Author Archive

7 Reasons Not to Attend Planet Philanthropy (and why I disagree with each one)

May 18, 2017


Planet Philanthropy is coming to Tampa in June – hooray! Our state fundraising conference moves around the state each year and for the first time in many years, we are hosting it right here in downtown Tampa. I think this is fabulous but I realize not everyone agrees with me. So for those who aren’t sure, here are 7 reasons not to attend (and why I think they are wrong). (more…)

Who Speaks for You?

February 25, 2017


Who Speaks for You?

What were you doing on February 16th? I was busy with client work all day then spent the evening watching my daughter play a high school softball game. But even though I was here in Tampa, my voice was heard in Washington. You might think I accomplished that using my magic powers, but really it was the power of my AFP membership at work.

Let me explain —  February 16 was the 2017 Charitable Giving Coalition Fly-In on Capitol Hill. AFP members from across the country attended the event to educate members of Congress about why, 100 years since the charitable deduction was signed into law, philanthropy needs to be strengthened and enhanced.

As 2017 starts, we are inundated with potential policy changes every day. I don’t know about you, but I’m working hard just to keep up with what is being proposed. Then the question becomes which of the things being proposed will impact me? Should I respond? How do I respond?

Never fear, busy fundraiser! We’ve got help for you. AFP is an international professional association that is committed to speaking for all of us. Here’s how advocacy is explained on the AFP International website:

“To better serve the interests and livelihood of AFP members and the philanthropic community, AFP works hard to continually advance and enhance its public policy outreach and advocacy efforts. We will be vigilant in highlighting new and pending legislative efforts in the U.S., Canada, and worldwide that could potentially impact the profession and charity, and what you can do to help safeguard the continuing vitality of philanthropy (including letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, and more).”

Among the issues being discussed, are things that will directly impact your organization, your donors, and your fundraising activities. But the reality is that you have a full list of “things to do” already. How do you stay informed so that you can be active when you need to be? Here are several resources to help you keep up-to-date on legislation that impacts our work in the nonprofit sector:


Charitable Giving Coalition


Independent Sector

Florida Nonprofit Alliance

For a sample of the advocacy work of our professional association, check out the AFP position on the repeal of the Johnson amendment:

Now more than ever, I am grateful for the leadership demonstrated by AFP in speaking on behalf of our profession. I encourage you to stay informed so you can stay active.

Sara Leonard, CFRE
AFP Suncoast Chapter President 2017
Sara Leonard Group

Networking – January 2017

January 21, 2017



We’ve probably all done this: sent an e-mail to a colleague but sent it to their old e-mail address. It happens. Whatever. But here’s something that struck me this week when a fundraising colleague did that when trying to send me some AFP Suncoast Chapter info. She sent it to my e-mail address from 15 years ago. That’s when I realized: we have been colleagues and friends a long time. She’s even something of a mentor to me. I’ve called her many, many times when I had a situation that needed her perspective. I’m happy to say that she’s even called me once or twice when there was some way I could help her. We served on the AFP Suncoast board together. We have laughed together, commiserated together.

The term ‘networking’ is thrown around a lot these days. I’m not sure it’s always viewed in the most positive light. So if I told you that AFP provides opportunities for networking, what would you picture?

Would you picture a room full of people passing out business cards? That’s not AFP.

Or would you picture a room full of professional fundraisers at varying stages of their careers, sharing ideas, best practices, and latest trends? Would you picture laughter – at ourselves and some of the situations we find ourselves in?

Would you picture new acquaintances and old friends?

Would you picture a way to find your next employee or employer?

Would you picture a place where you could get involved and develop some new skills?

AFP is all of that and so much more.

As we kickoff a new calendar year, I hope you will join us and create your own definition of “networking” AFP-style. You could be looking back in 15 years, like I did last week, realizing it was a great investment of your time.

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE
President, AFP Suncoast Chapter 2017


December 23, 2016

Judy AndersonEthics!  Do you see this as a four letter word (actually its six letters, but who’s counting)?  Or, do you uphold this word in high regards?  Hopefully if you are in the development / fundraising profession you see it as part of who we are as fundraisers.  And, if you are an AFP member then you believe in being ethical, decent, honest, you have high morals and principles.  When becoming an AFP member and with each renewal, we are required to read and sign the Code of Ethical Principals & Standards. This code alone has been rated in various AFP member benefit surveys to be one of the highest-rated member benefits, if not the number one benefit, offered by AFP.

