Archive for the ‘Continuing Education’ Category

Fully Engaged

September 5, 2013
Nora Gunn, CFRE

Nora Gunn, CFRE

Diana Nyad has made history this week as the first person to swim the 110-mile Florida Strait. This was Nyad’s fifth attempt, and it took her 53 hours to complete. Nyad, 64, said that her record-setting swim was about being “fully engaged” in life – a lesson in passion and persistence we all can take to heart. Here in the AFP Suncoast Chapter, we have several opportunities for our members and the community-at-large to become fully engaged in philanthropy.

Our keynote speaker on September 17 will be fundraising veteran and long-standing AFP member, Holly Duncan. She will be sharing a career’s worth of advice and anecdotes on her professional development experience. It’s a not-to-be missed program.

On September 20, nominations are due for our 28th Annual National Philanthropy Day celebration. This is a great way for your charity to honor donors and volunteers whose gifts of time, expertise and resources contribute significantly to the quality of life in our communities. The National Philanthropy Day committee, chaired by Bryn Warner, has been working hard to ensure this will be the best celebration to date. Please consider submitting one or more nominations on behalf of your organization.

This month, the Resource Development committee led by Judy Anderson will launch a philanthropic guide that highlights some of the most visible and valuable marketing opportunities for partners to support of the development profession.  Partners interested in sponsoring chapter activities should contact us as soon as possible as spots are filling up fast.

We will soon be electing a new slate of officers that will lead our organization in the years to come. I encourage you to speak with a member of our nominating committee if you have interest in serving in a leadership capacity or on a committee of the Board.

Diana Nyad’s goal took a team of experts that helped her make the swim from Cuba to Key West, giving her nourishment, protecting her from jellyfish and monitoring her health. For our volunteer-run Chapter to succeed and accomplish its goal of promoting ethical and effective fundraising, it takes the work of many members and professionals behind-the-scenes and along the way. Thank you to our members and leaders who are fully engaged with our mission, and welcome to those that would like to be.

Nora Gunn, CFRE
2013 AFP Suncoast President
Vice President, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation & St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation
Phone: 813 872 0979

Successful Major Gift Strategies with Michael Baker

April 1, 2013

Michael J. Baker CFRE

Michael J. Baker CFRE of M3 Development talked to the AFP Suncoast Chapter in March 2013 about Successful Major Gift Strategies. He advocated a 5% strategy – if your job is running the office as development director, dedicate at least 5% of your time to raising major gifts.

Michael covered much in his presentation, a copy of which has been added to the chapter website. Click here to download.

Some of the highlights include the following:

  • Don’t wait, just ask.
  • Get others to ask for the gift! Peer solicitors are an important resource.
  • The wealthiest 3% of the U.S. population gave 50% of all dollars nationwide.
  • 32% of donors give because of the tax benefit according to the  2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy.
  • Women control 60% of U.S. wealth.
  • If your organization does not have a strategic plan, your fund development efforts will not have a road map and will struggle with the case for support.
  • Look inside your existing donor pool first.

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is also president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she works with organizations worried about finding their next big donor, concerned about what size gift to ask for, or frustrated that they aren’t meeting their major gift goals.

Happy 2023!

January 2, 2013

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 8.51.59 AMOver the next week you will read articles that circle around crossing the line into 2013, some retrospectives about the year that has been and the year that is to come. In short, very focused on the transactional date of New Years Eve. But, after all, we are a transactional business, take a look at what we measure. Cost per dollar, participation, average gift, number of calls, these are all interesting things to know and can be helpful. However, they lead to creating a culture of transactions not philanthropy. If the goal is to keep people supporting your organization year in and out then the metrics by necessity need to be longer and connected to relationships not just transactions. Our industry has very little “best practice” in creating cultures of philanthropy. We are quite bountiful with “best practice” that creates a culture of taking. Stroll through Linkedin discussions where you find the words “best practice” I suggest that almost 97% are connected to transactional thinking.

The key ingredient to creating a culture of philanthropy is an internal culture of extraordinary service. It is being driven by an internal set of values that holds the donor experience above everything else.  There are tools popping up all over the market place along with “experts” who have never put together a strategy that resulted in improved retention. Tools alone can not improve retention, only people unified by a set of core values….see Disney.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 4.01.09 PM

Jay Goulart

This 2013 make the commitment for 2023 to be a great year for your donors. Sounds crazy I know, but the fact is that to design and
implement strategy that impacts donor behavior means you need to understand how to generate momentum. Several years ago I hired a PHD in physics to teach my team about the principles of momentum. That experience highlighted for us that short term measures would never really help in understanding if our strategies were creating emotional bonds to our mission and vision.

The great Peter Drucker once stated: “Every business model reaches a point of diminishing returns”. I have long been a huge fan of Peter Drucker’s thinking, this particular quote seems to go to the heart of the state of the fundraising business. But don’t take my word for it check out this STUDY.

