Archive for the ‘Member Moves’ Category

Changing the Culture at Goodwill Industries-Suncoast

October 26, 2013

Goodwill Industries-Suncoast is headlong into a new journey – one that many in the fundraising industry call “building a culture of philanthropy”. It started when Jim Williams, Vice President for Fund Development attended a national Goodwill conference. That’s where Goodwill employees from around the country go for education and to share best practices. Jim heard about a practical idea to raise more money – and he is using it to change the culture too.

It’s quite simple really. Rounding-up. When you shop at a Goodwill Industries-Suncoast thrift store, the cashier will ask you if you want to round-up your purchase as a gift. If you say “yes”, the cashier thanks you for your gift. If you say “no thank you” the cashier thanks you for supporting Goodwill by shopping at the thrift store. The small change from rounding-up has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Goodwill. No joke.

But how does that change the culture? When Jim explained it to me he told me that first he had to convince the Vice President of Retail, who was reluctant. Maybe customers would be uncomfortable being asked. Maybe the stores would be uncomfortable asking. Jim described how customers were already giving by buying and would be thanked no matter what – diffusing any awkwardness. He also agreed to do training at each store. The VP was willing to test it out in one store first. It was a smash hit – both in dollars and morale!

Now Jim and Melody Marrs, Goodwill Fund Development Manager, are launching the round-up initiative at all of the Goodwill Industries-Suncoast stores. They show up in the early hours of the morning to train staff about all of the programs operating under the Goodwill mission. Get a question right and win a small prize. Store members all receive a special Goodwill t-shirt and distribute Goodwill static-cling decals. And when a customer rounds-up on a purchase, the receipt prints out the gift amount.

The response?

  • Store employees are excited about the lives enriched through Goodwill – including the part they play.
  • Store employees are sharing the Goodwill mission and confident answering questions from customers.
  • Customers are asking how they can purchase a t-shirt.
  • Non-store Goodwill employees are asking about shirts and want to sport the decal on their cars.
  • The stores have been competing to see which one will have the highest gift income on launch day!

Like many organizations that have strong earned-revenue, Goodwill has to get creative to foster a strong culture of philanthropy and connect its earned-revenue services with its fundraising programs. The round-up initiative is a simple but powerful way to bring Goodwill Industries-Suncoast’s retail operations into closer collaboration with its philanthropic operations.

Thank you AFP Suncoast member Jim Williams for sharing your inspiring story!

Connect with Goodwill:  Facebook and Twitter
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.

Our own Jen Filla has just published her first book!

April 4, 2013

By Bill Faucett.

Titled Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook, and co-written with Helen Brown, it is part of the comprehensive and highly-regarded Wiley/AFP Fund Development book series. The book is filled with examples, case studies, interviews, and stories. In fact, AFP Suncoast Chapter members, Debbie Sokolov and Jim Williams are among those quoted. Other AFP Floridians in the book are Sue Seiter, Carol Butera, Suzanne Nixon and Laura Breeze.

Written especially for front-line fundraisers, Prospect Research for Fundraisers presents a practical understanding of prospect research, prospect management, and fundraising analytics, demonstrating how research can be used to raise more money. This unique book is structured around the fundraising cycle and illustrates myriad current and ever-changing prospect research tools and techniques available to boost an organization’s fundraising effectiveness.

There are lots of ways for you to become engaged in the topic and in Jen’s book.  Be sure to visit the companion website or purchase your copy online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  And if you are attending one of the following conferences, stop by and say hello to Jen:

  • AFP International Conference on Fundraising, San Diego CA, April 8-9, 2013
  • Ohio Prospect Research Network Conference, Columbus OH, May 2-3, 2013
  • Planet Philanthropy, Sarasota FL, June 10-11, 2013

She’ll be speaking, selling books, autographing them, and making the AFP Suncoast Chapter proud!

Welcome AFP Suncoast Chapter Administrator, Chandra Tracy

February 4, 2013

Your AFP Suncoast Chapter is pleased to announce the selection of Chandra Tracy as Chapter Administrator.

Chandra Tracy

Chandra Tracy

Chandra’s scope of services will include day-to-day operations, membership services, bookkeeping and accounting, compliance, and meeting management.