The topic at our AFP Suncoast Chapter luncheon this past week was ethics; we held round table discussions answering questions and sharing situations with regards to ethics.  The AFP self-governed process for addressing ethical concerns was also shared, along with other ethics resources and tools that are made available to AFP members.

Instead of sharing some of the information about ethics that is found on the AFP International website,, I thought I would share the link to the ethics homepage within the website and ask you to take a few minutes to visit the website and see all that’s available to you from an ethics standpoint. Please get familiar with the website, it’s an awesome resource!!  I encourage you to review the standards quarterly and to take the AFP Ethics Assessment Inventory annually; this will assist you in ensuring not only you, but your team and organization, are delivering and strengthening ethical performance.

Before closing, I want to take a moment to reflect.  December 31st ends my two year term as President of the AFP Suncoast Chapter.  It’s been an amazing two years and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the BEST Board and membership ever!!  While serving as President, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and learn so much more about the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  I’ve also grown as a fundraiser, a leader, and a professional. I’m proud of all this chapter has accomplished and I’m excited about where we are heading.  Thank you AFP Suncoast Chapter for everything!!

I wish you and yours a happy holiday and a peaceful New Year!!!


Giving Thanks!

November 21, 2016

Judy Anderson

This past Tuesday, November 15th, the AFP Suncoast Chapter held our annual National Philanthropy Day at Lowry Park Zoo!  It was a wonderful event and we had the opportunity to honor some amazing individuals and companies for their philanthropic efforts here in the Tampa Bay community.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of NPD; it’s given us the opportunity to celebrate philanthropy across this nation and world for three decades.  As fundraisers, we are involved daily with those who give, volunteer and are engaged in our causes and missions, so we see first-hand how people with giving hearts make a difference in our society and we are thankful for all they do in giving back.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  As defined by, this holiday is a day of feasting and giving thanks for divine favors or goodness.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; it’s a time for me to reflect on all the things I have personally and professionally been blessed with and to give thanks for these many blessings.

Today I want to thank all of you, my fellow AFP members, for all you do in your roles within your organizations and throughout the Tampa Bay area.  I appreciate all the time and energy you put in to your causes and missions each and every day.  You are giving in so many ways and on so many levels; you amaze me and I’m in awe of you.

I’m also thankful for the many philanthropists that exist in our community and around the world.  They are the ones who truly keep this world going through their love of mankind and their focus on quality of life.  I aspire to be like so many of them that I have met throughout my life and through the many National Philanthropy Day celebrations.   They have impacted me in ways that they will never realize and I hope they have impacted you as well.  Don’t forget to take this special time to thank all your donors and volunteers; it’s also what we do as fundraisers!

As I end this message, I hope all of you will take time this next week to reflect on all that you have been blessed with.  Enjoy your time with family and friends; make time for a little R&R – you deserve it!  Know that you will be part of my Thanksgiving prayers and that I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful profession and organization.

Happy Thanksgiving!!thanksgiving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

  • Melody Beattie

With many thanks,


AFP and YOU!

October 21, 2016

Judy Anderson

Happy Fall!!!

We had a wonderful AFP Suncoast lunch this past Tuesday; there was great networking, information, and a wonderful speaker, our very own Sara Leonard, who presented on development plans, “The Forest or the Trees”.  She gave us some wonderful tips and things to think about with regards to our development plans.  If you missed the lunch and Sara’s presentation, you can visit her website, the Sara Leonard Group, for a sneak peek at some of the tips she shared with us.

As I’ve mentioned before, I made a job change about a year ago; my new position as a Director of Development included creating and kicking off a development department and to begin instilling a philanthropic culture in my organization.  As you can imagine, this has included a lot of writing of policies & procedures, budget, timelines, and a development plan; all which are vitally important in creating a solid foundation for fundraising and development.

