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Congratulations to the 2018 National Philanthropy Day Award Winners - 08-03-2018 Newsletter

This week's newsletter hot off the press.

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Who is Oprah's Mentor?

Last month, we shared an interview highlighting some of the experiences of AFP Advancement Northwest mentors. But, let's back up a minute and define mentorship. Oprah Winfrey says, "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." 

I like this definition because it makes room for mentors who come into your life in unexpected ways and may look different than what you might expect. In fact, your mentor may not have all the answers. But an effective mentor will help you find the answers for yourself. Or maybe even just help you ask the right questions.

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Our Efforts to Make the Forum Inclusive - 07-26-2018 Newsletter

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Fielding a Forum with a Focus on Diversity and Equity

This year’s Forum on Strategic Fundraising brought together professionals for two days of sessions on a wide variety of topics. The Forum also represented one way that AFP Advancement Northwest is bringing a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access into its own work. From the planning stages of the Forum, leaders worked to recruit and select presenters with a lens of diversity and equity in mind. This included emphasizing peer learning opportunities and thinking about the representation of speakers from the keynote to the snack time sessions.

The emphasis on diverse voices meant that we planned a lot of sessions that specifically addressed an equity lens, noted Andrea John-Smith, Vice President of Signature Programs for AFP Advancement Northwest.

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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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Why Fundraisers Need to be Truthful with Donors - 07-20-2018 Newsletter

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What to Expect When You are a Mentor (or Protege)

What to Expect When You are a Mentor (or Protégé)

We recently sat down with Asa Irwin and Nicole Angus, a mentor and protégé pair connected through AFP Advancement Northwest's Mentor Program, to talk about their experience working together and the impact the program has had on their work. If their story inspires you, consider signing up as a mentor or protégé, visit our website.

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National Philanthropy Day - Cultivating a Culture of Giving - 07-12-2018 Newsletter

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Why Philanthropy Needs to Adapt - 07-06-2018 Newsletter

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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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Creating Inclusive Presentations

In preparation for this year’s Forum on Strategic Fundraising, members of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Committee (DEIA) led a webinar for presenters and panelists on best practices in creating inclusive presentations. This session was motivated by the desire to eliminate barriers to learning and participation for all Forum attendees and was built on prior resources developed by Troy Coalman and Nicky McGarity.

If you find yourself preparing for a presentation of your own, be mindful that audience members could have access needs that may or may not be apparent. The following best practices can help ensure that all attendees are able to take part fully:

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Making Presentations an Inclusive Experience - 06-28-2018 Newsletter

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Your Investment in Future Nonprofit Leaders

Hong Chhour bravely stood in front of 450 people during the Forum on Strategic Fundraising to ask them to support Advancement Northwest. His eloquent speech inspired the audience to invest in the future leaders of the nonprofit community, resulting in the greatest giving to date at an Advancement Northwest program.

To join Hong and the rest of the philanthropy community in investing in tomorrow’s leaders, you can make a gift today

If you were at the Forum last year, you may remember me sharing how, not too differently from Ray (Ray Li, 2018 Professional Achievement Award recipient) and Vu (Vu Le, keynote speaker), I failed my Cambodian-Chinese refugee parents by not becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer. I also shared my experience as an Advancement Northwest scholar.



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Investing in Tomorrow's Nonprofit Leaders - 06-22-2018 Newsletter

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Last Chance to Submit a Nomination!

Deadline to submit your nomination for National Philanthropy Day is this Friday, June 22!

Have you been thinking about all the phenomenal philanthropists you know and wondering which one(s) you should nominate for a 2018 National Philanthropy Day award?

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Forum Recap: Important Ideas and Ideals - 06-14-2018 Newsletter

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Highlights from the Forum on Strategic Fundraising

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Networking - It gets a bad rap but is essential - 06-08-2018 Newsletter

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Benefits of Building a Network

Networking. It gets a bad rap. It's something we are supposed to do. Like flossing. Most of us don't enjoy it. But we do it. Why? Because we have seen the benefits. So, while it may be a bit uncomfortable we have come to appreciate this task of running a string betwixt even the tightest of teeth is totally worth it. 

It's the same with networking. Having a meaningful exchange with someone new and/or reconnecting with a former colleague takes a little extra effort. But, like flossing the benefits are real. Events like the Advancement Northwest Forum on Strategic Fundraising give us each a chance to build or develop a network of trusted peers. 

In the last year, I have realized these benefits first-hand. Calls to my network have generated ideas and discussion on everything from the valuation of corporate sponsorship of library programs, to peer reviews, to learning more about the pros and cons of a raise the paddle ask at a gala event. Not only did my colleagues share valuable information, saving me and my organization lots of time and money, they reminded me that I'm not alone. That the struggles, questions, and challenges I'm facing - they face as well. 

I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and making some new friends today at the Forum on Strategic Fundraising. I hope to see you there and at other upcoming events! 

Warm regards,





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Tips for Promoting Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Last month, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access committee previewed the idea of moving from a mindset of “checking the diversity box” to embracing an organizational culture that values inclusion and equity. Easier said than done, right? 

It’s hard enough that every organization approaches this topic with a different perspective and history but add the fact that every person within an organization will have a different level of knowledge, comfort, and commitment to tackling these questions, and it’s clear why just checking a box is so tempting. 

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