The selection of new management services is a result of Eleanor Hubbard’s announcement in December of her retirement as part-time administrator after nearly two decades. Eleanor’s steadfast support has played a valuable role in the growth of our Chapter. We would again like to take this opportunity to express our immense appreciation to Eleanor for her many years of service.

Please join us is welcoming Chandra and bidding a fond farewell to Eleanor at our February meeting.

Chandra brings a decade of association management experience having managed the Major League Baseball Alumni Association, and serves both the Suncoast Estate Planning Council and the Tiger Bay Club. She also comes with knowledge of not-for-profits having been a development associate early in her career.

Thank you to the Administrator Task Force (Bill Faucett, Marion Yongue, Bryn Warner, Deborah Wagner, Jane Arnett) for developing the criteria for our search and for their thorough assessment of the candidates. As we continue to add value for our members, the hours and duties of the administrator have been expanded.

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

Social Media and Fundraising: Metropolitan Ministries

October 20, 2012

The next stop on my journey to discover how social media is impacting AFP member organizations and whether it is helping to raise dollars was at Metropolitan Ministries. There I had the pleasure of talking with Justine Burke, Director of Marketing, and Jim Alexander, Digital Marketing Coordinator.

Marketing Mayhem

You might be wondering why I was talking to the marketing department instead of the fundraising department. And if you weren’t, I was! It turns out there is a very good reason for that. Justine explained that she sees a shift where development and marketing are beginning to merge. She likens the change to when IT and development became bedfellows.

It also begins to make more sense when you realize Metropolitan Ministries is a direct mail marketing powerhouse. And it works. At least half of their online donations come as a result of direct mail. But what does all this have to do with social media? Plenty.

Especially after talking with Justine and Jim, there is one adjective that instantly pops into mind when I hear Metropolitan Ministries – discipline. The merging of marketing with development has created an extremely disciplined approach to all of their fundraising efforts. For Metropolitan Ministries, social media is integrated with and invested in just like other marketing channels.

For the past four years, Metropolitan Ministries has been active in social media. They have merged all of their marketing and fundraising messages, including social media, into overarching themes that reflect Metropolitan Ministries’ mission and vision. Their core themes are faith, love and children. This way, no matter what is happening, it all matches the same theme.

Instead of shopping for an engine, tires, and body, you get to shop for a car. Instead of being confused by a different event, mail appeal, Facebook page or newsletter, you give to Metropolitan Ministries.


This kind of coordinated messaging takes discipline and planning. But Metropolitan Ministries also tracks, measures and evaluates their efforts. Every time someone clicks the donate button on their Facebook page they know it. It’s not enough to push content even when it is coordinated content. You must be able to determine what works well and what doesn’t work as well.

Coordination and evaluation requires that you stay ahead of the messages and be proactive instead of reactive. Not an easy task, but it does explain Metropolitan Ministries’ success!

Does social media raise money? Yes!

Social media is not a magic fundraising wand, but when there are clear objectives for its use and methodical and consistent messaging, it works successfully together with other fundraising efforts.

Want to see Metropolitan Ministries’ social media in action? Click the links to connect:

Facebook   Twitter @MetroMinistries   YouTube  Pinterest

P.S. Time Sensitive News!

The Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay is hosting a Development Professionals Forum 11/1/12 9-11am on…SOCIAL MEDIA! Specifically, what role does social media play in development are what are the best ways to use it?  Register today for only $15 by visiting

Other Posts of Interest

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

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.

Social Media and Fundraising: The Florida Aquarium

September 4, 2012

Mark Haney

Continuing my pursuit of how social media can be used to raise cold hard cash – or not – I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Haney, Vice President of Advancement at The Florida Aquarium. I will admit to being distracted by the stingrays entertaining visitors in front of us, but it made me aware of what a picture-intense, storytelling powerhouse opportunity the Aquarium has in social media. So what are they doing?

Tweeting It Up

A couple of years ago the aquarium hosted a Tweet-up event. They invited all of their Twitter followers and some hand-picked bloggers to join them at the Aquarium for free. The friend-of-friend reach was fantastic. Their Facebook page, which had fewer than a hundred friends a few years ago, as of this writing has 25,537 likes with 1,086 people talking about them. The objective was to raise awareness – and the Tweet-up did a great job of it!