As I began my development journey, I realized that I knew what needed to be done and my past development experience and knowledge was helpful, but I was going to need some extra guidance.  I turned to many of my AFP colleagues for ideas, tips, and best practices; I also utilized the resources available to me on the AFP international website –  I visited their online Resource Center, Professional Development, Publications, and Marketplace/Bookstore – there is sooo… much information available on the website which can assist us (YOU) in being successful in our development roles ultimately affecting the success of our organizations.

There is a “Browse Hot Topics” located on the website and if you click on this a dropdown box appears with all types of topics related to our profession.  In case you need additional assistance with development plans, one of the topics listed in the dropdown box is titled, “Hot Topic: Development Plans”.  In this section, you will find the following helpful information:

* Key Components of a Development Plan
* Who Should Be Involved in Creating the Development Plan?
* What Factors Will Impact the Plan’s Success?
* Analyzing and Evaluating Development Plan Performance
* Other Resources on Development Plans

Please note – in order to access this information you will need to be an AFP member, this is one of the amazing benefits of being a member – you have access to educational tools and recourses!

One of the best resources that I discovered was the AFP Ready Reference Series, this has been my development “bible” if you will!  I have used this series over and over again throughout this past year and will continue to use it.  The set includes the following books and topics:

  1. Asking for Major Gifts
    2. Bringing a Development Director on Board
    3. Establishing Your Development Office
    4. Getting Ready for a Capital Campaign
    5. Making the Most of Your Special Event
    6. Reviving Your Donor File
    7. So You Want to be a Consultant!
    8. Developing Fundraising Policies and Procedures

Members and guests have access to the bookstore, however when ordering members will receive a “discount” – another great benefit of being a member!!

In this month’s message I wanted to provide you with additional resources for you which will help you in creating your development plan, but also to point out how valuable an AFP membership is to all development staff members.  I’m very grateful for having AFP as an extension to my coworkers and colleagues.  If you are not a member, I encourage you to become one.  AFP international will work with you in finding the right membership and also be able to set up monthly payments if this is what works best for you.  If you are already a member, I encourage you to spend time exploring the AFP website; I feel certain there will be something that you come across that you didn’t know was available and it will be beneficial for you.

Enjoy the rest of the month of October and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, November 15th at National Philanthropy Day.  If you haven’t purchased your tickets there’s still time!!!  It’s going to be an AMAZING CELEBRATION!!


Judy Anderson

AFP Suncoast President


September 23, 2016

Judy Anderson

Fundraisers as leaders

 “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”                                                                                                 – John Quincy Adams

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”      

– John C. Maxwell

Based on the first quote made by John Quincy Adams and as development team members, we are all leaders.  Each and every day our conversations and activities with donors and prospects inspire them to learn more about our organizations and missions; we encourage them to make a difference in the lives of others.  The second quote says leaders build strong, friendly relationships allowing us to influence them to do something more with us – that’s fundraisers in a nutshell!!  A person doesn’t have to hold the title of VP of Development or Director of Development or even Executive Director to be a leader in our profession.

This week’s AFP Suncoast program presenter was Kathryn Davanzo and her presentation, “Six Steps to Influence and Impact: Developing Your Leader Self-Identity – Leader P.O.V.”  – it was a wonderful presentation.  The six steps she spoke to include:

  • Intention (purpose, goals, direction, aspirations)
  • Identity (self-views, beliefs, values)
  • Examination (looking within, considering others, considering context)
  • Exploration (looking outside, gathering information, evaluating options)
  • Enlistment (casting vision, generating buy-in, setting a course)
  • Execution (getting things done, monitoring progress, addressing barriers)

When carefully reviewing these six steps and their actions/activities, you will note that they closely resemble all that we do in building relationships and partnerships with donors, community partners and prospects.

