The 49th Annual International Conference on Fundraising (AFP) was held in Vancouver BC March 31st through April 3rd. Wiley/Jossey-Bass exhibited again this year and we enjoyed the opportunity to connect with so many of our authors in person, as well as meet potential authors. For the past 16 years, Wiley has enjoyed a publishing partnership with AFP… we currently have more than 35 titles in the AFP FREE AFP e-book sampler!).Series, with new titles coming out each year (for a taste of the most recent offerings, check out our
One of our favorite authors, Julia I. Walker, had a new book that debuted at AFP Vancouver. In addition to doing a book signing, Julia also had a great presentation in the Fundraising 101 Theater. We asked Julia to tell us about her conference experience…
Well, I made it to Vancouver and back alive for the big AFP international conference. There were about 3,200 people there, which they tell me is a little less than usual—it was a long way to fly from New Orleans! I did a session there called 10 Steps for Making Your Board an Effective Partner on Your Fundraising Team, as well as a book signing for my new book, A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members. All went well, and Vancouver was stunning (when the rain and fog rolled out).
My presentation was geared to help fundraisers develop a strategy for how to get their board members to become more active in their fundraising efforts. The conference planners put my session in the Fundraising 101 slot, so I had a good crowd of “newbies” to fundraising, which is always fun. In addition, there were several new executive directors there who really needed some guidance on dealing with their boards, so the discussion proved very lively.
The session covered a lot of material from my book, including:
• The leadership role of the board in giving;
• How to motivate and lead board involvement in fundraising;
• Board training for fundraising;
• Defining roles and responsibilities of board vs. staff;
• Board involvement in defining organizational needs and goals;
• Board leadership in annual and capital campaigns.
The questions that people asked covered all the basics of nonprofit board management. For instance, there was a lot of conversation about how much board members should be asked to give (my answer: for most organizations, board members should give every year at the leadership annuallevel, e.g. $1000 or $1500). And then what to do with board members who don’t give at the level they are supposed to (my answer: get the board to take responsibility for setting board giving levels, asking their peers for money, and dealing with the holdouts).
I had a good time at the book signing with the other authors—there was a huge bookshop at the conference, with lots of new and interesting titles. Lots of people were buying books of all kinds. It appears that reading and learning about development are major activities for our colleagues in fundraising circles. I personally think that people are worried about the economy and want to make sure they do the very best job they can in getting the resources for their organization. It’s tough out there, and the more you know the better you can be prepared to compete!
So much for Vancouver. Next, I am taking the show on the road; on Wednesday, April 18th, I do a similar presentation and book signing for the Central Florida Chapter of AFP, which meets in Winter Park, FL. They sound like great people, and I’m looking forward to meeting them. And it’s a lot warmer there than in Vancouver!