Asking for Cash Gifts+

This growth in social media activity is important for the Aquarium because direct mail is a small percentage of their fundraised dollars. Especially through Facebook, Mark tells me they have been very successful promoting their special events. But they have also been able to use social media to raise cash gifts.

Remember the cold Florida winter of 2009-2010? More than 4,000 sea turtles were distressed by the cold and needed help. The Florida Aquarium sent the message out through Facebook and Twitter asking for all kinds of help, including cash gifts. The Aquarium raised $5,000 in less than a week! It was a time-sensitive, specific ask – and it worked. Social media is extremely low cost compared to traditional direct mail.

Mark mentioned a relative newcomer to social media platforms – Pinterest. The Aquarium hasn’t made a plan yet, but the picture appeal of animals is transparent. How to raise money from Pinterest is not clear, but I’m confident they will figure it out!

About Those Major Gifts

But what about major gifts? Is the Aquarium using social media in their major gifts program? Mark told me that they have been successful at getting traditional media coverage of their major gifts. Now they are piggybacking on this success and using social media to expand the reach of those messages. As we were wrapping up our conversation on the subject, Mark took me to see the Aquarium’s donor recognition board.

The Florida Aquarium Donor Recognition Board

Wow! We couldn’t get close and play around with it because there was a mom and her son engrossed in a digital game just beneath it. The Florida Aquarium has a digital donor recognition board made up of four panels. As you can see from the picture, the left panel currently has the various gift levels which also line the tops and bottoms of the other panels. Because it is digital it can be completely changed at any time.

The truly exciting bit is that coverage of major gifts could be used in all sorts of ways with the digital display. Major donors could be interviewed, benefits touted and pictures displayed. Mark couldn’t resist another benefit of the digital donor recognition board – revenue! When the Aquarium hosts events the board can be rented out. Plug and play makes it all possible.

Coming up next…

Visiting The Florida Aquarium is always a fun time and Mark took me out the long way, showing me the new animals. My next member interview is with an entirely different kind of organization. Justine Burke and Jim Alexander from Metropolitan Ministries share how they use social media to raise more gifts. Their tactics may surprise you.

Other Posts of Interest

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she uses her direct fundraising experience to help you close major gifts, translating your donor information into actions you can take to raise more money now!

Social Media and Fundraising: Tampa Metropolitan YMCA

August 14, 2012

by Jen Filla.

Kathy Rabon, CFRE CFRM

In an effort to feed my curiosity on the subject of social media, I decided to interview some of our AFP Suncoast Chapter members on how they are, or are not, using social media in their fundraising efforts. Is it all hype? Is it a resource drain? Or is it a powerful, inexpensive tool that can be leveraged to bring in money for the mission?

My first interview was with Kathy Rabon of the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. (Yes, there will be more interviews!) She told me that in 2010, the national office underwent some re-branding. As a result we now refer to the organization as “The Y”. But more than the name, the re-branding hopes to raise awareness that the Y is more than a gym. The Y has three core areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Benefits of Social Media

Kathy told me that in her office they are actively using Facebook, Twitter and a YouTube channel. Social media provides the Y with the opportunity to use new words, a new organizational language, to communicate its core areas. Social media also helps them interact and engage a new, noticeably younger, demographic. It is also true that those affiliated with the Y are already there. For example, running clubs and other groups in and around the Y have Facebook and other social media spots to communicate and share.

Fundraising with Social Media

So it’s wonderful that the Y in Tampa is using social media to communicate, but what about fundraising? Kathy shared with me that they are planning a social media campaign for a specific need that has resonance with the social media crowd. They want to raise somewhere around $50,000 for a social entrepreneurial program in an area of Tampa that has a media income of $10,000. This lawn service business would promote beautification and a sense of pride while employing and training residents.

Kathy told me that this campaign is still in its planning stages. That means that you have the opportunity to tune in to the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA and watch the story unfold! I’ll be following-up with Kathy post-campaign to report back her experience with the project.