Check out this exercise for improving retention HERE

About the Author

Jay Goulart is Director of Advancement at Academy at the Lakes and Managing Director at Bob Carter Companies. A veteran fundraiser, he shares his experience with readers in his own blog, The New Science of Philanthropy.

Social Media and You – Meet Bryn Warner

October 25, 2012

Bryn Warner

AFP Suncoast has some truly talented members. Our own board member, Bryn Warner is among them. He has joined a growing number of AFP Suncoast members who are becoming presenters and teachers. Almost as if planned, he will be teaching at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay on a topic near and dear to this blog – Social Media!

Attend either of his workshops and earn CFRE credits while building your personal and your organization’s online sociability:

10/31/12 LinkedIn: Building Your Personal Brand

11/28/12 Facebook: Communicating Your Message

If you haven’t met Bryn, why not shake his hand at the next AFP Suncoast luncheon or attend one of his workshops? Growing your network is so easy in AFP! And, of course, now you’ve seen Bryn’s picture and have something to say to start the conversation.

Do you know an AFP Suncoast member we should feature on the blog? Contact Jen Filla at 727.231.0516 or email her at jen at

Other Blog Posts of Interest:

Social Media and Fundraising: Metropolitan Ministries

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

Librarians as Fundraising Powerhouse Guides!

July 12, 2012

ImageLiz Mueller is the librarian at the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa who can help you navigate the Foundation Center database and book collection for FUNDRAISERS and anyone else searching for funding. Liz is there to help you use these resources and, this being a public library, her one-on-one appointments, workshops and general presence are all free of charge to you as a fundraising professional. Look in future AFP Suncoast e-newsletters for announcements about upcoming events at the library!

And why not read the June 7, 2012 article about her in the Tampa Bay Examiner or call and visit her in person:

John F. Germany Library
900 N. Ashley Dr. (across from the Straz Center), Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-273-3652
Contact: Elizabeth Mueller, Librarian

Hours: Sunday – 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mon, Tues, Weds – 10:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m., Thurs -10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m., Fri, Sat – 10:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.

How to Go from Info Overload to Opportunity

October 7, 2011

Monday morning 5:35AM logging into your email for the first time after taking the weekend off can be a traumatic event for you and your server. Clichés like information overload and 24 hour news cycle coupled with too many preset and/or suddenly hot topic email news alerts have led to the demise of many email servers and “last nerve”. While waiting for the last of 3876 emails to download I finished my XL triple shot espresso dark roasted coffee – my version of multitasking (i.e. to do more stupid things faster).

One news report was “US poverty highest level in 50 years”  the following week (9/30/2011)  Marian Wright Edelman founder of the Children’s Defense Fund  wrote a piece for the Huffington Post National and State Safety Nets Fail to Catch Millions of Children”.  Dr. Edelman’s article not only covered additional statistical data and commentary about the Census Bureaus’ report on poverty but also proactive steps her organization is taking. As professional fundraisers we have to go from information overload to opportunity.

Twenty-first Century informational age fundraising requires strategic communication skills.  Nonprofits successfully fundraising in this dynamic fast paced fluid environment have as linear an organizational structure as possible. A linear or flattened structure instead of a hierarchical chain of command allows for a faster more responsive communication process.

Many successful nonprofits use a secondary Action-Reflection-Revision-Action Funding Model based on institutional positioning – in addition to a long-term, campaign-based fundraising strategy.

The Action-Reflection-Revision-Action Model enables rapid response to fundraising opportunities (not exploitation) of breaking news and events guided by Social Media Strategy. Additional research and information on Action-Reflection can be found at

An outstanding book to read on this matter is The Age of Responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the new DNA of Business by Wayne Visser PhD.

Sustainably Yours,

Tracey Crocker Joins the Team!

September 9, 2011

As the new member to the communications committee – I guess the best place to start is by introducing myself: my name is Tracey Crocker.  I spent most of my adult life in Alabama working as a small business owner (ranging from home repair to automotive sales and service) and a pastor.

My fundraising was like most pastors’ “pass the plate and pray”.  A bake sale, car wash, or raffling off the ladies quilting bees latest work was about the extent of my fundraising. While these are all good ways of raising funds, they don’t raise the amounts that are needed to truly help those in the community: the least, the last, the lost, and the forgotten.

After moving to Tampa, I took a position with AmeriCorps Vista. Working for both the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. Part of my position was to find sustainable funding for the “Unexpected Faces Unexpected Places” Speakers Bureau. What I found was a great deal more.  I found out there was a real profession and a real skill call fedundraising and development.  While online searching for information on a funding model called Benevon, I came across the AFP web-site.   This was a group of fundraising professionals that offered amazing educational tools and training for members, even a code of ethics. The very next day Jen Filla called and invited me to the local Suncoast chapter luncheon.

From the first l moment I walked into the room I was hooked.  There was so much energy and so many people willing to help me grow.  I was amazed. One of the people I met was Beth Eppley, Director of Development for Bay Area Legal Services.  She has become my mentor and friend.

I am now the Coordinator of Leadership Giving at the Homeless Coalition and have started my own business called TDC Consulting Concepts, Inc.

