitment to nonprofits in the Puget Sound dates back to the 1960s, when they moved to the area with their toddlers in tow. Their interests were varied. and included supporting many organizations in our community, such as the Arboretum, Burke Museum, Camp Fire Central Puget Sound, Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts (Mary Ann was one of the first female members), Pacific Science Center, Planned Parenthood, Seattle Rotary, Seattle Senior Rights Assistance, United Way and Women’s University Club. They were also active advocates for the Death with Dignity Initiative in Washington, volunteering with the failed initiative in 1991 and the successful initiative in 2008.

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Social Justice Fund: Outstanding Philanthropic Organization

Social Justice Fund NW, this year's National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Organization, focuses on creating an engaged culture of social justice philanthropists.

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Makenna Schwab: Outstanding Young Philanthropist

Makenna was born with an incredibly rare skeletal disorder known as Larsen’s Syndrome. This pervasive connective tissue disorder causes virtually every joint in her body to be dislocated and causes instability in her spine. Makenna’s condition makes it difficult or impossible at times to walk or even breathe. Makenna Schwab, this year’s National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Young Philanthropist, strives to live without limits and inspires others to o the same.

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Phnom Penh Noodle House: Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business

Phnom Penh Noodle House, this year’s National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Small Business, is a cornerstone in the Chinatown-International District neighborhood of Seattle.

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Bruce Nordstrom's & Anne Gittinger's Family: Outstanding Philanthropic Family

In The Nordstrom Way, a book about the business, Erik Nordstrom says, “Our people don’t have one look, one background, one culture. The common thread is they are themselves. They are genuine.” This quote perfectly sums up the Nordstrom and Gittinger family, the 2018 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Philanthropic Family award winner.

The Nordstrom and Gittinger family have been heavily involved with philanthropy in Washington and across the globe for decades. Many nonprofit organizations in our community have benefitted from their financial support. Even more than the dollars, they share time to help nonprofits grow and succeed.

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Telling a Donor the Truth is Hard

I’ve talked with a lot of donors over my years as a fundraiser. The vast majority of donors give for the right reasons. They care about the mission and want to support the greater cause. They are open to learning about the best solutions, and while they may offer ideas at times, understand when their suggestions are not the right fit for your organization or the overall cause. 

There are times when we have conversations with donors whose goals may not directly align with the mission of the organization. Or, they may personally exhibit inappropriate behavior. 

As fundraisers, we are in unique positions to have many close relationships with people in positions of power. At times, that makes conversations about a gift, values or appropriate behavior uncomfortable. 

Major donors and high-level volunteers are the donors that we need to tell the truth to the most. Even when it’s hard.

What do I mean when I say we need to tell the donor the truth?

First, we need to be honest about our organization’s mission. We need to ask if their idea is, not only within the scope of our work, but also within our priorities and the actual resources involved in making it happen. It’s never easy pushing back. However, the better donors understand the larger picture and how our individual missions offer a focused solution based on an understanding of the community we serve, the stronger we are as a sector. 

Second, are we being true to the values of our organization as well as ourselves? Not all our donors come from the same backgrounds and may struggle with initiatives or decisions that go against their personal belief system. This means, many of us have been on the receiving end of donors saying things that are racist, hurtful, ignorant or that make us angry. But, as the Girl Scouts of Western Washington found, being true to your values can be more beneficial in the long run. 

Thirdly, Maya Hemanchandra wrote about a few months ago, encouraging us to be clear about personally appropriate behavior and what is and is not acceptable. As fundraisers, we represent our organizations with a goal of soliciting support. That is not at the expense of our personal safety. Fundraising is a gray space in most sexual harassment training, which bothers me, so I joined the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative to help create resources that will be available nationally for nonprofits to use in providing training on ways to stay safe when meeting with donors. In case you missed my point above (in bold and underlined), it is not okay for fundraisers to feel unsafe due to donor behavior

I think fundraising is an amazing job. I love working with donors and am lucky to have found a home at WSU that is perfect for me (Go Cougs!). My wish for our sector is that everyone can say the same thing. One way to get there is for everyone to go back to their team and talk about difficult conversations with donors. Let's figure out, together, how you will deal with issues before they arise so that your team will feel supported and empowered. It’s up to us to make sure that we hold the balance between the public trust, ethical practices and executing our missions. Keep up the amazing work. You all inspire me every day!

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Advancing Philanthropy, the Marvin Gardens Paradox

Advancing Philanthropy, the 
Marvin Gardens Paradox

What is your favorite property in the game Monopoly? Most of us have a preferred token or coveted corner we believe will assure victory when playing this classic Parker Bros. board game. I like using the Scottie Dog as my game piece. For my dad, it’s collecting the yellow properties, especially Marvin Gardens. No matter what is at stake or how foolish the trade, he will do anything to acquire and keep Marvin Gardens. At first blush, you might applaud his commitment to this quest. He has a goal: to win the game. He has a strategy: acquire the “yellows” (Marvin Gardens, Ventor, and Atlantic Avenues). With this monopoly, he will build hotels and bankrupt his opponents. Seems like a solid plan. However, my father almost never wins at Monopoly.