Kathy’s Social Media Harvesting Techniques!

What I didn’t expect to learn was that Kathy was using social media very effectively to re-purpose existing material for stewardship, public relations and other needs. She told me that because of a staff vacancy she had to step-in and create the Y’s e-newsletter herself. This inspired her to take existing stories – such as video footage from events – and edit into great, shareable stories. Beyond her e-newsletter, she shares these stories on the website, social media platforms and has “trained” reporters to look at her content for news stories. After initially reaching out and cultivating reporters, Kathy finds that they are now reporting stories without additional encouragement from her. Wow!

About the Author, Jen Filla

Jen Filla is a roving reporter on the AFP Suncoast Communications Committee. She is president of Aspire Research Group LLC where she uses her direct fundraising experience to help you close major gifts, translating your donor information into actions you can take to raise more money now!

Bart Cobb Trains to Swim English Channel

July 20, 2012

by Sara Leonard.

My fellow fundraisers are some of the most interesting people I know and here is the proof. AFP Suncoast Chapter board member Bart Cobb made headlines this week in the Tampa Tribune and will be making waves (pun intended) in the English Channel.

Bart and Arnie Bellini have been training about 20 months to swim across the English Channel, a 21-mile trip from England to France. They are scheduled to complete the swim this week. Gale force winds in Dover have delayed the swim but Bart says they are scheduled to begin on Friday morning. Their swim will be certified and observed by the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation.

In addition to his full schedule as Director of Advancement of Tampa Catholic High School, Bart serves as the chair of Youth in Philanthropy for the Suncoast Chapter. To read the full story on click here: Tampa Men Plan to Swim English Channel.

An Author in Our Midst: Bill Faucett in the Membership Spotlight

June 7, 2012

I bet you didn’t know that one of our AFP Suncoast members was a five-time published author, did you? Bill F. Faucett, Ph.D., CFRE, Director of Endowment and Planned Giving at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts just published his fifth book in May and I had the privilege of interviewing him!

Filla: The Northeastern University Press just published a biography you wrote entitled George Whitefield Chadwick: The Life and Music of the Pride of New England. Why did you choose Chadwick?

Faucett: I was a musicology student when I first heard his Second Symphony, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  Chadwick was one of the leaders of a group of composers in New England that flourished from about the end of the Civil War until World War I.  Although mostly forgotten today, his music is really outstanding–personal, beautiful, and expertly crafted.

Filla: I understand this isn’t the first book you’ve written. How many have you written and how did you get started?

Faucett: This is my fifth book, and my fourth (and last!) on the topic of Chadwick.  Writing has always been a hobby and a passion, and my love of music and history comes together to provide something to write about.
My wife likes it because it’s less expensive than golf!

Filla: Does fundraising for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts give you inspiration for your writing?

Faucett: It really does!  Many of the artists on our stages have gone through quite a bit to get to where they are, and most of them have very compelling stories.  Chadwick was not unlike them.  He struggled to make
a name for himself in a place and an era that was not only extremely tumultuous, but had little understanding of what it took to compose symphonies in America.  He persevered and ended up making a crucial impact on our artistic landscape.

Thanks for sharing Bill!

Click here to order your copy online!

John Elbare Receives Chapter Service Award

April 4, 2012

Marion Yongue (L) presents John Elbare (R) with a Chapter Service Award

     In recognition of his generosity, dedication and leadership to the AFP Suncoast Chapter, Chapter President, Marion Yongue presented John Elbare with a Service Award at the monthly meeting on March 20, 2012. Thank you, John!

As fundraisers, we might not pay too much attention to what it takes to get our message out online, but we know how important it is to communicate effectively with our donors. An exception, long-time AFP Suncoast chapter member, John Elbare has been paying attention to our chapter’s online presence for more than ten years.

Way back when websites were a “new” technology, he redesigned the website, generously paid for the online hosting, made changes whenever needed and added on all the services that we have come to expect, like online registration and an email sign-up list. The beautiful new website our chapter launched in 2011 would never have been possible without John’s tireless efforts all these years.

Now that John has stepped down as our Technology Chair, we welcome Bryn Warner, who has taken up the technology mantle.