Kathryn discussed discovering (examining) and defining our leadership skills and values: we should spend time reflecting and asking others for feedback.  Whether you have a leadership title and lead a group of employees OR you are a fundraiser working with donors, it’s a good idea to re-examine your activities, share best practices, and fine tune your effectiveness as a leader.  There are so many resources available to help you do this.  Many are available to AFP members through – there’s Professional Development, a Resource Center, and a Marketplace / Bookstore – it’s all at your fingertips  Take advantage of your membership and make time to visit one or more of these resources; search on leadership, find options which will help you in growing as an influential development leader.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”                                                       – Ronald Reagan

Judy Anderson
AFP Suncoast Chapter

My AFP Story

July 22, 2016

Judy Anderson

About 8 years ago, I found myself out of a job and for the first time in many years looking for work.  Through my previous position, I had formed many wonderful nonprofit/development relationships and found myself turning to some of these individuals for guidance.  Each person I chose to reach out to told me about AFP and the local Suncoast Chapter.  They spoke about the networking opportunities, encouraging me to attend the monthly lunches which would assist me in my job search.  They also told me about the chapter’s job bank on their website and urged me to check this on a weekly basis to help me in seeking employment within a nonprofit.  These opportunities helped me in landing a job at The Florida Aquarium as their Individual and Planned Giving Manager.

It was through this experience and the encouragement of my new manager that I joined the AFP Suncoast Chapter within my first several months of employment at the Aquarium.  After attending several monthly luncheons I knew that I wanted to get involved, so I signed up to serve on the National Philanthropy Day (NPD) committee.  What an awesome experience!  This lead to new friendships and experiences.  It also afforded me the opportunity to attend my first AFP International Conference; if you serve on an AFP committee and meet several other criteria, you are eligible to apply for scholarships.  I applied and was awarded a scholarship to attend that year’s conference – it was amazing!  While at the conference, I attended the Fundraising 101 class, which was very timely for me.  None of this would have been possible without the AFP scholarship.

Seven years have since passed and I have attended four international conferences, four Planet Philanthropies and one leadership academy, and received several scholarships to assist me in attending them.  During this time, I’ve also served on the NPD committee for four years with one year acting as the NPD Chair, one year as the Resource Development Chair, one year as President Elect and I’m currently serving my second year as President.  AFP has provided me so many amazing opportunities that without them I would not have otherwise experienced.  I am deeply indebted to the Association, our Chapter, and all of the individual relationships/ friendships formed.

At this week’s AFP Suncoast monthly lunch, we asked for each person in attendance to answer the following two questions:

  • What does AFP mean to you?
  • How has AFP impacted your career?

Whether you were in attendance at this week’s luncheon or not, I ask for you to once again answer these two questions.  I also want you to ask yourself these additional ones:

  • Am I currently involved in some way with the Suncoast Chapter and if not, why?
  • Am I taking advantage of all that AFP has to offer and if not, why?

One of the ways you can get involved, plus show your support and appreciation of AFP is by giving to “Be the Cause”.  This program helps to empower, strengthen and transform people, like you and me, in the development/fundraising field.  At the lunch, Rich Strehl, our “Be the Cause” chair, kicked off this campaign.   Our Suncoast Chapter’s 2016 “Be the Cause” goal is $6,000.   We already have 100% Board participation – WOW!  If we meet this goal the chapter will receive 35% of the funds raised and will help support our chapter in so many ways (for example – providing scholarships, top notch speakers/presentations, workshops, and other networking, educational opportunities).

I encourage each of you to consider making a gift to AFP; it can be of any amount.  You can make a one-time gift or you can split a gift in to monthly or quarterly payments.  My personal gift is split in to monthly payments which also makes me an Alpha Society member.  Please visit the following link to learn more about “Be the Cause” and the impact it had on AFP members in 2015 –  It’s sooo…..easy to make a donation; you can do this online or text Be the Cause to 61416.

I am so grateful for having joined the Association of Fundraising Professionals back in 2009.  I can’t imagine having come as far as I have in my fundraising career without the help of AFP resources, tools, conferences and all my AFP colleagues and friends.  Of course – like everything else in life, you have to put something in to it in order to be able to take full advantage of all that is being offered.  As I leave you, I ask you to do two things today –



Thank you for your time, attention and all you do for your organization and our community.

Enjoy the rest of your summer,


AFP Suncoast June President’s Message

June 23, 2016

StrongCommunity, defined by Merriam-Webster as:  a unified body of individuals: the people with common interests living in a particular area;  an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location;  a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society;  a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests;  a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society. 

I’m writing to you today about what is heavy on my heart and has been over the last twelve days – the Orlando tragedy.  As fundraisers, we know better than anyone what community is all about.  During the last week or so, we’ve seen the greater community come together to mourn, pray, hug, cry, and offer a friendly, helping hand to neighboring Orlando.  This outpouring is the truest sense of community found.