There you have it, my introduction and my introduction to AFP.  I will be providing a blog post at least once a month on various fundraising topics such as interviews, the newest in best practice models and other information on fundraising and AFP.  Please let me know if there is something you are interested in and would like to see posted.   Until, next time.

Sustainably Yours,


Scholarship Awardee meets Bill Clinton!

April 26, 2011

At the April meeting of AFP Suncoast, Julie Wills, Executive Director of the Suncoast Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, described how a scholarship transformed her CFRE continuing education requirements into a fun and rewarding experience. Following is her story:

I was sitting at my desk one day thinking about the fact that I had to renew my CFRE credential in 2011 and would need continuing education in order to meet the requirements of renewal.  That same day, I received my AFP Suncoast Chapter newsletter by email.  As I was reading the newsletter, I saw something about the upcoming International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago.  It also mentioned that our AFP chapter had scholarships available.  I followed the easy link to the scholarship form.  After reviewing the criteria, I determined that I was eligible to apply.  A few short weeks later I received a notification from Debbie Gavalas, our chapter Scholarship Chair, telling me I had gotten a full scholarship.  Eureka!

It had been eleven years since I had last attended an Int’l Conference and so much had changed.  At the Expo I learned about products that I didn’t even know existed.  Some of them are being pilot tested by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Chapters in other cities.  I’m keeping an eye on these as they may solve some problems we’ve run into locally with our auction events. 

The last time I was at an Int’l Conference there was only one keynote speaker.  Now they have one each day.  I was blown away by Blake Mykoskie of Tom’s Shoes.  I knew about Tom’s Shoes, but didn’t know how interesting his story is or what an animated speaker he would be.  It was fun and inspirational to hear him speak about his experiences launching Tom’s Shoes and giving away shoes to children in third world countries. 

The second day keynote was Queen Latifah.  Another amazing speaker.  In between these amazing speakers, I was attending wonderful continuing education sessions.  Not the same old speakers that used to make the rounds of all these conferences, but new and interesting speakers with current, relevant information to share.

The final keynote was President Bill Clinton.  I was so lucky to have been able to get a second row seat for President Clinton, who is doing amazing philanthropy in Haiti.  It was a dream come true for me to see him speak. 

Overall, the Chicago AFP conference was a wonderful experience and one I would highly recommend for all members of AFP.  Thanks very much to the Suncoast Chapter for providing this scholarship so I could participate in this excellent conference.

Tami Milner Scholarship Story

February 23, 2011

Tami Milner

At the February 15, 2011 AFP Suncoast chapter meeting, Tami Milner, Associate Director of Development at the Hillsborough Education Foundation shared how she used a scholarship to attend a local conference:

“I work for an organization that is very supportive of external training so when I heard about the chapter scholarships available to AFP members, I immediately did my research.  I found out that I was eligible to apply because  I was a supporter of the ‘Every Member’ Campaign and I volunteered on a committee. I decided to apply for a scholarship to defray expenses to attend the Plant Philanthropy conference in Boca Raton last summer.

The scholarship is available online and it’s very easy to fill out. The application took me about 20 minutes to complete, and after submitting it, I was notified that I would receive $500 toward my expenses for Planet Philanthropy.

I received a lot of useful information from this conference. The sessions I decided to attend focused on Engaging with Foundations, Grant Making, Board (committee) Development, and my favorite was how to win over an unhappy donor! I encourage you to get involved and apply for a scholarship!”

JoAnne Linkner Scholarship Story

January 28, 2011

JoAnne Linkner

At the January 18, 2011 meeting, JoAnne Linkner, Director of Annual Fund and Special Events at the Academy of the Holy Names, shared her experience using the AFP Suncoast scholarships to enhance her fundraising career. Here is some of what she shared:

When I moved to Florida in 1999 to take a fundraising position at Admiral Farragut Academy, I was completely clueless.  The position was not only new to me but also to Farragut.  The first bit of advice I received was to look into the AFP. As soon as I joined I applied for and received a scholarship to the international Conference in New Orleans.  The conference turned my world around.  I learned how to lay the foundation for a successful program, that there is a wealth of resources right at my fingertips, and most importantly, that I was not alone!  Hundreds of fundraisers just starting out, and hundreds more to learn from. 

Seven years later, I left Farragut and joined a team of Advancement Officers at Academy of the Holy Names for a more streamlined position.  I once again turned to AFP to help me with this transition and attended a conference in Rhode Island that showed me ways to be the most effective in my new role.  This conference was also funded by an AFP scholarship. 

And finally in September 2008, I went on maternity leave.  When I returned 3 months later, I felt disconnected as a result of being home for so long, not to mention, the face of fundraising had shifted as a result of the economy.  Naturally, I turned to AFP, and took advantage of a scholarship  to attend a CASE NAIS conference in NYC.  It gave me hope, a badly needed recharge, and some great ideas on how to survive this recession.

AFP has been a constant in building my career, and I am grateful for our chapter’s scholarship program. The application process is simple!