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What Does Generosity Look Like in Washington?

I recently started doing push-ups – 100 a day. Okay, I will admit I don’t do them every day. On average, it's about 500 a week. But, that’s pretty good for someone who did a total of 50 push-ups in 2017.

But why I am writing about push-ups? Because push-ups build muscles just as professional development does. Athletes like Russell Wilson, Sue Bird, and Felix Hernandez spend weeks at training camps doing drills, learning new strategies, and working on the fundamentals. They challenge themselves so when they hit the field, the court or the pitching mound they are ready. 

The Forum on Strategic Fundraising is our training camp. Held June 7 and 8, it gives us a chance to build new skills and experience the joy of “muscle memory” as we are reminded of practices that helped us achieve success.

If you are new to the field of fundraising I recommend attending “Making the Ask” with Gregory Robertson. You will come away with practical steps in getting a meeting and securing a gift. Want to increase diversity and inclusion in your organization? Attend the session led by Fleur Louise Larsen and Keonna Jackson of HR and Equity Consulting.

It is often challenging to find the time and the money to attend a two-day professional training workshop, but I encourage you to just do it (to borrow a slogan). The tools and the contacts you will come away with will serve you when it’s your turn to call the next play, to make a change in the roster or to step up to the plate.

Warm regards,

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Fundraising's #MeToo Movement

Did you see the new report on sexual harassment in fundraising?

AFP, the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy and The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that almost half of fundraisers have been sexually harassed at some point in their career. In 68% of the cases, their harasser was a donor.

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Recognizing Fundraising as a Profession

We recently hired a new Foundation CEO at Washington State University. She’s shared several stories about her career so far, especially in the context of the changes we are making. One thing in particular really struck me. She said that many times during her career she’s had to educate people on how fundraising is a profession, not just something that happens. These conversations occurred with board members, faculty members, and even family members.

Many of us “fell” into nonprofit work. What kept us is our passion for creating change. A young man on the bus recently asked me why I worked as a fundraiser. I told him that when I go home every day I know that my work was important. I can look at my son and know that I did my part to make the world better for him. You, my fellow fundraising professionals, can say the same. You save lives. You create safer communities. You ensure a species will survive for another day.

But passion alone doesn’t raise money. Consistent fundraising does. And that consistency comes from hiring and retaining development professionals that understand the best practices and who are always curious to learn.

Learning can, and should, come in many forms. What I believe needs to become consistent, is our collective voice saying We Are A Profession. We raised $390 billion in 2016. We should be respected and valued for our expertise. We have a specific skill set that is backed by hours of professional development and ethical standards.

That is why I am a member of AFP, the largest fundraising association in the world. That is also why I chose to take my CFRE exam. This is the same reason the next generation of nonprofit leaders are getting degrees in philanthropy and nonprofit management. A recognized set of standards and a collective voice will lead the sector forward.

I hope to see all of you at an upcoming professional development training. Whether it is one of the monthly programs or the Forum on Strategic Fundraising, I still learn something new each time. By continuing to be curious, we grow our skills. By staying involved collectively, we give power to our voice. And, by working together, we will get fundraising recognized as a profession. That way, none of us will have to educate board members, friends and family on “what is your job” and “can’t anyone do that." 

Warm regards, 

Christie Cotterill, CFRE
2018 Chair of Communications and Marketing
AFP Advancement Northwest 

What to Tell Your Donors About Tax Reform

As leaders in the fundraising community, we will be helping our donors understand the impact of the federal tax reform bill on their charitable giving in the coming months. The subject certainly dominated discussions and the news as our organizations' year-end appeals were happening. During that time, AFP Advancement Northwest, along with AFP International Headquarters (AFP-IHQ) actively advocated against the bill's passage. 

With the bill's passage in late December 2017, this is an issue that we will continue to track and keep you informed about, as it impacts our broader sector. But what do we do as fundraisers to inform and assist our donors on this matter?

There are several resources for reviewing the implications of this tax reform bill, including AFP International, Washington Nonprofits and the National Council on Nonprofits, and Philanthropy Northwest just to name a few.

Based on an article from Chronicle of Philanthropy, some organizations saw an increase in December 2017 donations compared to 2016, as donors sought to take advantage of the expiring tax law. And in a quick, unscientific poll of organizations represented by Advancement Northwest Board Members, some of us also saw an uptick this past December, particularly organizations that are focused on issues that are under political pressure from the current administration. Beyond some specific comments and anecdotal information though, no one can say for sure that these results were all inspired by the tax reform bill.

The general consensus from organizations supporting fundraisers (such as AFP International and the National Council on Nonprofits) is that the change in tax brackets and the increase in the standard deduction will depress donations from those who would have itemized their taxes before 2018. For one source on this subject, please see the AFP International online article, "Tips for Giving After the Tax Bill".

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We're Here to Help Your 2018 Fundraising - 01-19-2018 Newsletter


This week's newsletter hot off the press.

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Happy New Year! 01-05-18 Newsletter

Fundraising Fridays | Fostering a Culture of Generosity Across Washington

January 5, 2018   

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