In this particular situation, community includes individuals, families, corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, first responders, professionals, and the list goes on and on.  With the urgent need to provide support to victims and their families, the community is doing all it can to ensure needs are met, they are reliable, and ensure donations are dispersed directly to the victims, as intended by the donors.  Sound familiar?  This is part of what we do every day in working with our organizations, clients, and donors.  So many of our fellow nonprofits and development teams in the Orlando area and beyond have stepped up to provide necessary support, like counseling services, communication needs, crisis hotlines, medical needs, pet care, and help with memorial services.

At our AFP Suncoast chapter meeting this past Tuesday, we were privileged to have a panel of corporate funders speak to us. One of the things said by all panelists is they look to connect people and nurture relationships; they want to make change that brings people together as partners.  This really resonated with me; isn’t this what we do as fundraisers?  Yes, we seek donations in support of our organization’s programs and causes, but we are really and truly connecting people, engaging them, grabbing at their heart strings, helping others in times of need.

In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie wrote the song, We are the World. Many of you will remember it and many will not!!  It was written for victims of famine in Africa, raising over $60 Million.  This song popped in to my head last week as I listened to the many stories of the Orlando victims and all of the amazing support from the community.  As you will see, 31 years after this song was written these lyrics (found below) apply to various tragedies in today’s world, specifically the one in Orlando.  Please take a moment to read the lyrics and think about Orlando; think about our Tampa Bay community; think about what we, as individuals and fundraisers, do on a daily basis to make a difference. Together, we make up a very important piece of this community; I am so honored to be a part of the Tampa Bay and AFP Suncoast community working alongside each and every one of you.  Thank you for all you do!

Enjoy your summer! We look forward to seeing you at the July 19th luncheon.


Judy Anderson
AFP Suncoast Chapter President

Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie

There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We all are a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart so they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

Who is Your Superhero?

May 20, 2016

Judy AndersonSuperhero. What does a superhero mean to you?  What does a superhero look like?  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a superhero is a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers.  The Urban Dictionary describes a superhero as a being with extraordinary physical or mental powers, far beyond the range of normal human ability, who uses these powers to protect the innocent and for the general good.  Using Merriam-Webster’s definition, who is your favorite fictional superhero and why?

My favorite fictional superhero is Batman.  He doesn’t possess any superhuman powers; he’s just like you and me.  What he does have is his human fitness, knowledge, and resources which all help him in defeating evil.  He stands for justice and good; he helps those in need.  As Bruce Wayne, he is a huge philanthropist in Gotham City supporting various causes.  In my mind, philanthropist in their own right are superheroes; they too have great knowledge, resources (time, money and treasures) and want to make a difference, making things good.

Has it crossed your mind as to why I’m talking about superheroes?  At this week’s AFP Suncoast lunch, our speaker, Brett Culp, talked about superheroes, his film “Legend of the Night”, his nonprofit “The Rising Hero Project”, and the “art” of storytelling.  Through his amazing work, he’s had the opportunity to share stories, touch hearts, and make a difference in the lives of so many.  He touched each one of us attending the lunch with his storytelling and his wisdom of how each one of us are superheroes through the work we do in our organizations.

Through his organization they partner with other nonprofits to spark “superhero spirit”.   He and his wife make it a priority to assist communities in growing and making a positive impact. It’s through their films and presentations that they engage communities and individuals in making a difference where they live, work and play, as well as throughout the world.

In his presentation, Brett emphasized the stories that each one of us shares actually connects us in our humanity making the world a better place.  In order to make an impact, he said we need to be real, authentic, show our heart, and tell the story often.  Other Brett inspirational phrases and words of wisdom include: “Hope is magic”, “Community is built on story”, and my personal favorite “joyful glue”!

Let’s go back to my original questions, what does a superhero mean to you and what do they look like?  Is this you, one of your donors, or someone else you know and respect?  It’s time to re-evaluate your story, is it all the things that Brett says it should be?  Does it promote “superhero spirit” impacting those listening?  We encourage you to visit Brett’s website –

I leave you with this:  “There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation. And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others.”       –  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Judy Anderson
AFP Suncoast Chapter President