Photo: Avery, Vicki, Josephine, and Alexa at Annual Fundraisers Forum

Navigating the Fundraising Frontier: Insights from the Annual Fundraisers Forum

Posted on June 14, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24
On May 14th, I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southwest Florida (AFP SWFL) Chapter’s Annual Fundraisers Forum along with The Patterson Foundation (TPF) Fellow Alexa Carr and TPF consultant Josephine Eisenberg. AFP SWFL is “an individual membership association advancing philanthropy through education, training, and advocacy.” The chapter hosts events like this throughout the year to share knowledge, engage organizations, and promote collaboration.

At the Annual Fundraisers Forum, we had the joy of hearing from three diverse speakers. Our first speaker was Vicki Pugh, co-CEO of Advancement Experts, a consulting firm, and a faculty member at The Fundraising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where she teaches courses in leadership, major gifts, capital campaigns, and fundraising. Vicki recently taught the Fundraising for Small Nonprofits course for the Fueling Dynamic Fundraising initiative and co-taught the Principles and Techniques of Fundraising course with Bill Stanczykiewicz.

Takeaways from her presentation “Leading Teams to Fundraising Success”

  • When taking on a leadership role, focus on internal and external values alignment. If you cannot see the alignment from the inside, others cannot either.
  • Start with why: Focus on the shared vision and the possibilities. Small steps are still opportunities for growth.

Our second speaker was Wayne Olsen, an international leader in nonprofit management and fundraising. He frequently acts as a keynote speaker and shares his insights on donor relations, nonprofit board management, communications, and leadership.

Takeaways from his presentation “The Art of Listening”
  • Listen to understand, not respond. The work done in the fundraising space is focused on listening and enabling donors or partners to express their intent and hopes.
  • Celebrate the good news. Think about what we can do to reframe a situation to focus on the possibilities.
  • The language we use is as important as the body language we have when interacting with others. Body language counts in listening as much as it does in speaking.

The final presentation was given jointly by Bob Carter, the chairman of Carter and an experienced and recognized expert in the areas of institutional strategy and philanthropy, and Sally Schaffer, founder and principal consultant at Uncorked Advocates, focused on helping nonprofits be heard on Capitol Hill.

Takeaways from their presentation “As Public Policy Threatens, Advocacy is a Must”
  • Public policy influences all sectors, and we should all dedicate time to understanding how our work and organizations are impacted by policy change.
  • Big problems, big changes, and big solutions all require collaboration between philanthropy, government, and business.
Attending these events as a TPF Fellow during the last year has allowed me to connect with others working in this sector while learning from an array of knowledgeable speakers on various topics. Hearing from these four experienced professionals provided insights into the sector that I had not considered and pushed me to think broadly about how I view certain topics.

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